From Paris, we took a morning Jetstar flight to Venice and arrived there by afternoon.
Day 1 – From the airport, we took a shuttle bus to the only bus stop they have there I think. From there, like everybody else, we dragged our luggage to the hotel we had booked – an unassuming little place called – Hotel Caprera.
The neighborhood had several stalls, stores, cafes and restaurants and even the railway station was a short walk away. We must have just spent about 15-20 mins in the room and then dashed out to have some authentic Italian pizza for lunch … we just couldn’t wait! We went to this nice restaurant and chose to sit outside by the water with the sunshine coming through. The cold and the sun, the food and the lovely surroundings made it all really special.
Later, we explored the market all around. The stores had some interesting souvenirs, food ingredients, sandwiches, yummy cream rolls to offer, Italian leather shoes and bags and all sorts of knick-knacks. Sometime after, we purchased 48-hour water taxi tickets and just got on one and enjoyed the lovely views along the way.
Then had dinner at this restaurant – I don’t really recall the name. By this time we had realized that food is quite pricey in Venice. In fact, most of them offer very mediocre taste and you can’t really tell which place is good if you haven’t done your research before. There goes our ‘budget travel’ down the drain.
Day 2 – we took our time getting ready and having breakfast and then set out for St. Mark’s Square by water taxi. We took one of the bigger boats, which runs at a leisurely pace and got to enjoy all the sights along the way. At St. Mark’s Square, we went to the group of Gondoliers for a Gondola ride. The usual rate is 80 Euros for a small round of the Grand Canal and 120 Euros for a longer round. In the peak tourist season, I’m assuming it will be hard to negotiate but because March is a low season we got a better deal for the ride. It was a 40 min ride and it was just great! If you are in Venice, you have to do this! I’ll be sharing my experience of the ride in a separate post later.
Later, we went for lunch to this restaurant called Al Chianti. This time we had done our research and the food was comparatively better here. I can even say, we enjoyed the meal here. We then roamed around, window shopped at the stores; several were selling venetian/murano glass products. I thought the stores selling leather bags were pretty good value – I picked up one handbag and one wallet. I’m not sure how genuine they are but they are quite well made and I was happy with the price.
We saw many popular landmarks in the area – the bridge of sighs, rialto bride, palazzo ducale, clock tower and more. Then took the water taxi back to our stop – tired with all the walking and standing around, we chose a cute little café and again chose to sit outdoors by the water over a cup of hot cappuccino (it was quite cold in Venice while we were there).It was just nice to sit there with your coffee. Later, as we were walking over one of the many bridges we couldn’t help stopping and admiring the scene as if it were a beautiful painting – the buildings, the water, the bridges and boats of all kinds, people going about their business and tourists strolling around, having a wonderful time. It was especially beautiful as the sun descended over the place making it all the more charming.
Finally, it was time to bid goodbye to Venezia as we boarded our late evening train to Rome.
Here’s a map to help you get an idea of the places we visited:
P.S: taking a moment here to reflect; for the people who lost their lives on Germanwings Flight 9525. May they rest in peace.