I entered a competition, without any hope of winning, and then I forgot all about it … until… I read the morning’s emails – and the words ‘I’ve won!’ echoed across the office concluding in a cascade of emotions of excitement and bewilderment at the prospect of 12 hours in Venice!

An orchestra of alarms sang from all corners of my house alerting me to promptly dress, grab my passport and head to Gatwick North for an early start of 4.30am. Once we had all met our fellow travellers, we headed to the lounge to be fed and watered. Using a lounge before a flight is a small cost for the benefits gained, away from the crowds and hustle and bustle of the airport and table service of great food.

Our Easyjet flight left on time, the crew very helpful and the aircraft newly cleaned, was spotless. In just under 2 hours we touched down at Venice airport and within a matter of minutes we were sitting onboard a private water taxi and surfing the wakes towards Venice itself.

 

Upon arrival we were greeted by Citalia’s concierge Gianni and escorted to the Danieli Hotel on the Grand Canal and treated to a fine array of sweet Italian delights. The rooms in the hotel are beautifully furnished and the view from the terrace is every artist’s dream. The location is prime as it is just minutes away from Piazza San Marco and the Doge’s Palace.

Next came the highlight of the day – a serene unforgettable ride in a gondola. A few renditions of ‘Cornetto’ broke the tranquility of floating along and absorbing the beauty. We saw many famous sights such as the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs. It was a pinch myself moment at the thought that perhaps I was actually dreaming rather than the truth that I was somewhere so unique and magical.

We were then guided to a little, secret, off the beaten path, gorgeous restaurant which served a never-ending supply of mouth- watering platters abundant with hams, olives and mozzarella. The gentle walk winding though the shop – filled lanes and over smaller canals was certainly welcome afterwards.

The afternoon satisfied those with a cultural appetite and appreciation of art as we had a private tour of the Doge’s Palace. The tour concluded with a hotel visit to the Hotel Monaco and Grand Canal where we were served aperitivo of prosecco and nibbles to accompany the conversation of the memories of the day, all being shared.

As I sat there for a few moments, digital device free, the reality of the experience I had just had hugged me and then, from the distance, I could see a flicker of a shape moving towards us. In a few moments the water taxi came into focus on its way to collect us from the hotel terrace and take us back to the airport ready to catch our Easyjet flight back home. If there was ever a time I felt like a celebrity, it was then.

Venice has something for everyone and is a destination which everyone should visit once in their life

…..or perhaps twice or more if they fall in love with it as much as I have. It can be done in a day, if budget allows and with good organisation. However a night or two would be much more relaxing. Thank you Citalia for touching my heart and making it feel all warm and fuzzy.

 

If you need a break from the Conveyor Belt of Life… I’d love to help! Meet me in the gallery?