A ride that was magical! Gondola in Venice … <3

Gondolas in Venice

Gondolas in Venice

120 euros for a ride! It seemed a bit steep when we went enquiring for a Gondola ride in Venice. In truth there were two rates – 80 euros for a short route of the Grand Canal and 120 for a long one. The longer one is completed in about 40 mins and we wanted to go for it as we didn’t know if we were ever coming back to Venice in our lives. Since, it was still winters and the peak tourist season had not started we got a deal for longer route for 80 euros. Sweet!

One Gondola allows maximum 6 people so the cost gets divided if you are in a group. Alternatively, you can tie up with fellow tourists and spread the expense.

Parked Gondolas, St. Mark's square, Venice

Parked Gondolas, St. Mark’s square, Venice

I didn’t realize how special a Gondola ride can be until I got into one and settled on the comfortable sofa seat. It might not seem so in the pictures but a gondola is quite spacious. It was a great day – cold and sunny. The gondolier hopped in with a flourish and started filling us with trivia while starting to row. As we moved away from the docking bay, he started to hum and whistle some lovely local songs with the water splashes from his oar adding to the harmony.

Bridge of Sighs, Grand Canal, Venice

Bridge of Sighs, Grand Canal, Venice

Once we entered the canal, it became quieter and the voices started to echo. There were all kinds of nooks and crannies, shadows and sunlight patterns to take in. We passed by houses of important people and floated by under the bridges. Once in a while we would turn a corner and see the buildings change. Our gondolier also informed that since it was the low season, the canal has less traffic making for a more enjoyable ride.

One of the many bridges at Grand Canal, Venice. See the patterns the sunrays makes on the bridge underside

One of the many bridges at Grand Canal, Venice. See the patterns the sunrays makes on the bridge underside

We took in all the sights, sounds and smells and it all made up for an extremely relaxing and magical experience. Yes magical and charming … like in the movies 😀

P.S: I don’t often use such terms to describe an experience so this means something

See some of our footage below 🙂

Euro Trip Itinerary #3 – 1.5 days in Charming Venezia

Gondola ride in Venice

Gondola ride in Venice

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.

One of the views from the water taxi in Venice

One of the views from the water taxi in Venice

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.

Bridge of sighs

Bridge of sighs

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.

Hot cappuccino by the bay

Hot cappuccino by the bay

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.

View from a bridge as the sun sets in Venice

View from a bridge as the sun sets in Venice

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.

The alps in view as we flew from Paris to Venice

The alps in view as we flew from Paris to Venice