Thursday, May 29, 2008

[Europe Trip] On visiting Venice

Arrived in Venezia Santa Lucia station late in the evening. Made our way to our hotel which was near the train station. This one was satisfying, with marble floor, comfy queen bed and spacious bedroom. Although we're using a shared bathroom and toilet, they were really clean.


Walked along the Grand Canal, and then navigated through the city's maze. Their roads were narrow passageways with limited lightings, it could be scary at night, and people could easily get lost.


Venice definitely had interesting city landscape. Its buildings were built close to one another with passageways in between, many of them were leading to dead-ends. The buildings were normally using bricks and some were not even painted. Some walls were painted in bright colors like yellow, orange or red. Most of them had green window panes that were opened in the middle and folded to the left and to the right, black metal bars under the window that hold small flower boxes. Pretty!


Breakfast was available at additional charge of €5, and it comprised of only hot drink, juice, bread rolls with jam and butter, and some biscuits. As we wanted to have more time exploring the city, we ate some bread at the table and carried the rest with us.

Dropped by S. Maria di Nazareth church which was located very near to the train station. It's a beautiful church, with delicately crafted marbles, statues and pillars for its altar and surrounding chapels.

Took the vaporetto (water bus) to Rialto station and then walked to Piazza San Marco. This place was packed with tourists. There were a lot of pigeons who were busy flocking into whoever had spare food to offer them. No bags were allowed, so we put our bags first in the designated area. The basilica looked depressing due to the bronze and black colors used for its altar and pillars. Entrance was free, but it's only to the main area (nave and small chapels). Additional charges were imposed for entry to the back of the altar, to the treasury and the upper level.


Next, we went to the basilica's bell tower. Elevator was provided to carry tourists to the top floor (10th level) to enjoy the sight of Venice city from high above.

From there we took vaporetto to a nearby church, S. Maria della Salute, but too bad it was closed at that time. We walked to Peggy Gugenheim museum, decided not to go in, walked further, bought 2 slices of pizza for lunch.

Took vaporetto again to Gardinia station, and walked around the garden. Not that impressed as there were not many flowers around. After further walk, stumbled upon many dead-ends, we finally found S. Pietro di Castello church. Entrance was not free and we had a brief peek (payment was to be made inside the church) and thought that it did not look that great so we didn't go in.


Next, we went to Lido area, curious to see the beach but didn't manage to find it as the map that we had was not sufficient. It's a free map, with a lot of advertisements that covered some places in the map. They have real roads with cars and buses and bicycles in Lido. We took route A bus for a loop around the island but didn't find the beach. That place didn't feel like Venice, it's just like other 'normal' cities.


We went to Dorsoduro area and had dinner at Pier-Dickens Inn Restorante. We ordered Sausage & Mushroom Risotto, it's superb! Risotto was quite troublesome to prepare, I guess, that's why most restaurants served it only when it's ordered by a minimum of 2 guests. It's expensive, though, and despite the big plate it was only in one thin layer. But it's really good, buttery cheesy sauced rice with pieces of meat and mushroom. Yum!

A useful advice that I got from the internet: when you see anything that you like in Venice, you better just buy it. Do not think that you can always buy it the next time you pass by that shop, as you probably never will.

Three words for Venice: unique, charming, romantic

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