Our last stop in Italy was none other than Venice. Venice is really a lagoon of 118 islands, but you’d never realise that unless you checked it out on Google maps (which happened to be what I did). Kudos to the city government for a magnificent job linking up the various islands with bridges, such that to the uninitiated (like me), Venice is just one island.
The view of the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge, the oldest in Venice.
Stay on the mainland to save on accommodation
In many cities, staying downtown is a costly affair. This is especially so for Venice, which is effectively one big city centre. Hence, to save on accommodation, we stayed just outside of Venice and commuted in by train. There are many lodgings that line the train route into Venice, so it was easy to get in and out of Venice.
Restaurants and street artists lining the banks of the Grand Canal.
More humans and even more pigeons
My first impression of Venice was the sheer number of people there, perhaps not helped by the distant-truth that Venice is sinking (so see it before it’s gone). Human beings were not the only living things we had to share the space with, there were pigeons everywhere as well. Lots of them.
The Byzantine-styled St. Mark’s Basilica, Venice’s main attraction…
And the Piazza San Marco fronting it, where pigeons probably outnumber humans.
While the popular spots were packed with tourists, we also found quieter corners where we could sit comfortably, have a meal and do some window shopping. The trick was to head inland.
The Santa Maria del Giglio in all its Venetian Baroque glory.
Mini Venetian masks and the famous Murano glass on sale, pretty little things that threatened the sanity of my wallet.
We did not get the chance to ride the gondola (actually I think we gave it a miss because it was quite pricey), but I imagined it would have been a relaxing ride with a different perspective on the city.
A common sight at every other corner: canal, bridge, gondola. Perfect!
Mind your coffee language
We nearly got into a little pickle while trying to order coffee at our lodging. You see, in most countries, ordering a latte is synonymous with ordering a caffè latte. But not in Italy. If you order a latte in Italy, be prepared to get a pot of milk (without the coffee). Because “caffè latte” literally translates into “coffee with milk” in Italian. Ha! Bet you didn’t see that coming. We’ve really got to pay more respect to other languages, especially when we’re in said language’s hometown.
Venice is small enough to complete in one day, but it was the only place where I felt a bit sad to leave at the end of the day and wished that I could come back again tomorrow. I would love to sit by the waterways and sip on a caffè latte while I indulge in a good book. Before it sinks into the ocean, that is. Just kidding.