Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Venice, Italy (Day 3)

Ahh, Venice.

On Thursday we woke up early to take the train to Venice from Lugano, via Milano. It took about 3.5 hours with the train and we had to change in Milano, but there are trains that are direct - but regardless it seems they all go through Milano. The view was nice - lots of grape plants and those Italian trees - you know, the ones that look like popsicles.
When we arrived in Venice, it must have been about 410 degrees out, and the views of the canals were not at all cooling. The crowds waiting to get onto the ferries made me sweat just looking at them. Eighteen euros later, 6 per person, we were on the number 2 ferry to Rialto which was the closest stop to our budget hotel, Foresteria Valdese di Venezia, as recommended by the Lonely Planet book, Europe on a Shoestring. (map here)

(Tip: Just get a multiple day pass from the start - you'll want to take a ferry again later and you need it get back to the train station anyway - it would have saved us heaps if I'd just done that from the start... !)

This is ths Foresteria Valdese di Venezia, our hotel. Comfortable and very affordable. Nice. But definately budget - don't expect air conditioning, lifts, or 24 hour service. Actually reception was only open fromm 8 am -1 pm and then from 4 pm - 8 pm.

After having three panic attacks (one trying to get a map amidst the crowds to get to the hotel, one after having gone over three bridges in the wrong direction, and the last realizing the hotel didn't have air conditioning), we checked in and were ready to explore the great city built on the water.

I honestly think that Venice was at least 10 degrees hotter than Italy's mainland, due to all the concrete, which made the afternoon sightseeing slightly painful, but the 3 euro liters of water bought along the way did the trick nicely to keep us cool and the iced coffee with vanilla ice cream downed greedily at a waterside cafe made it worth our while.

We took the N ferry after the iced coffees all around the mainland and through the Grand Canal. The breeze off the canal was heavenly and we got to see a lot of the features while giving our tired feet a rest... and we also avoided some of the crowds, since everyone and their brother (even mine!) was in Venice that day.

We got kicked off the ferry at San Marco Plazza, which was perfect as my photographing family wanted to capture the square in the daytime to contrast the night shots they took later. After taking shots from every angle, even paying to take shots from the Cathedral terrace, which is also the museum and is a lovely view, we did a bit of shopping, picking up typical Venetian arts (glass made in Murano mostly).

The Cathedral in San Marco Plazza

Then around six we had one of the most memorable, best value-for-money meals of the entire trip, which was surprising considering what a rip off most of Venice is, near the Calle di Preti, directly west of the Plazza San Marco. I had an exquisite Venetian appetizer plate as a starter, and a stuffed squid salad for a main. Nate, having been there before and hence recommending the little gem of a place, insisted we have creme brule for dessert, and let's say it did not disappoint. My mom had the best dish of the night, an asparagus souffle with prawns. Delish. Unfortunately I couldn't find this on Google Maps, but if you want better directions, post in the comments.

After dinner, my 'professionista' family took night photos of the Plazza while I made the HUGE mistake of sitting down at one of the cafes on the Plazza to wait for them. Although I had a great glass of sweet red and enjoyed the various live music, I also had to pay 6 euros cover for the aforementioned music... not cheap... not sure if it was worth it... but it did make for a lovely night.
Photo by Nathan - ALL COPYRIGHTS RESERVED - ok?!?!
Don't EVEN THINK ABOUT REPRODUCING?! (that good enough Nate?!)

Day 4 - Burano tomorrow.

1 comment:

Bluefish said...

Amazing! How lovely Venice is...did you went on the "boat" for a romantic ride?


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