My 30th Birthday Celebration

Venice Nice to Meet You

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 Venetian boats.

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. 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.

row of gondola boats at dock in Venice
A row of gondola boats at dock in Venice. Photo credit: Jessica Araus

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 (waterbus) across the canal is once in a lifetime experience.

vaporetto waterbus
Vaporetto waterbus on the Grand Canal. Photo credit: Jessica Araus

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).

Venetian gondola and houses on the Grand Canal
Venetian gondola and houses on the Grand Canal. Photo credit: Jessica Araus

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!”

birthday girls smiling for the camera
Birthday girls on the right

She and her friend were from the U.K., and were very friendly and kind. 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.

Italian food and drinks
Birthday celebration in Venice Italy. From left to right: Italian pizza, birthday girls, and Spritz drinks.

The next day, I went to visit the island of Burano, which is just a short Vaporetto 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”

 Quit your job, buy a ticket, get a tan, fall in love, never return
Young man wearing a t-shirt with a travel quote on it. Photo credit: Jessica Araus
Colorful houses in Burano Island Italy
Burano Island. Photo credit: Jessica Araus
Burano Island Italy
Burano Island. Photo credit: Jessica Araus

Me taking a selfie next to a canal in Burano, Italy

During three days, I walked the same streets and fell in love many times with the same canals and houses. 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.

St Mark's Campanile and Piazza San Marco
Left: Basilica of San Marco and St Mark’s Campanile. Right: Piazza San Marco

I still cannot find the right words to describe the mysticism hidden in every corner of Venice. But I know one thing for sure: I will go back to Venice! And next time I won’t come alone.

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Author: Jessica Araus

Jessica Araus is a mixed media artist and illustrator living in the Netherlands.

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