Wednesday, September 16, 2009

12-13 July 2009: Venice, Italy

Romanticism Dies Hard

A friend once told me that, when she got married, she would like to go honeymoon at Venice. Due to circumstances, she did not make it there with her husband. Due to circumstances as well, my husband and me had managed to arrive at this sinking city. The lavish palaces, the labyrinthine streets, the winding canals and the memory of the glorious past, any visit to Venice is a reminder of another.

Venice spans 118 bodies of land in a lagoon and is connected to the mainland by a thin causeway.
Venice is a veritable labyrinth. Ungluing the eyes from the map and going with the flow is surprisingly fun and make Venice spectacular.

The Canal Grande loops through Venice and the splendid facades of the palazzi that crowns its banks testify to the city's history of immense wealth.

I imagined Venice like Prague on an island. However, despite the crowds near Piazza San Marco, Venice is surprisingly pleasant and "real" to me.
While we weave our way through the city, from time to time, we saw signs of people living here: Socks, clothes, shoes ... hanging outside of the houses by the canals.
Well... but the 1.50 Euro per entry to the public toilet is definitely more 'real' than 'pleasant'.

Basilica Di San Marco, one of the main sights in Venice.
The nearer the shops or cafe to Piazza San Marco, the more inflated the price of the things.
eg. Standing/take away coffee is 1-3 Euro, but sitting in the restaurant, the price will become 4-8 Euro. Yes, a cup of coffee.

The gondola is at the rate of 20 minutes (or 40 minutes? don't remember) for two persons at 60-80 Euro. The price increases after sunset.
This is not a good price for us, not to mention after paying the most expensive accommodation for our Europe tour.
So we just sat by the canal, soaked our foot in the cooling water and watched the passing by gondola for hours.
This was effective to ease the sore foot and to cool down after walking around in the hot summer sun.
The legend said, a couple who kisses below the Bridge of Sighs would have a ever lasting love.
If the bridge was not under renovation, then i might have insist to take the gondola though! :P

The masks are the popular souvenirs and the prices are very similar for all stalls and shops.
Check out a few shops/stalls, sometimes some places do have some kind of better deals.

The Ponte Ricalto arches over the Canal Grande and symbolizes Venice's commercial past.

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