bubblegum-3940Venice was beautiful. As we walked through the city, we passed merchants selling all types of goods: fruits, vegetables, glasses, shirts, novelties, and masquerade masks. There is nothing else in the world like riding a gondola, eating pizza, and walking through the streets in the historic city of Venezia.

The sky was covered in overcast that day, but the heat penetrated through the clouds. Leaving the ship, I could feel the humid air slowly settling on my skin. Thank goodness I wore shorts and a t-shirt.

My dad, auntie, and I walked an hour from the cruise ship to San Marco Town Square where we met up with my step mom and her sister. The ship suggested we take a taxi from the boat to the city center, which would cost €22 a day per person. I thought walking through the city would give me a better experience. It did. I loved every bit of walking through Venice.

We stopped at San Marco Town Square and picked up gelato from the closest shop. The gelato bartender happened to be a filipino man living in Venice. My parents spoke with him for a while. They talked about the cost of living in Venice, the size of the filipino population in the area, and about some of the best tourist locations. I didn’t listen too much, I was only listening enough to know the topic. I was preoccupied with eating dark chocolate gelato and looking at the city, walking back and forth to see potential routes I could walk down.

After some time of waiting for my family to finish speaking with the man, I ventured off on my own. I walked up and down bridges, over canals, and between small walkways to different areas Venice admiring the history buildings. The apartments shops were small, and on top were the apartments people lived in. The city was close. I could imagine living in Venice, walking or bicycling to the places I needed to be. There were absolutely no roads in Venice—at least none that I saw—using only water canals are the predominant means of transporting goods, and sometimes people.

Walking back, I got lost. I took what I thought was a short cut, entering and area I had been unfamiliar with. I felt lost when I walked into more residential areas, quieter areas where only few restaurants were, and much more residential apartments. But I continued walking, convinced I would eventually find a way back to the boat if I just continued moving. And I did. I walked into a familiar area where a Nike store served as a checkpoint pointing me into the right direction over the bridge, and back onto the Brilliance of the Seas.

On the second day, my step mom, Russell, and I walked back to Venice. Russell wanted to take a gondola ride. At the time, I didn’t have much of an opinion either way. Walking through Venice the day before, I noticed the price of a ride on a gondola would be €80 per family. But, we were persistent with finding a gondola since my brother wanted to experience it. I am glad I did it.

Our gondola chauffeur lived in Venice all his life. He told us that a person actually has to have a citizenship in Venezia to be allowed to work as a gondola chauffeur. He also told is lots of cool information about the area, talking about how old the buildings were and showing us where Richard Wagner lived his last days alive—I recognize him from my course in Music during my undergrad. It was a relaxing 25-minute ride on the canals of Venice, listening to a local tour guide tell us facts about his city.

At this point, I was a master at walking back to the boat. I led the way, pointing into the direction from which we came and occasionally stopping to look through some of the novelty goods. I bought an “I *heart Venezia” shirt and a shirt with the lion from the flag of Venice printed in their colors since I was running out of clothes for the rest of the trip.

I definitely want to go back in the future. I’ll return when I have more money and can splurge on the experience. There is definitely no other city in the world like Venezia, Italy.