Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Venice, Italy

Buongiorno, ETD Readers!

Let me take you on a Gondola ride…

We arrived in Venice on a sunny day and walked through the cobbled streets to our hostel. Our first impressions of the hostel weren’t great. We were greeted by a typical Englishman who had a hairstyle like he’d walked out of a Japanese Anime movie, and put our bags in a small luggage room. We glanced at the rooms which were bare and only had 3-4 single beds in them. No bunks, no tables, no lockers or anything. The hostel provided dinner as part of the price, so that is why we chose it. But other than that, it didn’t offer much else, except for a decent location. We borrowed their hostel map of Venice which looked like it had had better days, and headed out to explore the main streets, canals and the main square.

We ventured out of our hostel, and first stop was off to find food! The previous night we’d Google searched some cheap places in Venice to eat, and decided on Arte della Pizza, a hole-in-the-wall take away restaurant, down a small side street, Calle dell’Aseo 1896. They sold enormous pizzas for only 6 euros and slices for 1.50 euros. The pizzas were pretty good, both in taste and value, as most of the other food in Venice was quite expensive.


We sat down in a small square close to our hostel and ate our pizza. Then we set off to explore the rest of Venice. The main sight in Venice is Piazza San Marco, so we chose a route from our hostel to there, via Rialto Bridge. While we were walking through the streets we saw many people offering Gondola rides. The price tag for one of these is 40 euros per person for a 1 hour ride down the Grand Canal. No thanks! That was way over our budget! We did notice that people were crossing the canal to the other side on a smaller boat, standing up. So we did that instead. For 50 cents each, we hopped onto a small boat, some people sat, some people stood. Then in less than 1 minute, we were on the other side of the Grand Canal. These are not for tourists, but mainly for locals to get from one place to another a bit quicker. That was our 'affordable' version of a gondola ride!

budget gondola ride

After getting off the boat, we plotted out new route to the Rialto Bridge. The bridge is the most famous one that crosses the Grand Canal

Rialto Bridge

There ware many shops and restaurants lining the canal on either side, and loads of tourists. We finally made it to the Piazza San Marco through the tiny side streets, and enjoyed a break near the water’s edge.

Piazza San Marco
Venice is renowned for being a romantic city, but I did not get that feeling when I was there. Maybe because it was not an entirely beautiful sunny, clear skies type of day, or maybe because we didn’t pay for a personal gondola ride down the canal. But to be honest, I was a little disappointed by Venice. The food was overpriced, and after seeing one canal and bridge, they all start looking the same.

We ended up walking along the water a bit further, and then decided to head back to our hostel. We were moved to their other building, about 10 minutes walk, as they were over booked. The internet there was not very good, so went back to the main hostel and used their internet and waited for dinner time.

we got told off for taking this photo without paying....
For dinner the hostel made us creamy pasta with zucchini and pancetta. It was average tasting. Gaffa was able to have seconds and thirds, since there were only about 6 of the hostel guests eating. They also had sangria for us to drink, which tasted like it was a day old...

Gaffa enjoying thirds
I was glad we only stayed in Venice for one night, as both Gaffa and I though there was not much to do and see in Venice. Other people in the hostel that we were chatting to thought differently. They had been in Venice for a few days and were staying until the end of the week. 

If I was to visit Venice again, I would come back with more money and during summer! It's a very touristy place but worth a visit for a day or two to see what all the fuss is about.

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