You may be thinking, has Emma bagged herself a fella and headed off on a romantic trip round Venice with him?
Well, sorry to disappoint - the answer's no! (though there were some very nice Italians out there...a mixture of tanned guys & Italian lingo....very nice!)
I went with my Mum for a week, as our holiday for the summer and was a nice time to celebrate surviving through the second year of my degree (subject to exam results as to whether that will be repeated!).
So, how can I describe Venice to you in words?
It's been named as one of the most beautiful cities in the world - and i'd definitely have to agree!
Our reliance on roads & cars is the same to theirs with boats to get around the island along the Grand Canal and water alleyways. This results in a relaxing lifestyle, travelling along the water & enjoying the views of the historical buildings/churches and of the nearby islands. I'm not that clued up on history, in fact at school, anything I was taught went in one ear and out of the other!
Though it was quite amazing thinking that hundreds or thousands of years ago, that the core of the city's architecture and way of life was almost the same.
We didnt go on a gondola, which is considered by many tourists, as something you have 'got' to do when you are there. Priced at more than £60 for a 50 minute trip around the Grand Canal, in a long line of other tourists in gondolas didnt really appeal to us.
In fact, we probably experienced more on the 'vaparetto' (water bus) than we would on a gondola, and there are quite a few unofficial gondoliers trying to prey on innocent tourists for their money.
We spent a day travelling and looking round the tiny nearby islands off Venice, including Murona (famous for its glass) and I was shocked to discover that quite a few of the shops there try to sell glass from China!! So, if your ever planning on going there, wise up on what is and isnt genuinely local items!
There is also a cemetery island, which consists of just that....a cemetery! This is dedicated to only Venetians, who have unfortunately died, and it was lovely to see all the gravestones decorated with flowers to bring colour & life to the island.
The main area of Venice, St Marks Square, reminded me of a smaller version of London, with hundreds of annoying pigeons feeding out of the hands of tourists and food places serving 'tourist' takeaway food like pizzas.
Mum and I took a city guide book with us, with loads of helpful information on the city and all the places we went for an evening meal were from that book (we were surprised to find that pizza was not served in any of the restaurants we went to....in fact it is only properly served for the tourists at takeout places). The food was amazing, especially the different types of exotic fish available, and if you can find a gelaterie that makes their own ice cream, you'll be surprised by all the interesting and mouth-watering flavours!
It was quite easy for me not to spend much money in the shops, as they are either oriented on tourist items, which can be quite tacky or with very very expensive designer labels
One thing that was funny to watch, was in the main area of St Marks, you'd find many people trying to sell fake sunglasses or bags, and as soon as they heard someone shout police they would quickly bundle all of their stuff into a sheet and run off....many times that meant leaving a potential customer standing looking very shocked!!
If you move away from all the main tourist areas, you will find a relaxed way of life, amazing views, and a city exploding with history and culture.
The only sad part of Venice is knowing that in a few years time, it will all have disappeared as a result of ever-increasing water levels (a result of global warming!), so if you ever want to visit this idyllic place, then do it soon, before it all sinks!