Our lengthy delay in Genoa meant our arrival in Venice was much later than anticipated. We’d hoped to scope out a decent place to stay, but arriving in the dark makes that harder. After the four-hour drive we were pretty spent from the driving and the robust singing. We decided to just camp out in the car, but not without first setting off several traffic violation lights, and driving through some abandoned train shipping yards. We’re subtle.
The next day we drove closer to downtown Venice, and were lucky to come across a camp site, and one of my all-time favorite places to stay, Camping Rialto. Without any actual camping equipment with us, we rented a two person tent. The tents are pre-set and come with cots & blankets. There was a small café in the campground, and decently clean showers and facilities. The price was also great, at about €10 per person. But perhaps the best thing about camping near Venice at this campsite is that it’s a short 10 minute bus ride to downtown Venice, the bus stops right outside of the campground, and costs only €2. I love this campground!
Venice is exactly how I hoped it would be. Some cities have beautiful areas, but they’re hidden between modern streets and billboards. Venice had the complete and isolated charm I hoped it would.
Fun Fact: Venice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Most of the time in Venice was spent simply walking around and checking out the endless canals.
There are a lot of pricey options for food, but we found a cute café which sold giant pizzas for €5.I think it’s also mandatory to eat tiramisu whenever possible, so I couldn’t pass it up in Italy. I still have dreams about this one.
Due to still being fairly exhausted from our death march the day before, we spent a lot of time sitting by the water, sleeping in public like hobos, and feeding birds (it’s a hobo themed trip).
Do take note that if you stand on a bridge and sing “opera” music at the top of your lungs as people glide beneath you in gondolas, they will in fact get mad at you and ask you to stop. We were told you have to have a license to sing on the waterways. I don’t know if that’s true or if they just wanted us to stop that badly.
Venice was awesome and beautiful and lovely by day, but the night brings a whole new wonderful element. We walked to the Piazza San Marco and listened to an orchestra playing in the restaurant overlooking the plaza.
I can imagine that if you were traveling to Venice on a romantic occasion, this would be absolutely completely perfect.
But, some of us as traveling with a friend, and are leaving this magical moment to head back to a bus leading not to the historic hotels, but the basic camp. I love the campsite and completely recommend it for staying in Venice on a budget, but one day I want to go back to Venice and stay in one of the historic hotels in the city center.
Back to the bus
We headed back to the roadway intending to catch the last bus of the evening. This was a fairly ambitious idea given that we (of course) didn’t have any maps, or real ideas of directions. Much like Genoa, the walkways were winding, and all of a sudden the darkness made the familiar posts blend together.
It was hard to care. Not because getting left in Venice for the evening would be terribly convenient, but because it was just so pretty. Even in our haste, and moderate sprinting, I kept stopping for pictures, or a second look down a lonely path (sorry, Lance).
Making it successfully back to the bus was a relief, but came with the sacrifice of our last dregs of energy. Never has a small cot looked so good, and never has a night in the semi-outdoors been so completely welcome.
Traveling on a budget sometimes means missing out on things you want to do (sorry not paying £90 to have afternoon tea in London, however nice the notion). But for me, walking around Venice was an awesome few days, and the best parts ended up being completely free.
The days in Venice were lovely, and I was sad to say goodbye to the city, and our camp site. We were starting to laugh off our misguided steps and wrong turns from our previous stops and bask in our successful jaunt.
We may have started rejoicing a little too soon…
Next, we’re headed north to Austria and Germany!