Our first full day in Italy was spent in Venice with Contiki and began with a boat ride to what is often called one of the most romantic places on Earth. Within twenty minutes, we were transported from our campsite to the stunning islands of the Floating City. Made up of narrow, winding streets that weave their way between picturesque canals and bridges, the entire city of Venice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.We walked from the dock towards St Marks Square where we gazed up at St Mark’s Basilica while reveling in the heat and sunshine that had evaded us until now.From here, most of the group took a Contiki optional walking tour of Venice. As nice as our guide was, I have to say that it wasn’t a very interesting tour and it didn’t feel like we actually saw very many sights in the hour that we had. It would have been much better to go off alone and most of the group wished they had too! For me, the best part was seeing the Scala Contarini del Bovolo.Tour over, we sat down for our first Italian meal. I went for my absolute favourite pasta, spaghetti carbonara, while other orders included pizza, lasagne and a pretty darn tasty gnocchi.
Without much of a plan in mind, we wandered through the streets checking out cute shops along the way for masks and marveling at the sheer beauty around us.
Then it was time for one of the best optional extras on the trip. When in Venice, one must ride a gondola!
It was time to head back to our campsite for dinner and drinks. Some of us decided to continue the masquerade theme onto the bar that night and it ended up being another fabulous evening. With all our cabins being close together, we purchased the only liqueur that the on-site supermarket offered and some of the girls pre-drank together before the group all came together at the bar. It was great to chat to people properly without having club music deafening you and I got to know a few awesome people better that evening.
We did make it to the inside bar for some dancing later in the evening: one of my favourite memories of the night – actually, maybe the entire trip – is going utterly crazy to this song. It makes me smile just to think about it.