Sunday, May 1, 2011

Our Italy Trip - Part 3 - Venice

Hello Venice!

On the 2nd of April, we left Milan to venture on to Venice. We took a train from Milan Centrale Station to Venice Santa Lucia station. Remember to buy the ticket for the Santa Lucia station because otherwise, you will end up on the industrial part of Venice. The train station in Venice is not as impressive as the Milan one. You can experience Venice as soon as you step foot out of the train station. The old buildings, the Vaporettos (public water buses) and of course the sheer number of people or tourists! Note that even if you had big luggages like us, you can still take the vaporetto. We were not charged a ticket for the bags and it was fairly easy to lift the bags on and off the boat. Of course, if you had a lot of luggages and plan to take the vaporetto, I suggest that you stay at a hotel close to the vaporetto stops because Venice is all about streets which are more like mazes and steps over bridges. If on the other hand, you are willing to pay anything between 60 to 100 Euros for a private water taxi, then choose to stay wherever you would like because otherwise you would not be able to find your hotel on your own.

Hotel Villa Igea

We stayed at Hotel Villa Igea which was just a few steps away from the San Zaccaria vaporetto stop. It's a quaint little place but with no views of the canal or anything. We knew that beforehand so did not expect much. Location was fantastic as it was just 2 minutes away from Piazza San Marco. We loved Venice very much except for the smelly canals. That was the reason we did not do the cliche thing of renting a gondola for a romantic ride. We did not think it would be very romantic when we could not even stand the smell from the canals. To rent a gondola would set you back something like 100 Euros (approximately RM 430) for a 20-30 minute ride.

There is a mini orchestra playing every night

Tea served on a silver platter

The only cliche thing we did in Venice was to have tea at Caffe Florian. This caffe is Italy's oldest caffe (as declared on their website) and is approximately 291 years old. I love how the westerners strive to preserve as much of their history and traditions as possible. We also visited Harry's Bar which is also a very old caffe. This bar is famous for the Bellini drink and also for that fact that Ernest Hemingway used to come here. We were not allowed to take pictures inside but my husband and I were not impressed at all with the place. Yes it is old and therefore I expected much more character to the place but we found it bland. The Bellini was pretty darn good though. :)

The two pictures above are of the Doges Palace

St. Mark's Basilica

Famous bronze horses from the time of Constantinople

The main tourist attractions in Venice are really all around Piazza San Marco. We visited the Doges Palace, St. Mark's Basilica and the Clock Tower. We also visited the Peggy Guggenheim Modern Art Museum but mostly, we walked the streets of Venice, getting lost now and then. There is a lot to do in Venice. Good food, good wine, opera, shopping and lots more. Oh, we also bought a paper mache mask which is beautiful but I have not taken pictures of it yet. Will update when I do. I will leave you here with a picture I took while we were leaving Venice. Sob Sob...

Bye Bye Venice! See you again soon!

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