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Venice: Blowing our travel budget

Posted by Squiffy on October 16th, 2007

Wow. What a lovely place Venice is and what an amazing day we had.

As Venice is a car free place we found a small campsite about 12km outside the city which, very conveniently, had a bus stop right outside to take us onto the island. We awoke early and set off eagerly to explore the sights. Dave had been before but I hadn’t and it’s somewhere I’ve ‘always’ wanted to go.

After a false start with the buses (we took the wrong one which took us way off our route), we arrived at the Vaporetti terminal. Here you can catch boats, the equivalent of London buses, which take you to many parts of the island. Although I’d seen many pictures of Venice and knew it was a maze of waterways, I was still surprised to see the canals really were their equivalent or our roads, even down to the parking and two way traffic signs. And I hadn’t realised it was quite so beautiful.

We boarded a boat, more crowded and pushy than any tube carriage, and headed for St Mark’s Square. On arrival, Dave purchased the official (and almost obligatory) pigeon food and fed the birds, which perched on his arms and head! We spent most of the day wandering the narrow backstreets, crossing little bridges and just soaking up the atmosphere and the October sunshine. One of my favourite spots was the Rialto bridge, where we sat and watched the gondalas go by whilst eating our packed lunch of cheese cobs. How British.

Although we had agreed we wouldn’t take a gondala ride due to the rip-off prices, we felt we were missing out somewhat on the whole Venice experience. After a lot of umming and ahhing about the cost we decided in a you-only-live-once moment that we should make the most of the unseasonal weather and experience these Venetian boats. Of course we did negotiate a lower price for a slighty shorter trip :o) We’re so glad we went as it was a unique and relaxing experience. We asked our guide to take us off the main Grand Canal to the smaller waterways and found a very different Venice, one which was a lot quieter and not full of tourists. In fact, we didn’t see a single person or boat. As you will see in our pictures, most people have the standard tour of the Grand Canal and it can get very congested with traffic jams to rival those on the M1.

After buying some Murano glass jewellery, our day ended with a drink in a piano bar followed by the boat and bus home. It as great.

TIP: If you fancy a coffee in St Mark’s Square I recommend the take away shop. As you will see, I’m sipping a lovely latte for 2.50 euros, slightly more realistic than the 8-10 euros per cup you will pay to sit at one of the restaurants!


Comment from Chloe
Time: October 17, 2007, 12:35 pm

Venice has a very special place in my heart. Those 2 pillars in Piazza san Marco near the Doges Palace near the water… that’s where Chris went down on bended knee and proposed to me (ahhhhh!). And he’d specially packed his DJ and my ballgown (folded by a friend of ours who was in on the secret!) in his rucksack. Then one of the nights unpacked it and told me this is what I had to wear as we were off somewhere special… He even managed to squirrel away a very nice bottle of fizzy in one of his pockets (later telling me it was really awkward trying to conceal it from me as we travelled from Cannareggio to Piazza san Marco!)
We did get quite a few weird looks from people as we were rather dressed up… especially on the vaporettos… it was fun though!

Been back 3 more times. And still want to go again… Your pictures bring back so many good memories (and when you know the backsteets and where to get local produce from… local fruit’n’veg, local cheese… ‘cheap’ lunches!… yummy… and then there’s the little-known small parks that you can have lunch & a doze in…).

Glad to see the weather showed Venice off for you too.

PS – on your way backup the other side of Italy (depending on your route…) try to visit Pompeii and Herculaneum. Spent about 6 hours wandering around Pompeii and still didn’t see everything… although did cover a lot and had very sore feet and muscles. It’s an amazing site.

Comment from daveb
Time: October 18, 2007, 10:45 am

Hi Chloe,

Thanks for sharing your story — I’m pleased to see that our pictures rejogged some good memories for you.

Also, yes, we are definitely going to Pompeii and surrounding sites — will take lots of photos there too!


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