Getting lost in Venice
Did you know that my country Venezuela was named after Venice? ‘Little Venice’ Amerigo Vespucci thought when he saw my beautiful country. Well, it was my turn to visit the actual Venice.
Being in Italy it was nice for us, since some of their customs are very similar to ours… or ours to theirs.
Before I went to the old continent, again, of course, I told everyone about it and people kept saying to me ‘Venice stinks’. No because it’s an awful city, but for the smell. Well, not even when it rained the whole – and only – day of my stay, I proved they were right. Or my smell sense sucks.
We arrived by train to the Santa Lucia station, and since they announced we were close to the station, all I could see through the window was water. One of the things I liked about Venice, no cars/trucks/SUVs or anything like it, are allowed in this island. Walk, walk and walk! There’s not space for them, just boats, vaporetti (plural for vaporetto: a water-bus), traghetti (plural to traghetto, similar to the a gondola but to cross the canal only – hint: cheaper than a gondola), water taxis and obviously, the famous gondolas.
From the Santa Lucia Station, we took a vaporetto to get to Piazza San Marco because our hotel was close to it. Make sure where you are staying, since most of the time you could go walking to your hotel from the station, unless you are arriving by plane, you might need a boat.
Taking the water-bus to go to our hotel it was the best option, since we enjoyed a great view to the city through the Grand Canal. We passed by Ponte di Rialto, which it was the first bridge to cross the canal; by Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, and from there, the beautiful view to the San Giorgio Maggiore to the right, and to the left, Piazza San Marco showing us the top of the Campanile and the amazing structures nearby as the Palazzo Ducale and, surely, Basilica di San Marco.
Another of my recommendations, wear comfortable shoes! Forget about Angelina Jolie looking gorgeous in heels in The Tourist, unless you are going to a party. From the water-bus stop to the hotel, we had to walk with our luggages through bridges with stairs. And to get around the city, to get to know it better, walking is the best option. Or a bike maybe.
During our first afternoon, almost night, we strolled from our hotel to the Rialto bridge (about 10min.), from the hotel to Ponte dell’Accademia (at Campo San Vidal, about 10min.) and only 5min. from the hotel to Piazza San Marco. One thing I always kept on my mind, get lost in Venice is the best you could do to get to know it better. It’s true! I mean, where are you going to end? It’s an island! Besides, every where you go, there will be a sign pointing you to go to either the Rialto or San Marco square. Again, comfortable shoes and clothes!
On that night, or any other, we hung out at Piazza San Marco. Nice music, great ambience, and few cups of wine. In Italy and not drinking wine? But beware, I knew that usually they charge extra for silverwares and you don’t need to tip in Italy (but come on, I mean, an extra for their job is never bad!). We just sat at the many cafes/bars around the squares to relax and enjoy the moment. When we’ve got the check, they charged us 18 euros for the music (a band playing in the square, not even at the local) and they asked us how much will they charge us for the tip. I complained (of course, I always do if I don’t like something! 🙂 ) Later, I went online to look up for that place and there were a lot of complains about it. Other than that, great time!
Next day, after breakfast, I already had a list of things to do and visit, trying to get to the right streets, although I really wanted to get lost! First we walked (of course) to Piazza San Marco, even when we already went a couple of times the day before, we never got tired of walking around. It’s amazing! We strolled by the square, went behind to see the canal and all the gondolas placed as ready for you to take pictures. Most of the stores or cafes around the square, are actually antique. Most of them are working since the 1800s or like ‘Caffe Florian‘ which opened in 1720.
From the Piazza, we went to Ponte di Rialto through all those alleys and small bridges. We didn’t get lost by that time. It might all look the same, but we couldn’t stopped ourselves of taking pictures and capturing videos at every corner and at every little bridge with the canal and maybe some gondola passing by. And other thing we could notice, was the sky turning grey.
We arrived at the famous bridge. Small stores, more restaurants and bares to both sides before crossing the Rialto. Even when the weather was telling me rain was on the way, every where I looked it was perfect for a picture. From a side to the bridge, from the bridge to the border of the canal.
To cross the bridge it might take a little longer. Not because is long, but because in the middle you’ll find lot of mini stores with the famous Venice masks and every object made with Murano‘s glass, every design, every model and all of them beautiful. I bought 3 small masks to decorate my room and some earrings to give to my girlfriends.
By the way, Murano is an island to the north of Venice, there are water taxis and buses that will take you there.
After some shopping and browsing around, we walked to the fish market, only few steps away. Ok, it was a fish market, there I could smell something. Obviously. They also have fruits, veggies, and few other delicious things you could get, as we did, for the rest of the day. After all, remember, you’re going to be walking a lot!. One thing I found so funny, ‘me’ since I spend most of my time in the caribbean, but they are nuts about coconuts! I guess it’s like for us, in Venezuela, when we go to La Colonia Tovar or Merida and cannot skip having some strawberries! (it’s not that easy to get fresh strawberries any other city)
Right after we left the market, the rain accompanied us! It didn’t stop for hours and we got – finally – lost in Venice! We wanted to go to Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. Usually the way would be around 10 minutes, I guessed, but for us it was for maybe an hour. It was fun though, but the rain wasn’t helping us at all. With my little italian I knew, I kept asking for directions, which of course, I could understand a little bit and then I got lost in the rest of the help. Really, it was fun. We just walked, enjoyed our surrenders, and maybe the rain. Perhaps, in any other city, I would get frustrated for not knowing where I am.
Our next stop was Galleria dell’Accademia. From Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari we passed by more restaurants and bars, that most of them were closed already because of the hour (after 3pm or 4pm they close).
The one thing the rain couldn’t stop us of doing, sitting at a cafe to have a cup of wine. By the end of the day, even after walking a lot, getting lost and knowing Venice; we went to our hotel room to rest a little and wait if the rain will be over. In just one day we’ve got to stroll around the city. A lot!
By the end of the afternoon, we went back to the Rialto to have our last dinner and I think it was our best meal we had in Venice, ‘Sole S.A.S. Di Coletti Davide’ long name, but really great food, awesome ambience (in front of the Grand Canal) and very good attention/service. The waiter was actually married with a Venezuelan woman 🙂
We rode in a vaporetto from the train station to the San Marco square, and we had to take a taxi on our way to the airport. Well, we didn’t have to, but we wanted to. We went through the canals, got out by Piazza San Marco, saw the day was going to be so beautiful and the sun shining, not fair for us; and went to the airport.
I want to get lost again in Venice! And next time, I better go to Murano island! Ready? Let’s go!
Remember to keep it clean.