BUON NATALE FROM VENICE!
25.12.2012 - 25.12.2012 6 °C
Merry Christmas everyone! By the time you read this Christmas in Australia will be over so we hope that you all had a wonderful day filled with love, fun and fantastic food!
We were up around 8am this morning to head downstairs for breakfast. The breakfast included in our room is a fairly standard hotel breakfast featuring bacon, eggs, cereal, ham, cheese, bread rolls, pastries, yogurt, fruit and drinks. A yummy way to start out day.
We then went across the road to the train station to catch the train into Venice. 4.80 Euro for the two of us return got us to the train station in the heart of Venice with a 10 minute train ride each way. We tossed up weather we should buy a 35 Euro travel card which gets you unlimited trips on the train, vaporetti and bus for 72 hours but we decided that once we were in Venice we would just walk as this is part of the fun!
When you walk out of the train station in Vencie you walk out into a small piazza with the main canal straight in front of you. Quite a sight really! I was amazed at how many people were out and about. I have only ever spent Christmas Day as a special day with family and so I guess I didn't realise that it is just another day for so many people. We were not sure how much would be open on Christmas Day but we need not have worried.
We decided we would walk through the centre of Venice to make our way to the Rialto Bridge and St Mark's Square. My intial impressions of Venice were mixed. It was a bit smelly (kind of like Charleville bore water on a really hot summer day) and dirty, but really really cool. I loved that I had seen Venice so many times in pictures and now I was actually there. We wondered through the streets taking pictures and found the Rialto Bridge (a bit of a let down really - it was a bit under-whelming) and then found our way to St Mark's Square. Around these areas is where it started to hit me how touristy Venice is. Ed had warned me that it would be very touristy but I wasn't prepared for this. Rome was touristy in that there were a lot of tourists around but it still seemed like an authentic Italian city where as Venice is all about tourism. Restaurants have their menu's in 6 different languages and there are a million little shops and market stalls all with the aim of making money out of the tourists. When Ed and I were talking about it I compared it to the Gold Coast. It kind of had that 'tacky' tourist feel about it.
After wondering around the square and looking in the VERY expensive cafes (one of them was charging 9 Euro for a coffee!) we headed out to the lagoon side and started to make our way back towards the train station. We decided to head off the tourist strip and found ourselves walking through the back streets of Venice. This was the highlight of the day for both of us. It is amazing to see how life happens here and how people get around the tiny little streets and canals. We loved seeing the Gondola's (no ride in one for us......very expensive) and we even saw two water Ambulance boats screaming through the canals.
After getting a little lost (some streets turn out to be a dead end at the water) we eventually made it back onto the tourist strip again. Once again we were hit with a million tourist shops and restaurants and were once again a little disappointed. We jumped back on the train and headed back to our hotel for a lazy afternoon (Ed is STILL not feeling well) followed by a yummy Christmas dinner at the restaurant attached to the hotel. Beautiful fresh pasta for both of us and we called it a day.
Pictures to come when Ed uploads them from his camera.