The Floating City (guess where?)

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September 14th 2009
Published: September 15th 2009
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Ah Venice, the souveniere shoppers paradise. I collect beautiful glass and love fancy masks. Let me tell you it was imensely difficult not to buy heaps of stuff! Everywhere you turn in Venice there's another hidden lane with fantastic boutique stores. Unfortunately nearly everything is aimed at tourists and so it's incedibly expensive. Not to mention of course that there are tourists EVERYWHERE! I was there on a Sunday and I could barely move in some streets. Verona had it's fair share of tourists to but nothing like Venice.

Day one was sunny and beautiful but the crowds were annoying the hell out of me so I caught a water bus (so cool!) to the Island of Murano. It's amazing what can be made with glass. I bought a beautiful pair of blue glass figures with gold flecks through their venetian masquerade costumes (got them on a great sale!) for my collection. I also got shown to an upstairs area of one of the main show rooms which seemed not to be open to the general public (you had to be escorted up there by one of the employees). This is where the most artistic, unique (and expensive) items from the current glass masters are on show. (I've added a sneaky photo of my favourite one). Of course it was all in the thousands of Euros. Unfortunately the reason I was taken up there was because the creepy old guy who worked there wanted to take me out for drinks and kiss my hand. Eww. (Why do I always seem to attract creepy old guys?) Once I went back down to the normal store the things in it didn't seem half so beautiful after you've seen the stuff upstairs. Keep dreaming Stacey! Tip: haggle, haggle, haggle on the island of Murano because that glass is everywhere and competition is fierce.

I also visited one of the palaces in S. Marco square. I've never seen so much gold on a ceiling before! Very lavish.

Day two was cold and rainy! I was wearing a skirt and didn't have a jacket (I left mine on the dirty bus in KL. GRRRR.) so I spent the day very cold a bit wet. (Around 5pm I finally found a non touristy shop where I bought a fabulous black trench coat for only 30 euro. This one I WON'T be leaving behind anywhere. It looks too good!) However, most of the day I was in various galleries and palaces. (They have a special card you can buy here too for a cheaper rate to enter some of them.) there are so many things to see you could easily spend a week visiting them all but you get over it after a while. Tip: Heaps of cruise ships come into port around 10am so if you want to see anything in S. Marco square and avoid queing forever then get there really early!

I also enjoyed a gorgeous cruise in the front of the water bus. Tip: There are two lines which take about 2 hours to complete their circuit. If you buy a one hour ticket and don't get off you can enjoy a nice long cruise! (No one checks the tickets once you're on board anyway). Sadly I didn't know about this tip. I heard about it from someone else later!

Overall Venice is pretty but it's hard to get away from all the tourist areas. If you manage it then there are some highly picturesque little lanes and bridges which are lovely. It does smell a bit though. Personally it wasn't as atmospheric as I hoped it would be, but it was still an interesting place to visit.

Next stop: Bologna!


16th September 2009

Gorgeous masks
Those masks are beautiful. We also saw some fantastically sculptured ones made from leather - some quite diabolical (as in devil-like). I really wanted to buy one of those but they cost an arm and a leg! I never though to haggle over them though, maybe I could have got it cheaper (there were certainly a lot of mask shops around so as you say with the glass places, they probably would haggle). I hope I manage to win Tattslotto so I can buy some of these amazing glass works (it's the only way it's going to happen! Champagne taste on a beer budget, that's me!) I think you may have seen the Doge's Palace from the sound of it. It is incredible inside - even the stairwells! I agree about the smell, though, it is very musty.
16th September 2009

Sinking not floating
I'm sure the Venetians wish it was a floating city - then they wouldn't be sinking into the lagoon. So many buildings have lost their lower floors because of the rising water levels, which is why they are working so hard to control the water level in the lagoon with the gates that being constructed at the moment (or are they finished). It's probably just as well that there are lots of tourists because the locals are leaving at alarming rates and so the buildings are not being maintained as they were. If it keeps going like this the city will deteriorate even faster than it is now.
16th September 2009

Yes it was the Doges Palace! :) Im hopeless with names. I know what you mean about beer budget. You've passed your champagne tastes on to me though!
16th September 2009

I never saw any gates, but then I wasn't looking for them. Yes i have to say I was glad I got to see it before it became Atlantis.

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