The morning when we were scheduled to depart Florence for Venice started out in a torrential downpour. On one hand, I took it as a sign that Florence loved us too much that it just had to turn on the waterworks seeing us off. LOL. On the other, I was quite worried because hauling 4 giant-ass suitcases plus 2 heavy-ass backpacks on our shoulders from the hotel to Santa Maria Novella station in the rain wasn’t the exact kind of getting wet I was looking for. (LOL. Please don’t judge me. I learned the packing lessons the hard way.)
Fortunately, the rain stopped 45 minutes before we had to leave our hotel and then the sun came out, which gave ample time for most puddles on the streets to dry up and us to arrive at the train station safe and sound. Throughout the trip, I was so consumed with the thought that lugging around our suitcases across so many airports and train stations was so conducive to the unwelcoming appearances of bedbugs, which you would know if you have been to New York before during the summer petrify every single human being. It was beyond scary.
The train from Florence to Venice was prompt and uneventful. As I was dragging my suitcases out of the station’s main entrance and about to climb down the stairs, the top handle of one broke. Before I had time to register in my mind what was actually happening, 46 pounds worth of clothes nicely packed in a big black suitcase rolled uncontrollably down the stairs and then on the street. (I know you’re feeling bad for judging me :P) As you can imagine, the rest of the walk to the hotel and the act of carrying them upstairs on foot were extremely painful.
The hotel we stayed at was Hotel Adua, which I will have to say upfront was hands-down the worst hotel during our entire trip. The room itself was enclosed and suffocating. The bathroom wasn’t clean. And the surrounding area was crowded and noisy and touristy and not to my liking even one bit. I was conscious of it being a budget-friendly hotel and left all my expectations in my fatherland, but it didn’t even come close to the two budget-friendly places we were at in Rome and Florence despite charging almost similar prices.
Venice is notorious for being prohibitively expensive, but so are Rome and Florence, I believe. Thus, though I didn’t have any negative personal experience with the hotel, I wouldn’t stay there again. Luckily, we only had 48 hours in Venice and the only time we were physically in the room was from midnight to early morning the next day. (But it’s worth mentioning that whenever I was in the room, I felt very uneasy.)
Now, let’s talk about Venice. Oh Venice! Is there anything that hasn’t been said about you? You’re the legend, the one and only, the ultimate dream of every couple and the prominent bullet point on the bucket list of every traveler. Indeed, you were mine too. As a matter of fact, you were the most asked question when I returned because apparently most third-world denizens only associate Italy with Venice. However, I have to admit that I couldn’t get you during the first two hours inside of you. (my dearest readers, I know where your mind is going. Let it go, now :P) Blame it on me being overly cranky after above-mentioned incidents or you being crammed with tourists 24/7, but the sad truth is I was majorly let down in the beginning.
But then, I soon figured out what was going wrong. As with every other city, I prepared an incredibly exhaustive (and exhausting) itinerary of what to do and what to see and what to eat in Venice. What I omitted when I put it together was the simple but most important fact that there were only 48 hours in Venice, meaning we would barely scratch the surface of what it had to offer. Taking into account all the nuisances like open hours, tickets, lines and all that jazz, I questioned in my mind how in the world it would be possible to unearth just a fraction of what Venice is about. So, I did what most rational tourists wouldn’t do, which were to throw away the itinerary and just walk and walk and walk until our legs broke down on us.
If you asked me whether I saw the spectacular interior of St Mark’s Basilica, the answer would be a big NO because I didn’t set foot inside the church. If you asked me where Ponte dell’Accademia is, I wouldn’t be able to answer with certainty. If you asked me whether I visited any museum in Venice, the answer would simply be NO. The list goes on and on.
What we managed during the short 48 hours were walking every sisteria (suburb) of Venice and a half-day trip to Murano and Burano (but that is another post itself) and a series of photos that attempt to capture the lines, patterns, shapes and textures of Venice. I hope you enjoy Venice’s quieter side as much as I do. Because that was how I started falling in love with Venice…
To be continued…