Saturday, 24 January 2015

It's A-Boot Time, Part Three: Venice

Venice. The third and final stop of my Italian adventure. This post is subtitled "That Time I Walked an Entire Island" - because one day, I actually walked the entire accident.

When I left you last, I had parted ways from Fabio, and was headed for the train station that would take me to Venice. On this trip there were a few stops, one being Bologna. After having a my few giggles over bologna and thinking about the many attempts my mother made over the years trying to get us kids to eat it for what she described as "singe mother suppers" I took notice of something along the tracks. It appeared as though there was a sizeable community garden, with various plots tagged throughout. I was surprised to see this so close to the railroad, but it gave me a comforted smile nonetheless.

When I arrived in Venice, I was happily greeted by water waving gently on either side of the tracks as we waited to stop at the station. Water. If there is one thing I truly miss about home, it's the constant access to water of all sorts - oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams. But... this would do!

I met up with a couple of girls who were also on the same vacation package as I was, and we made our way to the hotel. It was fairly easy to find after a local kindly gave us directions. Entering the main doors of the hotel I was suffocated by pink decor all over the place! The guy working the desk was yelling on the phone, and the three of us looked at each other thinking what have we gotten ourselves into? I checked in, grabbed my key, and made my way to my room. Now, this vacation is the first I've ever been on that a "single room" means you get a "single room" - as in a single bed in a tiny room. This didn't bother me, a bed is a bed. What did bother me was the old-esque style of the decorations. It reminded me of something that would make up the stuff of nightmares...or mine at least. For the first few hours I spent in it, I had the nagging fear that a clown would pop out at any moment. This, thankfully, did not happen! On the upside, I was rewarded with a balcony off of my room - perfect for reading, relaxing, and taking in the sights and smells of Venice!

After "unpacking" I met up with Olta and Emma (the two girls I walked to the hotel with) and we left in search of food! Well, food and Piazza San Marco! We eventually found both...having given up on finding the latter, we settled for a pizza joint, only to find that San Marco was actually just around the corner! This was probably a wise decision as there wasn't much to choose from once you are in the Piazza.

Just outside of the hotel
Random shots of random canals!

Perhaps one of best things about this day was that there was a fair bit of fog throughout the city, which not unlike the second morning in Florence, gave a certain mystical edge to the city...and pictures! The peaks in the roof tops of San Marco had an added beauty because of the fog that just wasn't there when I returned in the days to come and the fog had lifted. To add to this 'mystical edge' as the day progressed, the fog began to lift slightly and buildings that hadn't appeared earlier began to emerge! It was really neat!

The Basilica
A different view of the Basilica
The bell tower
The AMAZING Basilica!
The Piazza!

And then the fog begins to lift...

The three of us spent the afternoon walking around taking it all in, and looking at the various shops. My goal for Venice was to slow down my pace and just enjoy getting lost within the many streets of the city. Day one certainly allowed for this. I went to bed with a content (but still kind of nervous due to the room) smile on my face, imagining what the next day would bring.

Day two started later then the previous few. I woke up and opened the doors to the balcony. It was quite cool, but I enjoyed breathing in the fresh air and watching boats and trains come and go. I could get used to waking up like this!

My little balcony!
And the view!
If you look closely there's a train coming in, and another heading out!
After breakfast I grabbed my camera and a map and took to the streets. I got lost many times, which was wonderful! Often I would stumble upon some magnificent building or view and find out only after consulting the map that it had some significance! Before I knew it, I had pretty much walked most of the island - I couldn't believe it! Being so absorbed into just being in the moment and going wherever the streets led me turned out to be one fantastic way to explore this unique area of the world! I saw more without even trying than I probably would have, had I planned my every move! However, one drawback (and it's a minor one) is that I don't know what many of the places I took pictures actually are. For the most part I just snapped pictures of views I found interesting, breathtaking, or just fun! When I returned back to my room at the end of my day, I took dinner suggestions from an employee at the hotel, had a wonderful dinner, and spent a little time on the balcony before heading to bed. The perfect end to a long but incredible day!

San Simeone Piccolo 
Random shots of the canals

Ponte Rialto! Spectacular views!


Oh look! More views of the canals!

My favourite accidental find - Santa Maria della Salute!
So amazing and beautiful!
On the left is Pointe della Dogana, not sure what is on the right.
A different view of both Santa Maria and Pointe della Dogana!
This is that same spot I'm unsure's across from San Marco.
Some gondolas, with Pointe della Dogana and Santa Maria in the distance.

My final day in Venice was equally as nice as the first two. I wandered a little in the morning before catching my ride to the airport. I had lunch at some little spot, where I consumed the most amazing pumpkin ravioli. Seriously, it may have been the best thing I have ever eaten!

An alternative view from just outside the hotel.
Another random canal.
This I didn't notice on either of the other days, even though I crossed this bridge both days.
On either side, there were many locks, each with a name, note, or symbol on them.
I'm not sure what the significance is, but I thought it was really interesting!
A shot of one of the fruit stands! 
One final shot before saying goodbye! 
When the time came to go to the airport, I was ready to head home. I boarded the public transit boat and we cruised to the airport dock. This 30-ish minute trek brought back memories of cruising the Bay with my cousin Barry in the summers when he visits Nova Scotia. It felt slightly wrong to be doing so without him, but he was in my thoughts the entire duration (can't wait for our next boating adventure, Barry!). I also enjoyed that there is a possibility of taking a boat to the airport. If only this could be a thing for getting to the one in Halifax!

Boats (where I can be within sight of land), train rides, and of course my absolute (and not so environmentally friendly) favourite mode of transport - flying! What more could I ask for from this trip?! All in all, I am really happy with all I was able to do and see. It was certainly an incredible adventure and a good starting point for European explorations!

-the Orange Canadian

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