If you’ve missed my previous Italy travel blogs, here they are!
Two days in Florence was sufficient for us who wanted a ‘taste’ of the city. However, three days would have been better if someone wants a more relax visit and to explore this place in full! There were a lot to see still but we had covered most of the sightseeing points already.
Train from Florence to Venice took around three hours again. It was a fast train and yet again, the coach was packed with tourists and the couple sitting opposite us were Canadians. Perhaps we were travelling after morning rush hours so people who travelled were visitors. The coach was very decent and clean but lugguage space was very limited. We had to lift our suitcase up to the overhead tray which was just deep enough to hold it. I was kind of worry whether the tray would hold after everybody put their heavy bags and cases up there. Yet, it was still insufficient so many had to carry their bags and cases along the isle and in between their legs.
Susan spent sometime to rest while I was typing this very blog (not today however, still catching up!). But the three-hour journey felt very fast and we arrived at Venice Terminal in no time. Crossing the sea in a train was somehow exciting. Since there was nothing but water outside. When you just look through the windows, it was like flying over the sea!! It was kind of cool.
The train terminal was like any other that we’d seen so far, functional and spacious. I was silly enough not to use the toilet in the train and I was desperate when we arrived!!! NOW I HAVE TO TELL YOU THIS, NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO IN VENICE (OR ITALY CITIES FOR THAT MATTER, PUBLIC TOILETS ARE LUXURY AND CHARGEABLE!!!) Now I’ve said it. Yes, the train station toilet charged me one euro!!! So be prepared!
They are only free if they are within a paid facility or venue like restaurants or museums. Just keep that in mind, travellers!
Again, our final stay in Italy was also very close to the train terminal. It was a mere five minutes walk. There were porters who would help you carrying your luggage and bags to your hotels. We didn’t use one because of the short distance to our stay. However, if you are staying further afield then hiring one of these porters could be an idea unless you are strong enough to carry your heavy luggage through many steps and bridges (that’s how Venice is interconnected!)
We were not sure if Venice was just and expensive place or the hotel manager was being mean? This was the first place that we had to pay for a map of the city. When we were at Rome, Pisa and even Florence, we got them for free! The hotel charged us one euro and if you are to get one from the tourist information centre, be prepared to pay two euro for one. We didn’t get one at first and was later given free because the hotel manager couldn’t find any more maps in the office so he just gave us their display map (with some writings on it).
Because we arrived earlier than our check-in time so we had to leave our lugguage in the hotel storeroom. Taking just my camera and GPS unit, we headed out to our first destination, Piazza San Marco!
The journey from our hotel to the Piazza wasn’t exactly far. Just like any unfamiliar place you ever encounter, the first try always seems difficult and long. Also because Venice is a maze-like place. Each isle looks so similar that you could easily get lost. Even with my GPS, getting orientation seemed like sieving for gold! But after 45 minutes or so, we finally got there. A journey that we subsequently became our main home route for the next few days.
When we finally got to Piazza San Marco, we both stopped and took a deep breath just to soak up that buzz in the area. Anyway, San Marco looked virtually identical to how I remembered from my first visit. Still packed with tourists and the buildings surrounding the square never ceased to amaze me. The St. Marks Basilica, however, was under rennovation and the facet was partially covered up so we couldn’t get a good look at it. Visiting during off peak season meant that getting inside was fairly straightforward, the queue wasn’t long and we literally got in within minutes. The inside was very… ‘gold’. Very larvish that it didn’t look like a church, more like a palace. Though it wasn’t the biggest we’d seen but certainly one of most ‘golden’.
Coming back out to the piazza, we soaked up more of the buzz and noise. We saw other famous landmarks like the St. Mark’s Clock, Museo Correr and St. Mark’s Campanile. Then when we headed towards the waterside, where many famous photos took place, we got that famous view of the Grand Canal.
We steered left into an area packed with merchants and painters. Then we came to a tourist booth where they sold tickets to the main islands of Venice, Murano, Burano and Torcello. It was fairly cheap including transport so we bought ourselves a trip for the next day.
By then, we were actually very tired, of walking, and called it a day. We found a local restaurant on the way back to our hotel and had some pretty good traditional food.
Tired, excited and our brains filled with all the pretty impressions of Venice… awww… just so…. romantic!
A few more photos for your pleasure!