Catch-Up Post – Our Last Day in Venice…Finally!

So, just to be clear, the “finally” in the title of this post is a reflection on how long it took me to write about this final day, rather than any negative emotion associated with Venice. πŸ™‚ As I said in my last post (which was also delayed from the end of our trip – oops!), a cold took hold of both of us (first Scott, then me) in the latter part of this trip, so I just didn’t have the energy to keep up with my blogging. And that cold also made us lay low on our last full day in Venice, which is a bit of a bummer, but being the last day of the trip anyway, we were both feeling that “I’m ready to get home” vibe, so a quiet day wasn’t a bad thing. At least we still got to see a bit more of the city!

The one thing that EVERYONE tells you (at least everyone I know) when you go to Venice is to make sure you take a gondola ride. It certainly sounds like the thing to do in Venice, the city of canals. I mean, how many other cities are there in the world where travel by canal is the default and travel by car isn’t really an option? So it was basically a foregone conclusion that we would take a gondola ride, especially since our hotel was right there on the Grand Canal AND there was a gondolier station literally outside the hotel entrance. In talking with the helpful staff at our hotel’s front desk, we discovered getting a gondola ride is as easy as going to any gondolier station and asking for one. Great! I was perhaps just a bit dismayed to find out the cost though – ~$80 USD for a daytime ride and ~$100 USD for an evening ride. Wow, really?? Maybe I was just being a bit cheap when I heard that, but I think I was a little justified in feeling that way after we took our ride. Read on to learn why!

One thing the hotel staff confirmed is that gondola rides are cash only, so before stopping by the gondolier station, we hit up a nearby ATM for the required euros. Our gondolier was very no-nonsense – he confirmed the cost, took the money, and was ready to go. Boom. He was definitely the quiet type and very little to say for the duration of our SHORT ride. We went into it thinking we’d spend ~30 minutes on the ride, but it was definitely no more than 20. He literally pulled out of his gondola parking spot, took us a little ways down the Grand Canal, went down a canalley (canal + alley – get it??), pointed out one landmark, and then turned around and took us back. To say I was underwhelmed would be…unfortunately accurate. I mean, the experience of taking a gondola ride was good (again – where else are you going to do that?), but did we really pay that much money for a 20-minute ride with an almost-silent gondolier? Ugh. I do still think it’s a worthwhile experience, so you should do it when you visit Venice, but maybe there’s a way to find a more lively gondolier to make the experience more informative (and longer!)?

I wish I had more exciting photos to share from this, but it was at least nice to see the city from the water!

On the gondola!
And a solo selfie as well, featuring our gondolier of few words.
Heading under the bridge.
Made it under the bridge! I wish it would have been a sunnier day, but at least it wasn’t raining.
It was cool to float through these narrow water alleys. Definitely a unique way to see a city!
Coming up on a smaller bridge. Cool to see folks walking over the canals while in a gondola.
The one and only time our gondolier spoke to us is when he pointed out this building, which is where Marco Polo once lived. Neat to see, but apparently it’s not a building you can even go inside.

Before we knew it, we had turned around and were heading back under Ponte di Rialto. I did get a better shot of the carvings on the bridge though, which was nice.

After a somewhat lackluster gondola ride, we made our way to a really great view of Venice, though we had to access it in a somewhat unorthodox way. What’s that, you may be thinking? Why, through a department store of course! It sounds odd, but the best views of Venice can be found by visiting T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a department store that was REALLY close to our hotel (literally a few minutes’ walk). The store has a viewing rooftop viewing terrace that offers fantastic views of Venice! While it’s free to visit the terrace, you DO have to pre-book a timeslot, so don’t expect to just show up and be able to visit (indeed, on the day we were there, there were signs posted saying that they were fully booked, which I assume is a pretty normal occurrence). We did have a slot booked later in the day, but thankfully it was still light out, so we got to enjoy some excellent vistas, even if it was a bit cloudy. When you book, you’ll note that your ticket only grants you 15 minutes on the terrace, but it’s not very large, so we found 15 minutes to be more than sufficient to enjoy the views and grab some photos. It would be so gorgeous to see on a really sunny day, I’m sure! I’d be interested in knowing if the views are nice in the evening as well though. If you’ve been there at night, drop a comment and let me know what you thought!

Outside the store.
I honestly can’t remember ever seeing red escalators anywhere else in my life, so I thought this one was worth a photo!
Pretty amazing views, eh? I wish it hadn’t been so cloudy, but at least we had some sun for our visit.
You can good a good look into the city this direction as well.
It was really cool to see the Grand Canal from up high (even though the viewing terrace is only a few floors up from the ground).
Looking the other direction of the Grand Canal.
I really like this shot of the sun starting to set over the Grand Canal!

A selfie together and a solo one as well!

