Canals, Gondolas and Spritz

Trip Start Apr 01, 2008
Trip End Jun 30, 2008

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Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Saturday, May 31, 2008

She Says:

Four days ago I got on a train in Munich went to sleep and woke up in Venice. Venice....what can I say?'s got to be the most surreal place I have ever been to.

We arrived at the train station at about 7:30am and caught the Vaporetto (or boat-bus as I like to call it) to our hostel. My love of stairs continued as I lugged my giant backpack up and over multiple bridges. We arrived at our hostel (an ex-convent) and checked into our seperate dorms (good catholic country) and trustingly left our bags in reception because although you had to check in between 8:00 and 11:00am (or you lost your booking) you couldn't actually go to our room until 5:00pm. So still wearing our clothes from Munich we head out onto the streets of Venice for some sightseeing.

We got back onto the Vaporetto and made our way to San Marco. The square was rather impressive with the Basillica, Doge's Palace, shops and museums and was surrounded by many overpriced cafes but, being a once in a lifetime opportunity we decided to sit down and have a coffee, as expensive as it was (8.50 euro each) the atmosphere and people-watching were fantastic. It was early in the morning so it was actually pretty quiet apart from a few asian tour groups that walked quickly through (obviously on whirlwind tours of Europe). The best thing about this was that it allowed me to watch as middle-aged asian ladies tried to attract pigeons while their travel partners took photos...the funny thing was when finally the pigeons did approach (sometimes landing on arms and heads) the ladies would scream and try and bat them away...hilarious. We later visited the Basillica which was huge and by this time was crowded with tourists and were herded like cattle through roped of aisles. For the rest of the day we wandered around the city and visited the Rialto Markets, the Rialto Bridge and various other sights around the city (churches, campos, customs house etc.). The crowds are huge so that evening we had an early dinner by a canal at a really nice vegetarian restaurant and decided that we would call it a day and devote the next day to visiting the islands.

The next morning I met Tom in the courtyard to find that he had experienced the worst night of sleep. Both he and an American guy were sitting in the outdoor furniture looking a little worse for wear. That night they had shared the room with 1. Young Italian guys who returned to the dorm at 2:30am and turned on all the lights 2. A young Italian guy who wanted Tom to watch porn with him (wearing only baggy, white, almost see-through briefs) and 3. An Italian man in his 40's who a) talked loudly on the phone until 1:00am (in the room), b) kept turning the lights on when they were switched off (while on the phone) c) got naked showing his "old junk"and to top it all off, d) snored so loudly that noone else could sleep (the reenactment is hilarious but I imagine it's not so funny when you're sleeping). So with Tom a little tired but still in good spirits we headed to the islands.

First stop - Murano, the island was beautiful but 90% of the glass was awful. There were some nice things but most had nice price-tags to go with them. While we were there we visited the local green grocer for breakfast and bought some fresh peaches, nectarines, grapes and strawberries and consumed them sitting at the end of a dock overlooking the water (tough life). After this we caught the boat to Burano and then another straight to Torcelli which is an island that was deserted due to plagues many centuries ago (ed: originally home to 20 000) and even now only a handful of residents inhabit it. While we were there we went into the old buildings including yet another church and were looking forward to climbing the bell tower that unfortunately was closed. We then continued to explore by wandered around the island (meeting a friendly goat along the way). After this we returned to Burano to have a look around, we stopped for some lunch and admired the colourful houses and shops that cover the island. It was really beautiful and was my favourite island of the day. Following this we went to Lido (where the venetians go to the beach and play sports) and explored for a while. While on the island we caught a couple of buses which gave me another chance to experience the extreme rudeness of people on public transport. I have always been someone who is very aware of public transport ettiquette such as giving up your seat for someone elderly, holding a child, disabled or pregnant but apparently in Italy it is customary to ignore these facts even when people are packed like sardines into the aisle of the bus (complete with little old ladies almost hanging out the doors). Instead the practice is to not make any eye contact whilst sitting on the aisle seat of a two-seater with a spare seat next to you.

Later on that afternoon we caught yet another boat-bus and returned to Venice. That evening we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at a seafood restaurant down a street near the Rialto fish markets. The food was amazing, Tom had the mixed seafood entree (we still have no idea what half the things were) followed by the pasta with clams. I had the shrimp to start(which was a bit disappointing) followed by grilled Sea Bass which was the best fish either of us had ever eaten in our whole lives (good choice Tom!). After dinner we wandered some more and finally ended our day with a couple of Spritz's at a bar close to the hostel (which are also sooo good!).

Yesterday morning we visited the Rialto markets to get the full experience of the bustling fruit, meat and fish markets. We examined the live seafood and yet again ate more fresh fruit. We once more wandered around Venice and visited the Jewish Ghetto, which was tiny and allowed us to really appreciate the over-crowding that would have been experienced. Later that afternoon, following tradition, we found a park to lie in. After soaking up the sun for a few hours we treated ourselves to our first Gelati in Italy....white chocolate and hazelnut....mmmm....yum (ed: I seem to remember that the gelati ending up down your arm and over your face). Later that evening we had another seafood dinner, met a mother and son from Canada and finished the night with a couple more Spritz's.

Today we make our way by train to Florence for a complete change of pace (and accommodation).

Hope everyone is well, G xx
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angelasusan on

I'm so glad you are enjoying the splendours of Italy - and that at least one of you was able to get a good night's sleep! Some dangerously arty shots in there - but I guess Venice the Impossible is going to be bring out the latent (repressed?) artist in just about anyone.

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