Four hours by train to a different world, a passing, watery world. We passed through Florence, Bologna, Padua and then arrived in Venice. A beautifully dressed woman got on at Florence and was upset as the guy opposite us was in her seat. Well, except they soon realised this was not her train to Milan. So, an hour in the wrong direction and then back, eventually.
The station is the first spot when the distinctive nature of the city of Venice becomes evident. Water is everywhere. Station, platform, landing stage for ferries and the Grand Canal and then the houses across the way. We caught a ferry.
Does NZ have an embassy in Venice or, just a loyal subject?
Through the Grand Canal by ferry to the San Marco Plaza. Past many smaller offshoot canals, past many other ferries and water taxis, along a wide canal with houses on each side lapped by water. Water everywhere and we were always in the middle of a city.
Some were especially interesting.
Just as well given the height of the water level in some, well above the doorstop. And others are a little luckier, so far. The overall water level was obviously not especially high as the green weed was always submerged.
We arrived in drizzle, soft drizzle luckily. Found our hotel, around the back of the San Marco Plaza, carefully chosen by Jp for its centrality.
Everyone had umbrellas or were about to be offered a chance to buy one!
The San Marco Hotel is complex to navigate as it has 3 sections. To get to our room from the desk: through an interior room, go outside, cross a covered passage and catch the lift to the fourth floor.
The room was average, worth about half what it would cost in any city but Venice. Yes! Costs: €11 for a cafe latte at a table looking out onto the Plaza, €3 to have the same coffee in standing at the bar in the same restaurant. Dinner: 2 (very nice) spaghettis and one small mineral water, €37. Yes, it’s expensive in the main tourist areas. Much cheaper a few streets away. Much.
Everywhere, gondoliers and gondolas. Not so busy in the rain and now, in April.
And the bridges: small, large, made of all sorts of materials. Grand and not so grand. Over wider and narrower canals.
Back to where we started our trek around Venice, San Marco Plaza. It is pretty special. So was our crowd of fellow tourists! Thousands of us forking out €3 here and €5 for that and another €4 to climb this. Yes. Money trickles out in a steady stream. Runs, perhaps, rather than trickles. Some bits are free. Like looking at the tower with the clock that has Roman numerals on the left and our current system on the right!
And the tower in the plaza offers a great landmark, as well as being quite imposing.
So, was Venice in 24 hours worth it? Yes. When will I return? I don’t plan on going back. It was JP’s second and probably last time.
Honestly, the number of fellow tourists is overwhelming. I have sympathies with the many Venetians who apparently felt equally overwhelmed by tourism and gradually moved away. Will Venice eventually just be a collection of waterways with a few flooding houses still poking up?