Venice is one of those places one dreams about visiting. It’s a bucket list destination full of legends, art, myths and plenty to explore!
If you are heading to Venice, here are a few things to remember before you hit the road…. I mean lagoon.
There are no cars allowed on Venice. No cars. This means you need to take a train, or boat to the city. Trains arrive on the main island through Santa Lucia station. Planes are at the Marco Polo airport, where the train or a bit can be taken into the lagoon. If you have a car leave your car parked and take the ferry to Venice, Lido or other island.
Take the Gondola ride! It’s expensive but worth every second. You wouldn’t go to Paris and miss the Eiffel Tower, don’t miss the Gondolas!
Travel in the off season! Avoid the crowds and have a better time. Go in the fall or early spring to see more with less chaos.
Learn a little. Pick up a book or two before you go and learn some about the rich history of Venice. This will bring everything you see more to life.
Get off the main island. If you have time, get out and explore the Venice Lagoon islands such as Burano and Murano for charming villages and awesome art. If a beach is more your style, head to Lido.
Meaning, I have one idea of how it all should be, and then reality takes a dump on my ideas.
It’s the universe. There are no rules or regularity. We have no control, only perceptions of control. While we can steer the sails on our ship, we also face storms and waves, and giant killer squids. Mostly we survive, sometimes we almost drown. We usually come out as stronger swimmers for the next round.
If anything, at my very wise age of 28 (insert sarcasm symbol), it is that I can either fret about every awkward thing I have done (this list is painfully long) or I can move on and sail to the next day. (I really like the idea of being on a ship, because sailing, and oceans, and mermaids that can be whatever fucking color, because mermaids…)
My life hasn’t been cushioned, instead I usually fall on my ass, dust myself off, and find the next patch of ice I can slip on. I have had to work for 95% of what I have on my own, but I also know that that last 5% has been vital to my survival. I cry a lot, because existential crisis’s are real. but I also laugh until tears run down my face because “A Day Without Laughter is a Day Wasted” ~Charlie Chaplin.
I am messy and insecure. I am overly confident and painfully awkward. But whatever. I can either self help myself into a coma or I can just take everything as it comes. My only real competition is myself and my success is measured on moving forward.
When I TRULY think about all I wanted to achieve by my late 20s, I realize I have done more than I truly thought I would get to. I have things together. The puzzle is a little lop sided, I slammed a few pieces in where they didn’t fit. There are still pieces missing, but it works. There is actually a coherent image of something resembling a normal existence.
I have learned that life is not an immediate success, some people get it right away, but that is so very rare. Instead, and probably for the best, we have to prove ourselves and fight forward, and make things happen. To not is to accept defeat, which is something I simply won’t accept.
All I am saying in this, is that maybe we all should be happier with ourselves and where we are. We should embrace our lives as just are, and accept the chaos as what is. I am the first to jump into learning and growing, but I am also okay with not killing myself with too many projects. I have learned to create boundaries and limits where needed. These are all vital for survival.
Overall, just love yourself and your journey and your mistakes. It’s okay, you are just learning, even at 20 and 40 and 90, you are learning.
Located on the west coast of Italy, a part of the Italian Riviera is the ever increasingly popular National Park of Cinque Terre. Millions visit the area every year from Florence and Rome, making it a top destination for travelers.
The appeal of The “five lands” is its sweeping landscapes, rich views, and unique adventures.
Here are my tips for visiting this enchanting location.
Catch an early train
Most people start from Florence, catch a regional train from Santa Maria Novella to La Spezia. At La Spezia you can buy your day or multi-day pass to the National Park and access to the train network in the region
If you are renting a car, park in La Spezia, and buy your pass just the same.
A small train network links the five villages (lands) running approximately every 20 minutes in each direction (north or south). This is the easiest way to get from city to city.
Note that there are no cars allowed in the cities and that there is a bus line that also connects the region but it’s less consistent and requires more walking.
The earlier you go, the better! This will help you avoid crowds and heat.
Bring your hiking shoes
There are over 70 miles of trails that links the five villages are region. The views from these trails are magnificent and offer amazing photo opportunities.
The trails are tough, but you do escape the crowds and enjoy some fantastic nature along the way.
Check trail conditions before you go, as wash outs are common.
Check your trains
Train schedules are more of a guideline than a rule in Italy. Therefore, make sure you read the schedules and allow extra time to get back to La Spezia and then your “home base” if you’re doing a day trip.
If you can, stay a couple nights and truly take in the cities!
Off season or bust
If you can, go right at the end of summer (September/October) or right at the beginning of summer (March) so that you can enjoy the region sans millions of tourists. This allows a local connections that is often missed in June and July!