Getting to see Venice from this vantage point was well worth it, especially knowing entrance to the terrace is FREE. But as I said above, don’t forget to pre-book! It would be a real bummer to show up hoping to get in same-day only to find out it’s full. It’s quick and easy, so do it on your next Venice vacation! And if you’re a shopper, you can also wander the floors of the store to find some goodies. We weren’t especially interested in shopping, but Scott did need to get some chocolate to bring back to his co-workers, so we found something that fit that bill perfectly.

Because we were both not feeling the best, a gondola ride and a visit to the viewing terrace was enough for us for the day, so we spent the rest of our final day in Venice relaxing and packing for our flight home. Getting a bit sick on vacation is never very fun, but it happens, so you just have to roll with it. With direct access to the Grand Canal immediately in front of our hotel, we knew it would be a pretty straightforward process to get to the airport (though it was certainly the first time we used a body of water to reach an airport), so we at least didn’t have to worry about that!

On Friday morning, we finished packing our stuff up and walked the very long distance to the spot just in front of our hotel where we could pick up tickets to take us directly to the airport. We could have booked a slightly quicker and more direct water taxi (there wouldn’t have been any other stops along the way), but it was more than double the cost of a public water taxi, so we opted to save the cash and just ride with other folks. That worked out perfectly fine – we made a couple of stops and then went directly on to the airport. It was VERY windy when we arrived at the airport (maybe normal for an airport directly on the water??) and we had to walk about ten minutes to get to our check-in desk, but it was very straightforward.

If you’ll recall, we started this trip by landing in Rome, so we hadn’t been to the airport in Venice yet, but I’d heard some negative things about it from a couple friends, so I was bracing myself for a less-than-stellar airport experience. But honestly, it was fine! Ironically, we got there too early as we reached the check-in desk nearly three hours before our departure. Despite this being the “recommended” arrival time for pretty much all international flights, we found there was no one working the KLM/Delta desk yet! So we just hung around with all the other passengers (some for our flight and some for other destinations) until the agents arrived, which was a bit boring, but once they showed up, things moved quickly and we were on our way through security, which was also a pretty quick process. And the airport proper was also fine! I’ve honestly never had a really bad airport experience (except maybe that first flight home from CancΓΊn, when the AC in the airport wasn’t working – oof!), so I’m glad Venice didn’t provide my first one. πŸ™‚ In fact, after we got through security, we made our way to the quite nice airport lounge (thanks, Priority Pass!) to relax and eat a bit (since we hadn’t been feeling the best, we hadn’t eaten at all yet that day, but we were getting our appetites back and were ready to get some food in us), and then made our way to our gate. Simple!

Waiting for our water taxi.
It was a little crowded onboard, but not terrible. It was kind of a novel experience to take a water taxi and it really gave me a sense of just how much water is around Venice. There’s a lot of it!
The lounge had a nice design and layout with plenty of space.
A nice little serving of pasta along with a little sandwich and some fruit were just what my tummy ordered. πŸ™‚

All that was left after that was actually getting home. When we originally planned this trip, we had TWO stops to get home – ugh. Thankfully, we ended up needing to push the trip out a couple of weeks due to some other stuff we had going on (no change fees, thanks to the pandemic, and we actually ended up getting some money back!) and we also got a better itinerary for the flight home, bringing us down to just one connection, in Amsterdam. Both flights were perfectly fine! No issues, serviceable food, and fine service. Of course, some sleep would have been nice, but as usual, a little dozing is all either of us got. Ah well! It’s easier to deal with the lack of sleep on the flight home, since you know you’re so close to just being back in your own home and your own bed.

Peeking out the window in the terminal.
Good legroom on the shorter flight to Amsterdam!
We were given these sandwiches, which was a nice touch, but they were pretty dry, so we didn’t eat much of them.
Looking out a different window in a different airport terminal, this time in Amsterdam.
Leg room wasn’t quite as generous on this flight, but still tolerable.
Very typical economy-class airplane food. Decent enough though!

And there we are! It certainly took me awhile to wrap this trip up, blog-wise, but I got there in the end! Now that it’s LATE MARCH (we got back from this trip in early November, but that’s okay), I’ve actually got a couple other trips that I’ve already taken that I also need to catch you up on. So look for some more catch-up posts in the days to come! And of course, I’ve got my eyes set on my next trip as well, even though it’s not happening for a little while. I don’t think you’ll be surprised at the destination, but stay tuned to learn about it!

2 thoughts on “Catch-Up Post – Our Last Day in Venice…Finally!

  1. Great rooftop views of Venice, I’ll have to keep that vantage point in mind if I ever go back there! Shame about the gondola though, I feel like you got shafted with such a short duration.

    1. Yes, seeing the views from that rooftop really is a must-do in Venice! Totally agree about the gondola ride, but I really do wonder if we would have had a better experience with a more outgoing gondolier.

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About thejeffelston

Based in St. Paul, MN and love to blog about travel. Comment, follow, and join me on my journey!