Back in March 2016 I had booked this trip to Venice for our 5th Wedding Anniversary which was coming up in December. I had planned on it being a surprise for Millie and had managed to keep the surprise in for about 3 days, even holding in saying anything when Rick Stein in Venice came on TV! But, like a child, the excitement was too much and on a park walk with the kids, I blurted “So, we’re going to Venice!” I suppose it was still a surprise, just not quite how I planned it!
So eventually December came and we made our way to Venice, flying from London Gatwick to Venice Marco Polo with British Airways. I had done quite a lot of planning for this trip, watching YouTube videos, reading books and blogs. As a result, I thought I would be prepared for the beauty and “wow” of the place, but how wrong was I?! Walking along the Grand Canal for the first time, crossing one of the more than 400 bridges was an incredible experience. Nothing would have prepared me for that. It is so hard to describe the beauty and uniqueness of the place, but I suppose that is what makes Venice such a popular tourist destination.
Venice in December is quiet. It felt like the whole place was opened just for the two of us. We didn’t have to queue for anything, the streets weren’t packed with people, locals had time to stop and talk with us. The weather was of course, colder as it was Winter, but it was dry and fresh. Friends who had been to Venice in the Summer months had talked about the “Venice smell”, supposedly a little drain-y, but the only smell we experienced was a relatively generic sea-smell. It was cloudy but dry, around 6 degrees celsius throughout our 5 days there. We had experienced Rome five years earlier, again, in December when it was sunny but fresh, so were expecting similar conditions in Venice.
We were on a bit of a tighter budget and so stayed in Mestre, a 20 minute bus journey from Venice, but were really happy with the regular buses at €3 return each. The bus took us from outside our hotel all the way to the bus station in Venice, the only area where there are road vehicles. The buses ran late in to the night and so we were not restricted to having to leave earlier in the evening.