Day 5: Water City, Venice

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October 23rd 2011
Published: November 27th 2011
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Sunday, 23rd October 2011

The tourist trap of Venice was where we landed after more than 2.5 hours on the train from Milan. Coupled with another 2.5 hours for our return leg in the evening, we had accumulated a whopping 5 hours on the road during Day #5 of our European adventures!

Never mind that the 5 hours might seemed long enough to have taken away the chunk of our day trip. Personally, I enjoyed the long hours we spent on the comfortable express trains as we made our way to visit the key cities in Italy by rail. I'm not speaking about the rest but this was by far one of the most memorable travel experiences during my stay in Italy.

As we walked through the grounds of Venice that day, this was without a doubt that an extended day trip a very manageable reality for tourists not wishing to spend a night in the Water City. Arriving at the Santa Lucia Train Station at 12.35pm, we had more than 7 hours to explore the city proper before catching our 7.50pm train back to Milan.

These 7 hours were more than sufficient to cover the principal sites and bridges in the city, say "Buongiorno" to the Singapore Pavillion particpating at the Venice Biennale as well as topping off with a late Italian lunch at one of the many pizzerias run by the friendly Asians.

However, the "Venetian Experience" did not come in cheap even after discounting the pricey gondola rides. For sure, it cost a lot even for the bare essentials.

Quite simply, the Vaporetto (Water Taxi) service was the only public transportation option to get around the city. For a steep 6.50 Euros, this guaranteed us a trip from the train station along the Grand Canal towards the heart of Venice, the St Mark's Square.

From the square, the key sight-seeing spots were well within comfortable walking distance. Another inflated 1.50 Euros would grant us the use of the city's public toilets even though we would prefer to utilise those facilities in the cafes where we had our lunch.

I would never associate Venice with "charming" or "romantic" given the huge crowds jostling for limited space in this touristy city. The hefty price tags for almost everything (food was the exception) certainly did not improve the overall travelling experience.

Given my constant search for peaceful enclaves in and out of Singapore, there is little doubt that Venice would not be rated favourably for visitors wishing to seek space and quiet in this part of the country.

10.30pm - our train pulled right into Milano Centrale Station on schedule. Healthy supper awaited me at Uncle M as I proceeded to demolish my wonderful salad with a dosage of Italian dressings and olive oils.

Good bye Venice and Milan.

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