Venice- Unique and Beautiful

The weather has begun to change in Ferrara. The morning of our trip to Venice was foggy and chilly. I opted for pants and a short sleeve, Alisa wore jean shorts and a paper thin shirt. On the bus ride to the train station we silently watched people in coats and scarves pedal by. This day also just happened to coincide with 60° weather and Trenitalia finally adjusting the A/C to reflect the recent searing temperatures in Italy. Yesterday it was 90°.

It was the longest, coldest train ride thus far. At one point I scared away a big German man who sat next to me who I confused for a heater by trying to get closer and closer. An hour and a half later we stepped off the train just as the sun began to break through. First things first, cannolis and coffee. Still in search of the perfect one. (€13)

Venice was unique and beautiful. Oh it's also recommended to sell a kidney beforehand so you can enjoy one of those €27 drinks. 

There was absolutely zero planning for this trip. Other than showing our train tickets and taking photos, my phone stayed in my pocket. There was no planned route, no preconceived notions and no expectations other than maybe don't fall in the canals. 

Surprisingly the streets of Venice were well marked. Signs were everywhere pointing the hoards towards St. Mark's Square. The sound of rolling suitcases soon gave way to seagulls and languages from all over the world. Getting lost in Venice was going to be harder than I thought. 

The city water ferry was €9.50 for 75 minutes or €20 per person for the day. Water taxis were also available, but one look at all the packed boats told us all we needed to know; this was going to be a walking day. Gondola rides were merely €80 for 20 minutes, but we passed as well. 

As we walked into the famous square I was struck with the feeling that the basilica was best seen from the outside. It was beautiful! The exterior replicas of the four horses taken from Constantinople, then Napoleon have been returned and are housed in the interior of the basilica for an extra €7. The lion, clock and the bell were all displayed in true Venetian fashion. We also skipped the tower for €10.

About 50 yards away a string band was playing Sinatra's "My Way" at a restaurant so we found a table and rested. From the time we sat down to the time our tuxedo wearing waiter brought our menus was just enough to rest our feet and laugh at the prices. It was a nice 20 minutes. 

We hopped in line to see inside the basilica for €3 each. It felt like a museum not a church. There was no place to pray, except a small area you can only access from the outside if the guard thinks you're really devout. Benches were replaced with individual chairs. I left feeling €3 was worth it, nothing more. 

We probably went inside at least a dozen churches. Why they need so many still boggles the mind, well at least mine. 

Now it was fun time! All those small walkways barely wide enough to be called an alley were about to be discovered. Most were just shortcuts where locals rushed by avoiding the main streets and all the mayhem they brought. However the interesting ones simply led to nothing more than a small square surrounded by homes and absolute silence. Small entrances to the canals were the front porches of the residents. Like I said, unique. What a different way of life. 

I chatted with a waiter about his prices and found them acceptable. We split an appetizer of beef carpaccio and had a couple of beers at this small place tucked into one of the alleys. (€35)

We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering aimlessly, crossing bridge after bridge, ducking selfie sticks and umbrellas. The small rain shower provided a reprieve from the mugginess of the crowded streets. Eventually we found our way back to the train station and made our way home. 

Venice was beautiful, unique and can be very affordable if you don't get caught up in all the hoopla. Starting in 2024, for 30 undisclosed days, there will be a €5 fee just to enter the city.


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