With the recent media circus going on last weekend in Venice for George Cluny’s wedding, I thought it would be a good time to blog about Venice. Although I’ve been there quite a long time ago in 1997, it was really nice to see my old photos and how Venice looked like before all the crazy fans and paparazzi invaded the place.

Venice is actually a city built on several islands inside the Venetian Lagoon. Venice is renowned for it beauty and architecture. From Shakespeare’s play, Merchant of Venice, and featured in countless movies and novels, Venice has timeless appeal.I got a chance to visit this unique city when I was stationed in Switzerland for a 6 week training period. During one of the weekends, I decided to take the overnight  train from Zurich to Venice on a Friday night. There are 2 trains stations to get off – Venice Mestre which is on the mainland, and Venice Santa Lucia which is on the west side of Venice itself. Depending on where you hotel is, you have to get off at the correct train station.

Hotels on Venice itself are pretty expensive and my small room in a small hotel not far from the Santa Lucia train station cost me more than USD200/night. Hotels on the mainland are cheaper, but you have to take the train or bus to Venice and is more inconvenient. No cars are allowed on Venice and the only forms of transport are your own feet or the numerous boats and gondolas plying the canals.

Sunset view of the canal separating Santa Lucia train  station from Venice. My hotel is somewhere on the right hand side.
Sunset view of the canal separating Santa Lucia train station from Venice. My hotel is somewhere on the right hand side.

I decided to walk from my hotel to St Mark’s Square where the major sights were located. Armed with only a paper tourist map, I attempted to navigate the labyrinth of alley ways and bridges connecting the islands together. Needless to say, I was soon lost. In the end I just followed the general direction where most of the tourists were walking (most of them were lost too)  and soon found myself at St Mark’s Square (San  Marco Square).

Another view of St Mark's Basilica taken in the early morning.
St Mark’s Basilica in the early morning.
Elaborate paintings depicting crucial events in the bible adorn the entrance to the basilica.
Elaborate paintings depicting crucial events in the bible adorn the entrance to the basilica.

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Inside the basilica there is a sort of museum where you can view the relics of the saints. In this picture on the left is a vial of blood from one of the saints. It's said the blood will
Inside the basilica there is a sort of museum where you can view the relics of the saints. In this picture on the left is a vial of blood from one of the saints.
The bell tower of St Mark. You can go up for a view of Venice.
The bell tower of St Mark. You can go up for a view of Venice.

Of course, what is Venice without it’s famous canals and gondolas.

One of the larger canals in Venice.
View of the Grand Canal from Rialto Bridge.
Another canal.
The other side of the Grand Canal..
Buildings on another island, but I didn't have the time to visit them.
Interesting buildings on another island, but I didn’t have the time to visit them.
Classical Venice.
Classical Venice.
The famous Rialto Bridge.
The famous Rialto Bridge and the Rialto market beside it.
Another classical Venice canal view.
Another classical Venice canal view.
Gondolas floating with the early morning mist.
Gondolas floating in the early morning mist.
More gondolas.
More gondolas.
The Bridge of Sighs. This bridge connects to the prison on the right side.
The Bridge of Sighs. This bridge connects the Doge Palace to the prison on the right side.

Venice is a pretty small place, and you can walk from one end to the other within an hour. So even though you may be lost, you will end up where you want to go sooner or later. For those who want to take photos without the tourist hordes getting in your way, the best is to get to St Mark’s Square early in the morning before most of the tourists arrive. Filling your tummy is easy as there are numerous restaurants (Italian food of course) to choose from but most of them are pricey. The specialty food in Venice is squid ink, and this is used in pasta and risotto.

I only spent a night in Venice and had a short time to see the place, which I felt was not enough. So I do plan to visit Venice again when the opportunity arises. It would be nice to see if anything has changed since 1997. I guess the city has probably sunk a couple of more inches…

3 thoughts on “Venice

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