Anyhow. I got back from Venice on Tuesday and I figured I should probably actually put some photos up on here and tell you how the trip went. Well it all began on Thursday when I got the train down to London, since we were flying to Marco Polo Airport from Gatwick. Travel to Gatwick on Friday was fine, flight was fine, arrival in Venice was fine...and you have to admit, a view like this takes some beating.
We caught the water bus, or vaporetto, for the airport to the Rialto Bridge, which is one of Venice's busiest areas, and most well-known tourist spots. It's also one of the few bridges over the Grand Canal, and has shops lining the bridge, selling all sorts of tourist treasures. You can see how packed it gets from the people lined up.
We eventually managed to find our hotel, which was just round the corner from the Rialto Bridge, but hidden down a rather narrow street. Nice place, really. Clean, comfortable, all the stuff you'd expect. I'm still a little flabbergasted that I managed to find a hotel in such an essentially central location at such a reasonable price - thank you, Expedia!!
|Santa Maria Della Salute on the left, then the Doge's Palace and Campanile on the right|
|The Rialto Bridge|
|Typical view while walking around Venice|
We spent Friday afternoon and evening just wandering around, acclimatising to Venice and enjoying being out of England. Still a little baffling that I could walk around in a vest and shorts at night, but then the temperature only went down to around 24°C.
|View down the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge|
Saturday was our "doing stuff" day. I'd wanted to see inside the Doge's Palace since I was in Venice in December 2006, and we'd bought advance tickets online before we went from VivaTicket which meant we could jump the queue (hurray!) The Doge's Palace, or Palazzo Ducal, is a fantastic confection of Byzantine architecture, from a spectacular courtyard to the sumptuous rooms inside. The Palace is linked with a nearby prison block by the famous Bridge of Sighs.
After that, we explored St Mark's Square, or the Piazza San Marco, which is sort of Venice's equivalent of Piccadilly Circus or Trafalgar Square. It's home to the Campanile bell tower, the Basilica di San Marco, the Doge's Palace, and the Museo Correr. The last one is pretty much three museums in one, and entry is covered by the same ticket we used for the Doge's Palace. They have mummies!!
The rest of Saturday was spent wandering, and we popped into the Hard Rock Cafè (just behind the Piazza San Marco) for dinner. Venice is definitely a city which caters to walkers, since the gondolas and water taxis are a bit pricey. But if you're prepared for many steps up and down the bridges over the canals, and you don't mind exploring twisty, narrow streets, then you'll be fine.
On Sunday, we decided to go looking for the church featured as a library in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Paul tracked it down online, and we went looking for the Church of San Barnaba in the Dorsoduro district. The exteriors were filmed in Venice, while the interiors were a studio set at Universal. After walking past it twice and even eating lunch outside it, we finally realised we'd found the place! Good job we didn't go looking for the Grail too.
Dorsoduro was probably my favourite of the districts, as it's by far the prettiest and quietest of the five. I could imagine spending many lazy Sundays here, even if it is fairly easy to get lost. It's also where I found my Venetian mask souvenir, but more on that later.
We ended up spending a fair bit of time just exploring Venice, and the Piazza San Marco at night is well worth a look, if you can stand all the tourists and street sellers.
Monday ended up being a chance to take one last look around, and we set off to make sure we had plenty of time to catch the vaporetto back to the airport in time for check in. I certainly enjoyed Venice, and I was glad I'd gone back for a second visit. It was nice to explore its labyrinthine streets, and I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as expensive as I'd been expecting. Plus, in terms of souvenirs, Venice can't be beaten with its fabulous array of masks...
|The Doge's Palace courtyard|
|Piazza San Marco|
|Church of San Barnaba in the Campo San Barnaba|
|Typical Dorsoduro view|
|Piazza San Marco at night|
|More traditional masks...|
And of course I had to get my own, didn't I?