Venice - Cruising Grand Canal (23 December 2008)

11:48 PM

Today we planned to explore Venice from another angle, by water. We planned to cruise Grand Canal. We had our breakfast in Tre Archi Hotel. I must say, although the room for our first night was terrible, considering the price we paid, the breakfast was good.

The breakfast served, as usual, croissant and coffee. But the croissant was the best among the three hotels (Rome, Florence and Venice). It was very crispy and fresh. And it was hot when served. The coffee was simple and nice.

We left hotel after breakfast. We were strolling and enjoying the sea breeze. There were a couple of sea gulls flying around. There was also fish monger selling fresh sea food, scallops, spider crabs etc. We were walking towards the bus station, Piazzale Roma. We wanted to buy ticket to Marco Polo airport for the next morning.

Along the way from Cannaregio to Piazzale Roma, we were enjoying the scene. Every where in Venice is canal. In the morning, the route was still less crowded except those Venetian going to work.

To explore Venice, except on foot, there water bus or vaporetto. It is cheapest way to travel around Venice apart from walking. It costs EUR6 per trip irregardless of the distance. (Per trip EUR6 is not cheap although it is the cheapest mode of travel). There are different service number of vaporetto. Do make sure you check it out before boarding. Before you board vaporetto, you must validate your ticket. You might be fined if you forgot to validate your ticket or you re-use your old ticket for second trip.

We took service number 1 cause we wanted to enjoy our journey 'cruising' along the Grand Canal. Service Number 1 is going towards Lido, but will stop at all stops along Grand Canal. We were going to St Marco. The whole journey will took about 45 minutes.

The houses/palazzo along the canal are like flooded with water. It was amazing! You will be wondering how the building still able to stand strong with so much water. And some of the buildings have been around for many years.

vaporetto cruised pass Rialto Bridge. Admiring Rialto Bridge from down under was intereting. Before Rialto Bridge, Rialto Market was on the eastern bank.

After Rialto Bridge, there were many tourist attractions.

Along the canal, there were many gondola parked on each side of the canal bank. Gondola is a traditional Venetian sculling boat. Gondola was for centuries the main transportation within Venice. Black and shining gondola lining along the bank, made the canal more attractive. There were once a while, gondolianer maneuvered gondola.

If you were planning for a romance trip in Venice and have the spare cash, it is recommended to take a gondola ride. The gondola will bring you through the canals in Venice while you sit back and relax. Each ride might cost EUR80, which last for about two hours. If the business is bad, the ride might be cheaper. Do bargain with the gondolianer for the best price.

Our ride brought us through a few attractions like Palazzo Grassi, Ca'Rezzonico, Accademy, Accademy Bridge etc. We alighted at St Mark.

St Mark is one of the must-visit place in Venice.

There are St Mark Square, Doge's Palace, Campanile, Correr Museum and St Mark Basilica.

There were many pigeons in St Mark Square. In fact, there were vendor selling bird seeds to curious tourists. If you feed the birds, the birds will flock to you. We stand near to those tourists who bought seeds to feed. Stand still. Eventually the birds flied and stand on our shoulders, hands, arms and even head. It was fun!!!

We didn't go inside St Mark Basilica as it was holding religious event, we were denied the entry. St Mark Basilica is the most famous city's church of Venice. It is best known example of Byzantine architecture.

There is a campanile, St Mark's Campanile. It is a bell tower, 98.6m tall. Most of the campanile in Italy copy the St Mark's Campanile. The campanile went through a few times of restoration. The most recent one was completed at 1912. The original campanile collapsed completely on 1902.

Adjacent to St Marck Basilica is Doge's Palace. It is a gothic palace in Venice.

A few steps away from St Mark Square, you will find Correr Museum. It is a civic museum. The building is very long and grand. There are many shops around also.

It was near Christmas then. Usually we will see christmas tree around. In Venice, there was a christmas tree made of glass, colourful glasses.

It was very special.

Walking along the lagoon, you will come to another tourist sights.

It is the Bridge of Sighs. We wasn't really known where to find it, but as we were looking for place for lunch, we happened to see it.

It was made of limestone, window with stone bar. It was usually the last view the convicts saw from the bridge before their imprisonment.

The special event of the day was, we saw a boat of santa claus coming in to St Mark Square. Yes, the modern Santa Claus in Venice took gondola and there were a few of them.
The boat was decorated with the pictures of reindeer.

They threw the gifts from the boat to the people in St Mark Square. One of the guy misstep while trying to catch the gift and slipped into the lagoon.
Luckily he managed to get up himself but his coat was drenched.
Worth to mention, for lunch, we ordered a seafood salad. It was full of fresh seafood and very tasty. Do remember to order fresh seafood when you in Venice.

Venice is a lagoon. There are a few islands surrounding the main island. Some of famous/popular are Lido, Murano, Burano etc. Lido is famous with the resorts. Murano is famous for its glass making industry.

We took vaporetti to Murano after lunch. It was about 45 minutes journey. When we reached there, we went to a glass making factory, to have a short tour on glass making.
After that we went to their glass retail shop. All the glass figurines were very nice.
It was very tempting to buy, but be mindful it is very expensive too. We shopped a few more glass shops before making our way back to Venice near sunset.

We spent the our evening at St Mark Square. Watching people walked pass St Mark Square was refreshing too.
Facing the sea, there were row of gondolas parked at the sea side after a day of fetching tourists around.

We wondering around St Mark Square to admire the night scene of St Mark Square.

There is one more thing I would like to recommend in Venice. Fish Soup!!

We were looking high and low for this dish. It was one of the Venetian dish. There were mussels, prawns inside the soup.
It looked spicy, but it wasn't spicy.
The one we had was a bit salty. I bet there will be other restaurant selling better fish soup.
It came to an end for our Venice trip and also our Italy trip.
We had been enjoying very much for the whole trip.
Tomorrow we will leave Venice. Christmas eve, we will be making our trip back to London for Christmas.

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