Friday, July 24, 2009

Italy whirlwind - Venice

(Warning: Long post ahead)
Venice, the city of Gondolas and love! It has always been my dream to visit this city, after having seen it in so many movies! We travelled to Italy by car, with another couple friend of ours, Gerd and Doro. Left on Saturday afternoon and arrived at 1am. This marked the beginning of our short nights and long travels for the next 5 days.

We had intended to only go to Rome, but didn´t manage to get any cheap air tickets. Hence, we took advantage of having a car to pop by nearby cities on our way to Rome. And boy, were we not disappointed! The weather in Venice was awesome! (35 degrees, sunshine, humid and oh so good for Ms Singaporean)
Snapshots of our hotel room in Marco Polo Hotel. We stayed in a 3* hotel outside Venice for about 70€ per night. In comparison, a 1* hotel in Venice can cost up to 100€! It was really way above our expectations. Friendly staff, new and clean furniture, quiet location etc. soooo much better than our 4* hotel in Rome (more about that later)
The bridge to Venice
Having only 1 day for Venice, we started our day about 10 am. We took a bus over the bridge linking the mainland to the island. Then, it was the start of walking, walking and more walking. I must have been walking / standing for 14 hours!
This was in the residents´area of Venice, where prices were still normal and everyday life could be observed
Wore my shawl because I wanted to protect my throat, which eventually got better later. Oh did I mention that girls were all staring at my 10€ Mondoe shoes that I bought from Singapore? Hah, I think I should start a business bringing asian shoes to Europe!
Love the photo with the bird that flew past the church and cloudy skies
I love the symbolic meaning of these 2 photos. That´s Venice University in the background of the first photo. Out of school, into the world! - Parallel to the boat heading out into the open seas....makes me wanna dream again.
Snapshots of Venice. Clockwise from top: Fresh food market, interesting building, one of the small alleys around Venice and Stephan my "willing" model in photos.
I´m standing in front of the famous Rialto Bridge, where countless of children have gotten lost thanks to the sheer volume of people gushing through the narrow passageway

A trip to Venice isn´t complete without a Gondola ride down the canals. Oh boy, but do they charge sky-rocket prices! 80€ per ride, up to 6 people. We managed to bargain it down to 70€ and paid 75€ including tips. It is THAT beautiful, but only worth to sit once in a lifetime.
The view of the canal from the Gondola
The majestic buildings at the famous St. Mark square, which floods whenever the tides are high. Here, a cup of cappuccino costs 10€. As I said, its a gorgeous but over-priced city!
The massive yacht that belonged to some rich businessman that was docked at Venice. There´s even a private helicopter, can you see that? Oh and the carnival masks that they were selling everywhere. These masks range from 20€ to 200€! The blue-coloured bridge is another famous bridge where prisoners crossed to the other side, to await their trial and sentencing.
The throngs of people. These hotels are the most expensive ones in Venice,because they overlook the sea.
Beautiful Venice by night....we went for dinner at some restaurant in the side alleys

I had scallops pasta (superb) with fresh shrimps (not fantastic). I ended up mixing my shrimps into my pasta to create my own seafood pasta.

To top off a perfect day, we even caught fireworks! The city was abuzz with many locals celebrating a festival to commemorate the victory over a plague in the past - not that it´s any significant, any reason to celebrate is reason enough.

Hence, we waited until almost midnight before we were mesmerized and held spell-bound for 50minutes by a myriad of flashing colours and lights. What a perfect end to a superb 1st day of our holiday. But mind you, the chaos after that was just as crazy as the fireworks were awesome. Thousands of people squeezing up buses to get out of Venice. It was just like those you-tube videos where people were squashed against the doors!


lilacdropsofdew said...

Hi Pris!

Guess who? I finally managed to find a way to get around the country-wide blockage of, so I can start reading your blog again, and I can start blogging, finally! Hopefully this evasion thingy lasts!

What a long post on your travel! I need to sit down and read it in detail :) Glad you had a lovely holiday - you look great! And you and Stephan are both wearing blue, very couple-ish!

Will write more soon! Love, andrea

Chrish said...

that's such a nice trip! Reminded me of the time i was there in 2000/01. I wonder how how much it has changed since then :)

Pris said...

Ohmigosh Andrea! How are you? Long time no hear. SOOO cool that you´re able to access blogs now! I really hope that this evasion lasts too! I´ve been thinking of you and wondering how I could keep in touch with you, since you don´t have access to my blog and u can´t blog either...AMAZING that you´ve found a way! Welcome back to the blogging world babe!Thks for your compliment! I actually gained weight during my Italy trip...bummer! But will endeavour to lose it again!

Pris said...

Hi chrish! Thks for popping by! I don´t think much has changed in Venice though! Its soooo old! They´d need to do some major renovations to the foundations of the buildings, but I guess its going to cost lots of maybe Venice won´t last long anymore.


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