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