A Trip to Venice
posted by LIM College
By Erin Cornell
One of the great things about studying abroad is how easy it is to visit other countries. I knew I wanted to travel outside of France once I got here, but I had never planned a trip on my own before. I’ve been to several European countries in the past, such as England, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands, but that was always with a large group.
The one country I had always wanted to visit was Italy since my grandmother is half Italian and I’m proud of that part of my heritage. My grandma told me that the Italian side of her family was originally from Venice, so I knew I wanted that to be the first place I visited. I was worried about spending a lot of money, since opening my French bank account took a few weeks to open and I only had a limited amount of euros on hand. My roommate and I decided to take a day trip to Venice and, in order to save money, not stay overnight in a hotel.
We found a reasonably priced flight going out of Orly Airport early one morning and had about eight hours to explore Venice before catching an evening flight back to Paris. Just landing at Marco Polo Airport was so exciting! I loved watching the little groups of islands in the Laguna Veneta grow bigger and bigger as our plane landed on a tarmac that was surrounded by water. The airport is located just outside of Venice, so we had to take a water taxi into the city. Venice’s roads, as you may know, are actually lagoons, so boats are the only method of transportation.
After horribly pronouncing the location of where we needed the taxi to take us (Guglie, it turns out, it not pronounced like “google-y”), we were off to meet up with a walking tour group. A native Venetian led us over beautiful bridges and canals while explaining the history of Venice and pointing out tourist traps to avoid. I ignored some of her advice and picked up a few things at a souvenir shop because sometimes it’s fun to be a typical tourist.
The walking tour took up most of our day, but it was definitely worth it since neither I nor my roommate knew much about where to go in Venice. We hung out in St. Mark’s Square for a bit and went to the top of the Campanile, which has an incredible view. Though we both wanted to take a gondola ride, they are really expensive and we ended up skipping that part of the Venetian experience.
One of my favorite spots was a bookshop we visited on the walking tour. It’s called the Libreria Acqua Alta, or High Water Bookstore, and it has a gondola inside where the books are stored during the frequent flooding. The store was filled with piles of books and sleeping cats, and even had a pile of waterlogged books outside that you could climb in order to look out over the canal.
After sampling some gelato and getting slightly lost in the maze of streets, it was time to head back to the airport. Overall, it was a perfect day. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to plan this trip on my own, and I didn’t miss my flight or lose my wallet either. This ended up being the only trip outside of France that I took, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Venice is a great city to visit for a day, since it’s small enough to see all of the main attractions in a short amount of time and it is stunningly beautiful. I would highly recommend a visit to any aspiring study abroad students!