I took Rick's advice and decided to arrive a few days before the tour began - to enjoy Venice and get acclimatized. As well as ensure that for some unforeseen reason that I didn't miss the start of the tour (you worry when you're going solo for the first time).
In addition, I shamelessly used the fact that I was traveling solo to justify indulging myself in a few extra treats - as if going on this tour itself was not a huge indulgent treat in and of itself!
Hence, prior to the fun of the "real" tour beginning I took part in a "Cicchetti tour" - essentially it is a historical pub crawl with appetizers - cicchetti (plural), cicchetto (singular) being small, traditional Venetian snacks.
Travel tip: The tradition of the cicchetti are popular with the Venetian residents themselves, often going to a cicchetti pub at lunch or immediately after work. Each cicchetto is only one or two Euro each. Have a couple cicchetti along with a 4 Euro glass of wine and it makes for a wonderful, incredibly tasty and authentic Venetian eating experience for only a few coins. There are many cichetti pubs in the Rialto Market area.
I also booked myself a personal - one on one - 3 hour walking tour with a professional photographer and Venetian, Marco.
Such fun. He took me to all sorts of areas I had never been to in Venice, told me wonderful stories and legends about Venice before as well as taught me how to take better pictures with my little point and shoot camera.
"Have the photos tell a story", he said. "Have them capture a mood", he said. (Check out the wee slide show below. I took them all!)
I also visited many museums on the 'Museum pass' as well as breathtaking churches, including my all time favourite - the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari housing incredible works of art by Titian and others.
Travel tip: If you go ahead of time, buy a 'Choir pass'. It gains you entry into numerous churches in Venice as well as provides motivation to go all over Venice in order to hunt them down.
In addition, I simply rambled all over the incredible, magical, fairy land that is Venice. There is no other city in the world better suited for this sort of meandering.
It is small.
It has no traffic.
A person can wander for hours and never be bored.
Each corner, each campo, each bridge reveals another incredible view - creating, in turn, another incredible memory.