Monday, 11 November 2013

Venezia

17th January 2013
Venice was the second most anticipated city. It was a 4.5 hour train ride from Rome. For some reason, the overhead baggage storage was incredibly high and I couldn't actually reach it. So there I was, with my 10kg hiking backpack and on my tippy toes trying to shove my backpack into the compartment. No one helped. No one at all and it was just strange because on every flight that I have been on, someone has always helped me. Just bizarre; everyone was just watching me struggle. Ah well, finally I suceeded and settled into my window train seat.


It was quite hard to look for an adequate hostel and one that didn't cost a fortune. Out of all the cities that I stayed in, Venice was the most expensive which was surprising since it was low season (don't want to imagine how expensive it would cost during the summer). I stayed at Ca' Contarini which in hindsight was sort of a bad idea. It was on the other side of all the islands and almost the furthest from the train station. Getting from the train station to the hostel was a nightmare. Firstly, I caught the wrong water bus (well it was right, but apparently there are two water buses with the same number but they have different destinations) and it dropped me off in the wrong location. I got off and tried to ask for help, no one could help me. What? I went into so many stores asking for directions and no one seemed to have any idea of the outlay of the entire city which was incredibly frustrating. Finally, I stumbled upon a bunch of tourists and asked to look at their tourist map and had to awkwardly ask for my current location. Finally, I found out where I was and headed in the right direction. But that was only the beginning. The buildings in Venice aren't ordered by street names but only by numbers. Their numbering system would have been 'fine' if there was actually an order. It would start decreasing from 100 and once you turned a corner, it would start increasing from 300 with 200s probably 3 corners down. Finally I found the hostel and the person there was really nice. Although I think he was hitting on me. Hmm. I didn't have anyone in my room which was lovely as it was the first night that I had a room to myself. Although half way through the night someone* did turn up which wasn't a problem, except for the fact that I had scattered all my stuff onto the other bed. Including my bra. Whoops. But overall, I would not recommend that hostel. It was fine as I was only there for one night, but it just wasn't worth it and it was also potentially quite problematic (although not for me since there wasn't anyone there basically).

Back to Venice.

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When I was booking my inter-continental flights back in Sydney, my travel agent actually told me it was a good thing that I was travelling to Venice in winter since there wouldn't be a) flies and b) sewer type smells from the canals. The water was unnaturally blue, more of a turquoise than a blue.

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San Marco

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No photography allowed but I managed to sneakily take some photos as it was just incredible.

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Not entirely sure why everyone was so interested in having the pigeons on them. Pigeons just freak me out.

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I am actually surprised that I didn't get lost. The paths in Venice basically looked like the picture above. From a distance, every path appeared to be a dead end but it actually wasnt since every path had a sharp 90 degree turn.

I eventually stumbled upon a church and tried to warm my freezing hands using the candles.

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It got a little creepy walking around Venice at night. Honestly, it felt as though Jack the Ripper would have just popped out from around the corner.

 

Actually, I think I was alone in most areas of the city.

 

* The person who turned up late at night was an Australian guy from Perth! He was super lovely and it was really nice having a decent conversation with someone. He went on exchange to South Africa and was also travelling around Europe, although he was nearing the end. It was a scary moment when he hauled his 15kg! backpack onto his shoulders and the entire room shook. He learnt something from me (to use a cable management pouch) as I did from him (to buy those super large carabinas to ease the load from my front backpack).

I left on the 18th January and I thought I could just casually stroll to the train station. Oh boy no. I got a little lost and asked for help. Apparently I butcher "Santa Lucia" (name of the station) although every time the Italian person said it, I honestly could not hear the difference in pronunciation. It got to the point where I actually started to see a road. Yes, a road. Venice is a pedestrian only city and somehow I managed to find the only area of Venice with cars (it was near the ports). I actually got really stressed since I thought I would miss the bus, miss my flight to Prague and everything would just start to fall apart. Finally, I met this gentlemen who took me most of the way to the train station and I thanked him profusely. I didn't miss the bus and made it onto my flight to Prague.

My Overall Thoughts
Venice was nice and it was as I expected. I really did like travelling in the low season since it felt as though I had the entire place to myself. Venice was very cool, and that is honestly all that I think when Venice is mentioned.

Would I re-visit?
For Carnivale, yes. Otherwise, I am not entirely sure. 

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