Floating through Venice

Trip Start Aug 29, 2007
Trip End Oct 01, 2007

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Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Switzerland is a great place for chocolate lovers. My friends truly enjoy this indulgence. What kind of friend would I be if I didn't send back to them. This meant that I had to find a post office and the associated paraphernalia. With the usual Swiss efficiency and completeness I mailed my presents home. Swiss efficiency worked for me with the post office but I had to really move quickly to make my train from Lucerne to Venice via Milan. This was going to be a long day in the train so I settled down with my book and music as I anticipated my arrival in Venice. This is city that I had vowed to see before it sunk under the canals that make it so unique. Well I was on my way.

I have to admit that I quite enjoy travelling by train - I watch the world go by, I ponder and the best part of it all (I don't have to do anything). On the other hand, I don't see the byways and hidden treasures of the country - but I guess nothing is perfect. Train travel allowed me to interact with people or enjoy the peaceful countryside. At Milan, the quiet was interrupted by the slow Texan drawl of lady whom I later found out was called Anita.She was travelling with her husband Paul, who it turned out was also in the rail industry. I spent an enjoyable trip with these wonderful people, who I am pleased to say, I am still in contact. We were both excited about this respective leg of our holiday and were swapping tips and ideas on the Venice and other parts of Italy. All of this was watched by lovely Italian gentlemen named Francesco -who didn't speak any English. It turns out that Francesco was very proud and of his beautiful Italy and with my meager Italian (and Italian phrase book) he helped me find the best sights for me to visit. It was probably on of the nicest conversations I have ever had. Francesco was a real gem!!!!

Finally we reached Venice and it was pouring!!!! I thought that I could make it to the hotel that I was booked into :The Santa Chiara which is located close to the train station . I forgotten that the blocks in Venice are separated by BRIDGES.By the time I got to the hotel it looked like I had fallen into the Grand Canal.I don't think that I am fussy traveller but the Santa Chiara....was special. The Santa Chiara is advertised as converted palace - I was obviously living in the broom closet. I didn't mind the small room, the inability to walk around my open bag, the drain that was under my window, the shower that was separated from the toilet by curtain - I think the thing that got to me was the black walls with embroidery work on it.I decided to give it go though so I cleaned up and went out to supper at restaurant close to canal. Here I overheard (I am so nosey) the conversation between an older American lady and her hunky younger Italian artist boyfriend. It seemed like something out of a movie - it was the first sign that I was in the city of love. I was loving it here and I do hope the lady and the young man are still together.

The next morning I woke from fitful sleep were I dreamed that I was buried alive in a coffin - this combined with no real breakfast to speak of made me decide that I needed to leave the hotel. I realised that nothing has to be perfect but it has to be good enough. Even though I felt like wasn't a real traveller, I decided that I wasn't going to let this spoil my time in Venice. I transferred to the Savoia and Jolanda which was absolutely wonderful and decided to get going.I spent my time at St. Mark's square and the Basilica,wandered through the Doge's Palace and then wandered through the streets of Venice. I spent the evening with Paul and Anita where we eventually ended up in St. Mark's square. It turned out to be an incredible day. I was impressed by the Basilica - the workmanship and the beauty while square seemed like the melting pot of the world. people of every nationality all wanting to one of the most beautiful sights is Europe. I was there and fulfilling parts of my dreams and it doesn't get any better than that. I was horrified to hear that a trip in a gondola was going to cost me 100 Euro.This is the one event that defines a trip to Venice for me - something that I always wanted to do.I guess I 'll have to grudgingly pay the money.

I decide that I was going to see as much as Francesco suggested that I see, but I was going to walk everywhere. This would give me the opportunity to gain a feel for the character of the city and enjoy the beautiful day that had dawned. I set off the Santa Maria Della Salute Church, the Doge's museum, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, the Accademia, the Church of the Frari, the Rialto bridge (where I had lunch) . in all of these places I saw beauty and history that made me smile. Venice is unique and this has become a part of its character. From the masks on the street that remind of the masquerades and Casanova to the beauty of Tintoretto's version of the Sistine Palace as well as the music that fills St. Marks' square at night- Venice is truly unique. As I stood on the Rialto bridge, I was approached by a Czechoslovakian guy to take some photos in front of the grand canal with him. I said he didn't even know me - he replied Its Venice. I guess that sums up Venice - anything can happen.  I ended the evening with my gondola ride around the grand canal. Other than the expense I was afraid that I would look silly and feel depressed after (it is meant to be done by couples) but Antonio my gondolier made laugh and smile the whole way. It was lots of fun. I was relaxed and I felt it.

Overall I loved Venice. It was everything I hoped it would be. There is so much that I haven't seen but I guess it is a reason to go back ;) Looking back, if I were to be quite honest - this was undoubtedly my favourite city.
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