This photo above was our first sight of Venice, literally the steps leading down from the train station. We were in such awe, instantly. The heat of Italy, coming from Vienna, was like a warm hug, and the buzz of the city was welcoming and charming. We loved Venice, as most visitors do, but be warned: it’s not the most student-traveller friendly.
1. Expect to pay a lot of money getting around; on water taxis, shuttle boats etc.
2. Expect to pay even more for a coffee in a quiet cafe, even miles away from St. Mark’s square.
3. There is only one hostel, that we found anyway, in the whole of Venice. it looked incredibly skanky and had a terrible write up. Instead, my friend I met in France organised for us to stay on a campsite in the village of Ca Savio, which was another boat ride from venice. However, it was a stones throw from the beach, and he wouldn’t take money from us, so we were very grateful.
4. Although I feel it’s wrong to complain of other tourists being one myself, it’s best to avoid Venice in summer. The masses tainted the whole thing for me, but wander down a few of the quite streets and just get lost in it all (trust me, you will get lost) and you will find a much more laid-back atmosphere. intact, Rachel and I fell asleep (!?) for two hours on the pavement by a canal, legs draped over the water bags wrapped round our chests. Despite our blatant lack of safety (although interlining is rather exhausting sometimes) we were not bothered by anyone or had any of our belongings stolen. In fact, we woke to find another two weary travellers sleeping just along from us. (Well, they do love a siesta in Europe don’t they…)
CROATIA: DOBAR DAN
A 17 hour train journey from venice to Zagreb, and then on to Split was probably the worst of all our journeys. First, we left venice at 1am, but our bus dropped us off to early and we were sat on the Venice Mestre platform for hours in the dead of night (so we just slept.) We were the last stop on the train, and the cabins were nearly full, so we squished ourselves in a bad with some grumpy, sleepy locals and tried not to cause to much fuss. That said, the ride got better as we travelled through Slovenia (BEAUTIFUL) and then interesting once we changed at Zagreb… Croatian trains were rather smokey, loud, no air con (it was like 35 degrees that day) I had sunburnt the absolute living shit out of my bottom in Italy, so that even sitting down was agony, and we were stuck in a cabin with the smelliest man you’ve ever met (now I’m not one to judge, but this man STANK.) Instead, I chose to stand in aisle and peer my head out the window and take everything in. The Croatian countryside was an image I’ll never forget… We passed spectacular mountains and the bluest lakes you’ve ever seen. My seven hours then went rather quickly.
From the beautiful, palm tree-lined streets of Split (and it’s UNESCO world heritage site) , we got the ferry for the day out to the island of Hvar. This wasn’t something we had planned to go as we hadn’t even heard of it, but if anyone is ever in Split, Hvar is a MUST SEE!
And our final stop was Dubrovnik…