Travel Tips 101: Embrace Your Inner Tourist

Written by Mallory November 2, 2016

Our boat from the tour around the main island of Venice.

Emma by the Cemetery island off of the island of Venice.

One of my favorite pictures from our tour in Florence.

Our first travel weekend arrived faster than I was expecting! Time here is really flying by. I was lucky enough to be able to spend the long weekend traveling to Venice and Florence with Emma and her grandparents. We met her grandparents at the airport on Saturday morning when they arrived and our weekend chalked full of activities began. After dropping our stuff off in our hotel rooms (we both had our own full size beds – definitely a highlight of the trip!), we got bus passes and headed to Venice. Emma’s grandparents had planned two walking tours: one in Venice and one in Florence. Emma and I were excited for the tours but were kinda of hesitant because these tours seemed so “touristy”, almost like we felt the need to be wearing socks and sandals and fanny packs! However, once the tour got underway, our opinions changed.

The first stop: Saint Mark’s Basilica. We got the chance to walk around inside. Emma and I were both pretty excited because this was something we were unable to do when we were there the week before. We then walked through the city, crossing canals and learning about the history of the city. We learned about Campos and about the palaces that created the city. The tour only took about two hours and it was interesting to say the least! After the conclusion of the walking tour we took a water tour. This was even better than the walking tour because we were riding in a boat through all of the canals learning about the different areas of the city. We got to see so much in the hour we spent on the boat. Probably the most interesting fact we learned on this tour: Venice has a cemetery island. It is completely separated and is fenced in, but it is the cemetery for all of Venice. 

We had a similar experience in Florence. We went into to the tour a little less hesitant than the previous one. On this tour we saw Michelangelo’s David and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Though it was raining and overall kind of a yucky day, we really enjoyed our time! We ate one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had at All’Antico Vinaio. The wait was definitely worth it and to make it even better, we were able to meet up with some other Furman students that are studying with a different program just south of Florence. Overall the day was great! We went back to our hotel and rested from the day before having our goodbye dinner. 

Going into this weekend, Emma and I weren’t sure how these tours were going to be. However, after spending the weekend taking tours like these, I honestly can say, I’m glad we did them! I learned a ton and after embracing our inner tourists, it really wasn’t that bad at all.