Bologna is perfectly positioned for day trips, not far from either Venice or Florence and surrounded by the wonderful smaller towns of the Emilia Romagna region. I could have gone to so many different places but I had an itch that just needed scratching. Four years ago I spent two nights in Venice during my first trip to Europe and I didn’t feel I had enough time there, or spent my time as I would now. So I pre-booked fast trains to take me there and back from Bologna. A bit of an indulgence, but something I really wanted to do.
I had about a 20 minute walk from my apartment to the station and took the time to photograph some of the porticoes along the way. They are a beautiful feature of Bologna.
Arriving at the train station hungry and expecting pastries like in Germany I was sadly disappointed. Get your train station pastry fix in Germany is my advice! Disappointing pastry later, my train arrived.
I had a business class ticket on the train, it was very comfortable with good wifi. And included were drinks and snacks. They may not have good pastries but the blood orange juice they serve you on Italian trains kinda makes up for it. The trip was just under 90 mins each way.
Venice is exciting. It is one of those cities of the world that is so different from others that you can’t help being swept up in the hype of it all. There is so much water, so many canals that make you wonder how the foundations of the buildings survive. And so many tourists.
The first glimpse of Venice as you leave the train station is fabulous. The first timers are obvious as they pause and gaze around in amazement. Well, maybe not just the first timers 🙂
The bulk of the tourists tend to hang out in certain areas and if you wander widely you can still find places that aren’t crowded. The only rule to wandering in Venice is to expect to get lost. Because you are on an island you really can’t get too far out of your way so there is no point caring about where you are at any given time, unless you have somewhere you need to be, and the ideal thing to do is just wander where your heart takes you. So that is what I did, for the entire day.
I started out on the same side of the Grand Canal as the train station, a part of Venice I hadn’t really explored on my previous trip. And I just wandered. I came across a market, I saw a group of young kids who seemed to be on a school trip and pondered how awesome it would be to have a school trip to Venice. I’ll bet there would be no shortage of volunteer parent helpers! I took my time and took lots of photos.
Mid morning I stopped for a break and a spritz then continued to wander, eventually reaching the Rialto bridge and the crowds that surround it. I spent a bit of time there taking photos then found some pizza for lunch.
I visited St Marks on my first visit and wasn’t planning to go back to the square because I knew it would be busy, but changed my mind, being keen to get some photos, and set off in that direction. It was fabulous having nothing planned. I spent a bit of time in the square and took lots of photos.
From St Marks I crossed to Dorsoduro. This was the area of Venice I had stayed in four years ago. I was curious to see how much I would remember and if I could still find some of my favorite spots. I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around, finding familiar scenes, noticing some changes, eating gelato and simply doing whatever I pleased with no time pressure other than to be back at the station for my train.
My time in Venice was wonderful. It was the day I never had time to have on my last visit, because I had a list of things I wanted to do. Tired but very pleased I was back at the train station in plenty of time to catch my train back to Bologna and enjoy more of that delicious blood orange juice. And those olive oil biscuits…
Back in Bologna I returned to the restaurant I had eaten at the night before and had a sensational meal of pigs cheek before getting some sleep. All in all a fabulous day.
And very excited about the day to follow…