Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Venice..

Venice is a Gondolier's Song Light, Lilting, Deep, Slow, Intense and Incredibly Romantic..
Its an irony that for a city built entirely on water, the only was to discover it is on foot.
Our three days in Venice were magical. We spend most of the first day exploring Venice through the magical alleyways.
We reached Venice late in the evening. Since we travelled Ryan Air, we had to take a bus from Travisco into the city. Venice is a Group of Islands. Our hotel ' Hotel Pelligrino & Commercino' was in the Island of San Zacharia. So once inside Venice we got into a water bus and headed for our Hotel. It had been raining all evening and the showers continued.
It was already dark and we sat out a bit to catch some of the sights and sounds. It got too chilly to stay on and we quickly huddled inside. We got off St Zacharia and set about finding our hotel . We had called asking for directions a few days before we got here and the directions really were spot on. We were thrilled that it was so close to St Marks Square one of the chief attractions of Venice. We were shown to our rooms. The rooms were nice and clean with an attached bath. We decided we would venture out a bit and get some dinner. The Hotel Staff were friendly and gave us suggestions on local places where we could find good Venetian food. The drizzle continued. We were soon sitting nice and warm, enjoying our welcome drink having placed our orders. It was a lovely night.

DAY 1
The next day we enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast at our hotel before we set off. About half an hour into our journey our Camera died on us and we returned back to the hotel. Luckily we hadn't gone very far and the option of getting back to recharge the almost dead batteries was feasible. We set off once again determined to put behind us the setback of the morning. All hotels provide maps of Venice. There maps are intricate in detail and tell you all about the alleyways of Venice. So if map reading is not your thing then its good to remember that theres no lovelier place than Venice to be lost. Luckily for me S is super at map Reading. So I let him do the navigating and just tagged along.

Map reading our way into the heart of Venice..
Rains had been forecast and the hotel had a ready stock of umbrellas for anyone who wished to use one. So umbrella in hand and a really heavy camera in the other we set of into the maze of alleyways stopping first at St Marks Square. The Piazza San Marco , is one of the most famous Urban spaces in the world. Its where Venetians from time immemorial have gathered and socialised. Its the only Urban Space called 'Piazza' in Venice. All the others regardless of how big or how small are all called Campi.It opens up into the Grand Canal on one side and is surrounded by buildings of note - St Marks Basilica, The Doges Palace, St Mark's Clock tower. What caught my eye first were the lovely paintings on the walls of the Basilica.
We wandered around St Marks Square. From time immemorial the square has been the place where Venetians gather and socialize. It plays host to events such as the Venetian Carnival. Its surrounded by buildings of note and opens up into the grand Canal in front.



St Marks Square
Along the length of the square are raised platforms. When the tide(called the Aqua Alta) raises most of the areas around the square are prone to flooding and so the platforms are how you can get around this place.

The Clock Towers of Venice have some interesting stories attached to them. (That will need another post I guess :))

We walk on. Narrow Alleyways lead into open spaces. Bridges take us over beautiful canals and old churches appear and disappear in view. Finally we reach Rialto upon which stands the oldest bridge on the Grand Canal , 'The Rialto Bridge'.

The Bridge leads into the Rialto market and was a blur of activity. We stood a while on top of the bridge just taking in the amazing sights and sounds unravelling on the banks and in the waters of the canal before us. We could see Gondolier's row past.


The Rialto Bridge
The view from the bridge is a picture of activity. Venice coming alive, Gondolier's rowing away, local traders going over their daily chores, people haggling.
We wander into the Rialto market. The hustle and bustle and the colours of the market are truely spectacular. I love the little lanterns hanging on top. These get lit up at night! Wow :)

Inside the Rialto Market


The Rialto Market
A typical Venetian household is a pretty sight. Quaint windows framed by beautiful flowers along the sides


A Typical Venetian Household
We walk the entire length of Venice that day. We wore ourselves out. No complaints cause Venice is made for the walker. Its a small island easily navigable and best discovered by foot. We came back to where we first started, St Marks Square. This time we went into St Mark's Basilica.

Paintings on the Roof of St Marks Basilica
The insides of the Basilica are splashed with gold The paintings in such intricate detail and such a grand scale took my breath away. Its a challenge getting symmetry right on paper , canvasses and flat surfaces leave , but when I saw what they had managed to do on the roof and on the sides of the cathedral I just had to stand and stare. Unimaginable!. Every small space is Art. The Floors that we walk on seem to have some sort of designs too
St Marks Basilica
Theres a certain serenity that hangs in the air. As we walk around I think to myself about how much science has gone into the construction of something of such architectural stature
Inside St Marks Basilica
We were allowed to take the stairs and walk up to the top of the basilica. There were a few exhibits explaining how the paintings had been done. Outside on the terrace a spectacular Ariel view of the square awaited us, The row of Gondolas on the Grand Canal in a distance, followed by the square itself and the proud buildings of note standing all around it.


DAY 2

We set off to Murano another one of the Venetian islands.
Murano is a beautiful island, very different in character from her Venetian cousins
Most striking is the sense of calm and quiet which seems to prevail which you would never see in the noiser parts of central Venice
One of the Many Glass Factories in Murano

Murano is famous for Glass. Her Glass makers are of ancient renown. We got to watch some of them in action, their deft fingers effortlessly moulding intricate shape to life
The Finished Work.. 
We walked around for most part of the day sitting by canals and sipping on Coffee. 
Scenes from Murano..


We decided it was time to head back and caught the water

The Water Bus..

Quick lunch and we head back to St Marks Square. This time we did a bit of shopping and decided to haggle with the Gondoliers of Venice. Gondola rides are expensive. Typically they cost about 90 Euros.  But we couldn't have been here and not  done the Gondola ride... Its a decision we did not regret
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FromVenice 2010
The gondola ride was surreal. It was amazing as we found ourselves being rowed into lovely canals in the heart of Venice.



Our Loveboat :)..



View of the Bank from our Gondola
It wasn't a very hot day and thankfully it wasn't raining. The weather was perfect. The gentle breeze and the Gondolier's slow song set the mood up perfectly. So far we had seen Venice from the land. For the first time now we got to see her other colors staying on water... It was almost like we were her.
The same sights looked different. We sailed past St Marks Square past the Bridge of Sighs


The able Gondolier negotiates a bridge..
The reflections of Venetian buildings on her waters were such a spectacular sight.. The Artist in me wanted to paint every scene ..:)

Sailing towards the Rialto Bridge..
We finally sailed past Rialto Bridge..


Inside one of the many Canals

View from our Gandola..

Walls of Buildings we rowed past..
Our Ride finally ended and I felt like I was walking away from a dream. Since it was sunny we went back to St Marks Square.
It was teeming with people.. And Pigeons :)..
We sat a bit in the square soaking up the sun .. It was lovely. Quintessential Venice!
A lady feeding Pigeons - St Mark's Square


DAY 3
Our walk back to the station was our perfect goodbye to a beautiful city. We walked past many of the sights we had grown to love during the past few days. We sat by one of the numerous cafes in Rialto and had some delicious Coffee.
A cafe on the banks of the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge


A very Special Passenger..


Venetian Clothes Line..
We decided we would have one drink of Spitz before we left.. :)


And finally had lunch sipping on wine and having our sandwiches right outside a pretty little church... :).. Hmmmmmmm!
'SPITZ' . The local Drink
The Old Church, where we had Lunch

Digging into our Lunch.
Goodbye Venice..We shall be back again..!

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