Arriving in Venice is spectacular.
It’s so exquisitely beautiful it feels exactly like floating into a postcard of a water-colour painting of a film set, through the rose-tinted filter of a mirage in a dream, while pleasantly drunk.
Y’ know that thing.
Or . . .
it’s like arriving at a sweltering Treviso Airport an hour late but unable to inform the Airbnb host who’s coming to meet you of this unexpected tardiness because your phone ran out of battery before you’d even taken off when you were busy uploading amusing selfies to Instastories, and you’ve packed your charger into a bag that you can’t be arsed to unpack right now because even though you started packing it really neatly you then remembered loads of other crap you absolutely HAD to bring with you, and you RAMMED IT ALL IN SO HARD you’ll need to chisel it out, and you had 4 hours of sleep the night before, two large vodkas you weren’t supposed to have, you have no Euros on you even though there’s forty quid’s-worth at home in your pants drawer that you TOLD him to remember to bring, and then realising that the cheapest way to get to the actual dreamlike postcard water-colour, rose-tinty City itself, is via a 70-minute bus ride.
And you’re pregnant, so are very likely to be sick at least once before leaving the bus bay. And it has no air-conditioning or toilet.
Still. Venice, eh??!! City of Dreams!
For a bus journey along a busy road, the ride in is actually pretty easy, and kindly comes with all the right, picturesque, Italian cliché to ease the pain.
We passed crumbling pink villas with pretty wrought-iron gates, long driveways with avenues of trees, gardens with tables and chairs in the shade of fig trees, farms, local shops with huge green watermelons piled on trestle tables outside, fruit carts and stray cats looking super Pinterest-y, and knowing it.
I felt all Dolce Vita for the first time in years, and as we chugged along in our over-heated bus, polluting a large part of the lower Veneto region, I felt the gargantuan stresses of the recent house-move, business launch and 1st Trimester exhaustion dissolve into my now soaking armpits.
After a few hair-raising, last-second lane-switches and a near-miss crash into the back of a tiny, 3-wheeled ape, almost killing the driver and his essential cargo of dogs and artichoke leaves, the whole sky opened up.
We were on the bridge to Venice herself, and at last….the ‘picture-post-card, water-colour painting of a film set’ thing started to sort its shit out and say CIAOOOO!
Honestly, it’s an absolutely knock-out experience, crossing that water to Venice, however you do it; by train, bus, car, taxi, water bus, foot, bicycle or paddle board, I can’t recommend it enough.
Seeing that sky-line slowly pull into view, knowing it’s one of the most ancient and important Cities in the world, a labyrinth of waterways, tiny side streets and bridges all sitting on pillars of wood driven into a sand-bank by a small group of desperate people in the 4thCentury who were fleeing the barbarian invasion from the North, is pretty darned humbling.
And here we were, desperately fleeing the invasion of the dreaded Stress and Work Barbarians from Slightly North East of London, bravely heading for the refuge of our Airbnb apartment for a few days of rest and Spritz, like the truly heroic adventurers we were.
The bus curved down the final ramp onto terra-slightly-firma-for-now, pulled into Piazzale Roma (the bus station, if you’ve not been to Venice yet) and onto the last patch of road we were to see for the rest of our stay.
It was time to become true Venetians, and get on the water.
A short Vaporetto ride away we rounded the last corner to the mouth of the Grand Canal, and it happened.
Our first glimpse, of . . . THAT VIEW.
I’ve seen it a thousand times since then, and I can honestly say it never, EVER gets any less gobsmacking.
It’s beyond words. So I’ll shut up and leave you with the pictures.
I told you arriving in Venice was spectacular.
And we hadn’t even started yet.