Walking on Water

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December 26th 2013
Published: June 2nd 2014
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If there’s any famous place that I don’t really look forward to visit – that’ll be Venice. Being the practical couple – both my husband & I think it’s just… bunch of sewers. When you’re taking gondola, meaning you’re streaming along together with… waste? Anyway, I just didn’t get the point.

Nevertheless, while tracking from Munich to Florence – it seems like a sin if I didn’t stop over in Venice and spend few nights. Arriving in Venice on Christmas after sunset, I was worried whether there’s any mass transportation & afraid of getting lost (plus I was alone!) so I chose to stay at Ca dei Polo Venice, near the train station. I browsed around and noticed that you can get 8%!d(MISSING)iscount by using code “offsite”. It was a nice single clean single ensuite room with breakfast and free wifi. To be fair, with the same cost, you can also get a room near San Marco square.

The next morning, I exchanged my 12-hours ACTV card in the nearest Hellovenezia booth. As I have Italo ticket from Venice to to Florence, I got 15%!d(MISSING)iscount so only need to pay 15.8 euro instead of 18 euro. Yay! Btw I do think buying travel card in Venice is worth it, because one way ferry will caused 7 euro already. It was cloudy but I’m excited nevertheless. Sitting in front, it feels more like I’m in an excursion rather than using mass transportation. Left & right, colorful buildings that looks like floating above water. Small gondolas & big boats cruise side by side prone to accident & made me cringe (I just saw in tripadvisor few days before on a fatal accident where a tourist was killed in this particular stream). Well well, not bad for a city that I underestimated for years. This is actually kind of fun! I only wished I’d wear my gloves as the wind was very chilly.

After several stops, I finally arrived at San Marco square. It’s aqua alta or high tide, causing half of San Marco square to get flooded. In order to allow tourist & their luggage to safely zig zag in dry condition – catwalks are being installed. How interesting! I wasn’t planning for an indoor museum visit; was initially just planning to drop by San Marco and then zoomed out to Murano & Burano; but the wind blew so hard & it started to rain. I decided to join the line to Palazzo Ducale which looks shorter than what I saw in youtube videos. One tips I read, if the line is really long, better to purchase the ticket at Museo Correr or Museo Archeologico Nazionale across the square instead because the 16 euro ticket to Palazzo Ducale is bundled with other sites in San Marco’s square. For me, as the line was just 10-15 mins short –I didn’t have to use that tips. Soon enough, I’m already inside without storing my camera bag in the cloak room. It’s hard to sneak in pictures though, I saw many people who tried got caught. They really patrol it seriously here. I don’t follow history or art, so I only saw pretty giant wooden frames attached to the ceiling. I did pass through the Bridge of Sigh but just think it was so so. Afterwards, I did stop by at Museo Correr just to check it out & use their empty toilet (which is relatively clean).

When taking pictures under Campanile Tower – I realized apparently it was open. Being there one day after Christmas, there are inconsistent information online on what was open & not – so I happily queue & pay 8 euro to take the elevator up. The view was breathtaking. I can see surrounding island from Venice & see the different narrow lanes from the top. I do recommend it. Having said that, the price is kinda hefty compared to Neue Rathaus tower in Munich which was also equipped with elevator but only cost 2.5 euro.

Of course, you cannot miss Basilica di San Marco. If the queue is long, store your bag first in the adjacent building to the left. If you have that locker token, you can walk in front of the line and just show the guard & they’ll let you in first. Why? Because the queue is to check your bag. If you don’t have a bag… well, they’ll just let you right in. For me, again, as it was a sleepy December, I just turn my sling bag to hide it behind my back – under my rain coat – and I got in immediately. The person in front of me was told to store his bag though; so indeed it’s a bit subjective. Inside? It reminds me of Aya Sofia in Istanbul – a bit dark, with lots of frescoes. It’s kinda solemn & I wouldn’t want to be there at night alone. That’ll be scary.

Next – I’m looking to have a great value for money lunch. This “Alfredo Pasta to Go” kept popping up in tripadvisor & I want to give it a try. Squid ink pasta or three cheese gnocchi sounds heavenly. Aid with a printed map – I kept getting lost because I kept derailing myself to a different turn every time I saw something interesting to take picture. After getting lost 3 times, I told myself – stick to the map! I don’t care whatever interesting viewpoint coming up – just stick to the map, otherwise we’ll get lost further. I finally arrived at their store only to find out… taadaaa… their…CLOSED! Gah! My choice was between eating my emergency instant noodles stock, or buying some random frozen pizza at whatever random café which was opened. I chose the instant noodles and use my money to bought souvenir for my mum & grandma instead. Watch out that there are many “made in China” items (including those Venetian masks!) in case you’re looking for authentic Italian made craft (which usually reflected in the price as well).

They said, getting lost in Venice is part of the experience. In my point of view, it’s kind of unavoidable. You’ll have printed marks which said left to San Marco; but then the right arrow also point to San Marco. I follow the yellow marks as much as possible and ended up at Rialto Bridge. I hang out quite a long time there, just soaking up the view over sunset & enjoying the experience. I noticed many gondolas but none of the gondolier sang. I think it cost extra charge to have them belted out their inner Italian idol persona.

As it was winter, the sun set early so it was too late to continue my journey to Burano and Murano. But nevertheless, Venice was more enjoyable than I thought. It’s definitely unique & worth visiting if you happen to be in the region.

For more of my pictures click HERE, for my hotel & restaurant reviews click HERE.

Additional photos below
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3rd June 2014

One of those great cities that we have not been to yet but still would like to explore.

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