I was writing about Airbnb, the possibility of staying at some’s house, feeling like a local and changing the way of looking at the visited place. Today I’m writing about how to get lost, slow down and enjoy the moment instead of rushing from one sight to another.
I spent four days in Venice recently, it was just a short city break. Venice is not a big city, however four days flies quickly, especially when you stay outside of the city. One might imagine, that there is only one way to deal with it, create a plan and stick to it all the way through in order to see the most. Before going on holidays, I used to plan carefully every day. I used to do online research, verifying the guidebooks to create a list with all must see places. The preparation was quite stressful and time consuming. In addition, I was considering staying in few accommodations, so that I could see more. Every evening was spent on logistics of the next day in order to make each hour more efficient. As you can see, a lot of thinking and analysing.
Take it easy
This was my idea of a city break. With years and travel experiences I finally understood, that holiday is not another task to complete, but a break from everyday hustle. It is time for rest, relax and chilling. My idea about holidays, especially city breaks changed.
Let if flow
So how do I plan my days away today? First of all, I am not thinking of booking few accommodations anymore. I book one straight away, as I decided, that having few check outs and having to carry your luggage around during such a short time is not a good idea at all. Why making things complicated. Second, I stopped buying or borrowing guidebooks, if there is one in the hotel that’s great, if not, even better. I scan internet briefly for places worth visiting, but if I’m super busy I might skip this bit too. I open my mind for new experiences and go. Once there, I listen to the tips given by my host or people I meet. I take a map and decide which part of the city visit first. I leave the rest to fate and wait for surprices. I let it flow.
When it comes to Venice, I knew that I wanted to see St. Mark’s Square, so my first steps were directed towards this sight. I was walking, and in a front garden of Mora Palace I spotted an interesting installation. I went through an iron gate and saw a poster inviting to an exhibition „Time Space Existence” organized as part of 15th Inernational Architecture of la Biennale di Venezia.
I entered just for a moment and I was sucked into fascinating presentations and incredible installations made by architects from all over the world. I was exploring rooms, entangled as a 3D labyrinth, located on three huge floors. I don’t know when two hours were gone. Architecture is something that fascinates me, still I wouldn’t taken the trouble to look up an exhibition prior to my holidays. And so, by switching the curiosity on and checking what’s behind the corner, I discovered this visual feast. I made it to St Mark’s too.
I didn’t expect to spend so much time watching Venice from the water level. I wanted to see one of the islands – San Giorgio Maggiore – reachable only by boat. It results that by paying a bit more you get a 24h ticket for water tram and can enjoy the water ride as often you want. The whole charm of Venice is in the canals and houses, which doors and staircases open straight to the water. I was thrilled with the idea of having much more rides than anticipated.
Another proof, of walking around without any concrete plan, was given to me on a day, when I decided to find a particular spot. I noticed few quite big squares and I thought that I needed to see them. I started to follow the map. I must say that Venice is very peculiar, the streets are cut by endless number of canals and you need to climb the endless number of round bridges (great execise by the way). Because of those untypical crossings, location should be constantly checked. It was an ardous process, tooking away joy of careless observation, and yet the squares were nowhere to be found. I put the map into my handbag and said „I don’t need to look for anything”. And then, all of the sudden, I took the right turns and found all beautiful, hiden squares and their charming insides.
“Ah, linger on, thou art so fair!”
I was walking though the venetian labyrinth without any rush, checking out the smallest passages. I was stopping for a coffee, ice cream or other treats, whenever I felt like. I am a fan of vintage shops, so I entered each of them and to take a look at handbags from italian designers. And when I was tired, I simply took few moments to sit down on one of the squares or by a canal and enjoyed the surroundings of this incredible city. No rush, no stress. Just me and the present moment.
I want to encourage you to try this slow way of travelling. With mindfulness and curiosity, without a watch, a plan or GPS.