We disembarked the night train at Venezia Mestre station at the Italian mainland and took another train to cross the Venetian Lagoon to central Venice.
The Grand Canal is the most important canal in Venice that forms a major water-traffic corridor to the city. A canoeing competition was going on, so it was not possible for us to take a boat ride to Piazza San Marco or St Mark’s Square in English. We had to walked through the mysterious alleyways to find our way there, giving us the opportunity to explore every nook and canny.
The alleys are brimming with small artisan shops for every visitor to shop for the exquisite souvenirs like the Venetian masks. We entered one such shop and had some fun trying out the Venetian masks.
Our friend bought a bad-guy big Venetian mask for €30.
The name for the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) was inspired by the sighs of condemned prisoners as they were led through it to the executioner.
The Venetian pigeons must be the luckiest pigeons in the world. They rule the sky of the lagoon city and with just a handful of corn, they swoop. Vendors sell corn to tourists so that the tourists can use the corn to attract the pigeons to perch on their hands, and quickly snap a marvelous photo of themselves with the pigeons.
One pigeon just swooped across my head like a paper plane. The Venetian pigeons didn’t like our bread and cakes anyway…zzz.
A vendor who lived off the corn sales said, “To see the piazza without pigeons is like seeing a tree without its leaves.”
St Mark’s Basilica is the most famous cathedral of Venice. Suddenly, we seemed to walk into the postcard of Venice.
We queued up in a very long line to go up to St Mark’s Basilica Museum. The golden interior of the Basilica is fascinating and we snapped a few photos with the Greek Horses. The cathedral is one of the best that we have seen so far.
Venice was so crowded with tourists. We had never been to such a touristy place before since we were in Europe. The weather was so much warmer and humid than the rest of Europe that we had visited before. It was as warm as Singapore. We bought two big scoops of Gelatos at only €1.50. Mine was a Tiramisu gelato with a slice of real Tiramisu cake in it. I have not tasted any better gelato in Singapore. We found a shady corner along the alleyway to rest and savour our gelato. We were simply exhausted after so much walking in Venice and were not so motivated to explore Venice anymore. We didn’t sleep well in the night train too.
We rested until it was time for us to board the water bus back to the train station. The water bus sailed along the Grand Canal and was packed with exciting tourists taking photos of the picturesque sceneries. Don’t ask me why, I fall asleep easily on cruises; I dozed off several times on the water bus despite that I was surrounded with the beautiful Venetian setting!
The water bus took us back to the train station where we took a train to Florence.
Since the train was rather empty at first, two of us occupied one cabin. Then, our friends’ cabin were occupied by two other passengers; our friends joined our cabin instead, as not comfortable to share a cabin with strangers and had to be extra mindful with own belongings. Four of us sitting in the cabin were not so comfortable to lie down anymore, but at least we had a better peace of mind. We were just being paranoid you could say.
Next: Camping in Florence!