By Jessica Araus
When I was in high school, l I used to have a travel vision board with pictures of all the places I wanted to visit. On that board, there were iconic landmarks like the Atomion, The Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the gondolas – those beautifully crafted boats posing quietly on the water. At the time, I believed Venice was the only place in the world full of magic and romanticism, and I wasn’t wrong. If I could describe Venice in one word, it would be magical. It’s out of this world and unique. I went to Venice last year to celebrate my 30th birthday, and this was the best birthday celebration I’ve ever had in my life.
What makes Venice so special? Its uniqueness! You can find beautiful architecture and mouth-watering food almost everywhere in the world, but Venice is the only place that has those ancient yet colorful decorated houses, sinking in the Grand Canal. It’s the only place with the fancy gondolas going up and down the water, while the gondolier whistles a love song. In addition to that, riding a vaporetto (water bus) across the canal is once in a lifetime experience.
When I first saw the beauty of Venice, I have to admit that a few tears rolled down my cheek. They were tears of happiness. I couldn’t believe I was in one of the most beautiful places in this world – The one place I had always wanted to go to. In that moment, I felt grateful for having the opportunity of being there to celebrate my 30th birthday (which was an important transition for me).
In the past, I spent most of my birthdays surrounded by friends and birthday cake. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But that year I wanted to do something different. I wanted to travel to a different place, so that I could reconnect with myself and learn to enjoy traveling alone. However, in the end, I wasn’t so alone. On my birthday, I was walking down a street in Venice, and suddenly I saw two girls coming in front of me. One of them had a big pin on her chest that said “It’s my birthday”. I was very surprised, and stopped to tell her: “Hey! It’s my birthday too! Can I give you a hug?”, to which she replied, “Absolutely!” and “Happy birthday!”
She and her friend were from the U.K., and were very friendly and kind! I am so happy I got to make friends in another country. After having met each other, we went to celebrate in a proper way. We had pizza and Spritz, a Venetian drink. We talked for hours, laughed, took lots of selfies and had such a great time.
The next day, I went to visit the island of Burano, which is just a short Vaporeto ride from Venice. There I saw picturesque canals and houses painted in different colors. While being there, I saw a guy wearing a t-shirt with a quote I liked a lot:
“Quit your job, buy a ticket, get a tan, fall in love, never return”
During three days, I walked the same streets and fell in love many times with the same canals and houses. I still cannot find the right words to describe the mysticism hidden on every corner of Venice. It was a gift to be able to admire the Basilica of San Marco, the Doge’s Palace, and to sit at Piazza San Marco, in the heart of Venice.
I will definitely go back, but next time I won’t come alone. I now have the world’s best travel partner to bring along with me.