My Venice adventure began with an evening flight from Gatwick. The flight went without a hitch apart from spending the two hours next to a 30-something man who looked like he was dreading his return to Italy, spending the whole flight with his head in his hands and sighing at regular intervals.
We arrived around 9pm local time and hopped on a bus to take us from mainland Italy to the edge of the Venetian waters. The ticket machine was incredibly easy to use, not one of those touch screen ones where you have to put your fist through the screen in order to select every letter of your destination station which inevitably hasn’t appeared on the start up screen. The bus dropped us off at the main terminus Piazzale Roma, where buses meet water buses. We boarded a boat. Well tried to.
We had previously purchased 48 hour boat/bus passes which included the airport transfer. We used it to go into a boat shelter to wait for our selected boat. We soon realised we were waiting for the wrong one but having already scanned our tickets once they didn’t allow the barriers to open to let us out. After loosing our dignity crawling under the long barriers we found the right place to board. The boat was packed leaving my view for the 15 minutes as the back of a fellow British travelers’ head and hearing the sound of a loved-up couple seemingly unable to stop kissing for the duration of the journey.
Arriving claustrophobic and unusually seasick we found our hotel easier than my internal compass normally allows. Checking in to the hotel with the night manager was quick and friendly. But upon opening the door of our allocated room we realised we had been given a double bed opposed to a twin room which we had booked and double checked via email before arriving. We spoke to the previously welcoming night manager who told us sternly that the hotel was fully booked and nothing could be done. Not the end of the world and tired enough to sleep for a week we hit the hay.
The bed was incredibly comfortable and the daylight view of Venice from our 3rd floor room was breathtaking. Having first visited 10 years ago when I was 11 I soon remembered why I’ve been yearning to return.
The right-side view from the bedroom window
Weaving through the car-less streets and bridges that makes Venice so stunning and unique we reached the water bus stop to take us across the 300m stretch of water to the island of Murano. Murano is famous for its high quality island-made glass products. Guidebook-free and exploring the island by foot we stumbled upon a queue of excited tourists, spotting a sign reading ‘free’ without checking what exactly was free, we jumped onto the back of the queue. After witnessing two couples arguing, one women leaving her husband behind with all the kids we reached the front of the queue. Ushered to a viewing area it became clear we were about to see a glassblower show us how it’s done. Feeling like my eyebrows were slowly being singed by the heat of the furnaces, the ease with which the man moulded a wine glass and then a horse was mind-blowing (pardon the pun). The demonstration was 10 minutes long, more than enough time to witness the astounding skill needed to perfect the art.
The Free Demonstration
It was then time for lunch, pizza. After a surprising amount of menus omitting pizza we found a buzzing pizzeria with a garden. We had to stand in the busy foyer for 15 minutes with every waiter that walked passed avoiding eye contact before we had to ask to be seated at an empty table we could see. Granted it was a Saturday but the restaurant was either busier than they expected or just under-staffed. None of this mattered by the time my classic Margherita arrived as it was one of the best I’ve tasted and I’ve tasted a lot in my 21 years.
A Murano Bridge
After mastering the water bus boat system second time round we headed to the more tourist heavy area of San Marco, home of the famous St.Marks square. With fame comes tourists and very expensive cafes but that’s part of the charm. The excitement of seeing the architecture of the Basilica and Doge’s Palace has everyone glossing over the incredibly high chance of getting hit by a ‘selfie-stick’ or stung by the restaurant prices. There was also added excitement as last minute constructions were taking place getting ready for the Venice marathon the next day. After some obligatory people watching and scoffing my face with the most over-priced hot chocolate I will ever consume we headed out to do some photography as the sun set.
Before & After
Having already been to Venice I was more relaxed about what I saw and enjoyed strolling through the streets taking photographs rather than rushing between the must-see sights. Venice is a place I will never tire of visiting. There’s endless islands and museums to explore which I will be back for again. If you’re in Venice for a short time I would definitely recommend the 24/48 boat/bus passes as it allows you to see as much as you can fit in to your day without queuing for individual tickets and can be a real money saver.
On the train to Verona with the marathon in sight
Look out for my next post ’48 Hours in Verona’ along with both digital & film photographs from the trip. Thanks for reading.