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Whenever I told anyone that I was going to be spending some time in Italy, they’d always insisted that I HAD to see Venice; just because it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth. However, I was a bit reluctant because I’ve also heard that it’s a bit smelly in the summer, packed with tourists everywhere and much more expensive than other Italian destinations. Also, I wasn’t too keen on traveling by myself to this overwhelmingly romantic place.
So I was ready to skip it on my latest Italian adventure until I met an English tour guide, who is also a self-confessed Venetian from a former lifetime; and as he happened to be heading to Venice for one of his gigs, he suggested I should come along and experience his favourite city. On a whim I accepted, even though I knew it’d be well over my budget.
Still, we were determined to stretch our resources as far as they could go; so we scouted the internet looking for affordable accommodation right in Venice to avoid having to spend much money going around by boats. After much searching, we finally came across Ca’ Maddalena, a small B&B ran by the super friendly Elena and her lovely mother; and rented a small studio apartment with kitchenette for a very reasonable price.
The flat is very well located, easily accessible and not too far from the Fondamente Nuove boat stop; but it’s still far enough from the bustling mainstream spots that are crowded with tourists. As we came back carrying some delicious goodies from the Rialto market, we felt more like locals navigating the narrow streets. During the days that followed, I relished the opportunity to create all of our meals; as a permanent traveler this is always a treat for me.
One thing that I didn’t like so much about Venice was the amount of kitsch that’s around every corner; from masks, to extravagant pieces of Murano glass, to the usual crappy t-shirts. Sometimes finding the real and authentic Venice seemed like a harder task than in other cities.
However, Venice, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also a place full of history; and listening to my friend as he told me some quirky facts took my mind away from the crowded present and transported me back in time. In the end I had a beautiful time in Venice and it didn’t break my budget as badly as it could have; I’m happy I got to see it, but I’d still hesitate to go back. If you’d like to see more photos, head on to my gallery.