15 May 2006

Vacanze Italiano 2006 - part 1

"All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go..."

Eight days ago, I took an early morning Saturday flight from London Stansted airport to Venice Treviso airport to join my mates on a week long trip around a few Italian locations. Using budget airlines, the airports they fly to are not the main airports but rather smaller & at times, distant ones. Hence, upon arriving at Treviso, I had to take a 1 hour coach ride to Piazzale Roma bus station in Venice.

True to being myself, armed with just a simple computer printout map from the website of the residence, Residenza Ca' Dario where I am supposed to stay in Venice (which happens to also be our meeting point), I took a wrong turn at the final junction that was supposed to lead me to the place. By then, my mates were already out looking for me (they had not received my sms informing that I am on my way due to lack of network coverage) & thankfully they did as I managed to bump into them while retracing my steps.

After I freshened up, off we went around Venice. Walking around the streets & crossing the canals, it does present a fascinating experience. Firstly, I would notice the lack of cars, as there are simply no roads big enough for a car to fit through anyways. Instead, the vehicle of choice would be a boat. For the tourist mostly, there are numerous gondolas available for hire, be it to experience something from days gone by or for a romantic ride with your loved one(s). Sadly, we didnt go for a Gondola ride, but we did spend on a speedboat (more on that later).

Walking around, we first headed for the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge), which spans the Grand Canal in Venice. It is the oldest bridge across the canal and probably the most famous in the city (according to Wikipedia). Along the way, we briefly stop at various piazzas that we come across. The Ponte di Rialto is big enough that there are actually shops in the middle of it, mostly selling souvenirs.

Next up was the Basilica di San Marco, located at Piazza San Marco. We did not enter this huge chiesa (partly due to the large crowd lining up to enter it), but we did spend some time enjoying the architecture around this piazza. There are many pigeons too around the square, who enjoy being fed by the visitors. If you dont have anything to feed the pigeons, there are peddlers selling pigeon food. No worries of avian flu apparently. I also encountered two just married couples walking around in their wedding outfit while having their photos taken & being cheered upon by onlookers (seems to be an Italian fad/practice as we also encounter it again in another place later).

We then decided to visit the island of Murano, home of the famous Murano glassware. Instead of using the local public transport i.e. the Vaporetto (Water Taxi) service, we chartered a speedboat to travel in style there (nak merasa lah katakan). As it was a Saturday, the glass factory provided demonstration sessions on how the glasswares are made, along with well rehearsed English explanations by members of their staff. We then shopped around a bit for glass souvenirs. A note of advice, dont buy everything from the 1st outlet. Do look around a bit as the prices may get cheaper the further you walk from the Vaporetto stand, especially for the smaller items. We traveled back to the main island using the Vaporetto.

We ended our days visit after stopping by at the Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs), which connects the Allegheny County Courthouse proper to the jail building. In its heydays, it is said that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice out the window before being taken down to their cells.

To be continued

Till later, live long & prosper.

No comments:

Post a Comment