by Michelle Wray
Why do we love Venice? It is beautiful. The first thing that hit me when I entered Venice was the smell. Before I went people who had been there told me to expect a bad smell but this smell: I loved it! It immediately confirmed for me that I was in a new place where things were different, but strangely enough as the warm air hit my face and I saw the Grand Canale for the first time, my heart said, ‘home’.
Venice is vibrant, exciting and unique. I haven’t travelled much at all but I can already tell that Venice is special. With beautiful canals masquerading as streets and old, old architecture that makes you look again it is so stunning, Venice is an aesthetic banquet. Sure, it is a touristy city and you often wonder what the locals really think of you behind their smiles and meal deals. I never forgot it was a privilege to go there and experience such an old city and walk in another’s home. There is so much to see and do in Venice, in the city and on the outer islands. Until you’ve been you can’t really imagine a city with so much water, and boats instead of cars. But when you get there you wonder why it’s done differently anywhere else. Venice is historical and genuine. The architecture changes with every building and the canals shine. Knowing you are standing in an ancient place is an amazing thing. There are so many churches and buildings to explore and amazing paintings and art to be seen within. The whole city is big enough to be interesting and small enough to be intimate and familiar. Even if you don’t see everything in one short trip, you feel like you have. If you can’t afford a gondola (I couldn’t) there are always water buses and ferries, experiences that go beyond the tourist façade and into the heart of Venetian life. It’s easy to feel connected to Venice within the first 5 minutes of walking around it the impression stays with you all your life.
My best memory of Venice is strange, because to someone else it could have been their worst. I fell in a canal. Really, truly, completely. Tourists laughed and started taking pictures from the bridge opposite, my family laughed too (thanks!), the gondoliers laughed uproariously; I wondered how many times they had seen the same sight! And as I floated in the warm water with my rucksack acting like a buoy, I couldn’t even feel embarrassed. It was too funny. People always say you should get involved in your travel, touch the culture, taste the food, and have a hands on experience. Well, I literally plunged in. And it’s probably one of my favourite memories; it made my experience of Venice even better because I was in Venice. With a lyrical language, great food, friendly people and beautiful scenery there is no reason not to love Venice.