Woke this morning to rain, seems that places only seem to rain before or after I leave, which is awesome.
Had breakfast with Laura and said goodbye to her, we had such a great time hanging out together, laughed heaps and one of the many things I love about her is that she walks the same pace I do! Would love to go to Argentina to see her again, so will definitely be staying in touch, such a great chick.
Caught the bus to the train station, had about 20 minutes to get myself my ticket to Venice so went to the ticket machine and it took ages to load every page and then it froze, the next machine did the same thing, then there were queues next to the ones that were working. I raced to the ticket booths to a real person to get me a ticket, and the queue there was super long, my train was at 8.25am, I got my ticket at 8.26am, awesome, had to then wait an hour at the station for the next train.
Arrived in Venice and it was raining and freezing, so got out my pack cover, puffy jacket and raincoat then headed out in search for my hostel in amongst this maze that was in front of me.
I didn’t have a map, only the directions from an email which I was trying to read off my phone in the rain, not so easy, weaved my way through the streets and over numerous canal bridges, at one point I thought I was totally lost but then found my bearings again, eventually arriving at the Silk Road Hostel on the waterfront.
The rooms in the hostel are so lovely, all single beds and no bunks! Linen just like you would have at home and only 4 beds to a huge room, also a great kitchen area and modern clean bathrooms, awesome.
Got first dibs on the beds, chose the one with the canal view and then headed out the door to go for a roam around the city. I had a map from the hostel that the girl there had drawn things on for me to see and do, but this map was a photocopy of a photocopy, also in black and white and there was no way to know what was water and what was pavement, hence I found myself very lost on numerous occasions. But that’s what going to Venice is all about, if you don’t get lost then there is something wrong with you, shopkeepers are more than happy to oblige trying to point you in the right direction however after about 10 ‘left, left, right, second left, right’ you just ask them where you are on the map and you find your own way eventually.
Venezia is just as romantic and beautiful as they say and I’m so glad that I made the trip across the country to see it. Such a welcome change from crazy roads filled with scooters and a slightly slower pace of life which I really appreciated.
I walked through the streets for a good few hours, looking at all the wonderful shops including all the big designers, shoe shops for Africa and of course Murano glass shops.
I headed back to the hostel and decided to cook for the first time since I left NZ, craving meat and vegies I cooked up a stir-fry, was so so good, and had some left over for lunch the next day.
Also been hoeing into the fruit and feeling so much better for it, seriously there is only so much pizza and pasta you can eat!
After dinner the sun was beginning to set so I headed out to check out the city in the evening, the city just lights up colours of pinks and oranges with the light of the sunset and it takes on a whole new look, slowly the buildings change to purple and then as twilight hits they go back to normal except lit up by street lights.
The canals come to life with different lights coming from the restaurants, gondolas, boats and bridges, it’s so beautiful, I just hung on the main bridge for a while just watching everyone and offering to take photos for heaps of people who were trying to take them of themselves.
Continued on my walk and came around a corner to hear applause and a group of people all standing around something, I went to have a look and then all the people that were standing there started singing, they were a choir just doing songs around the city and they were so amazing, was such a nice surprise.
Walked through into San Marco Piazza, a huge Piazza by an old palace, the lengths of it are lined by restaurants and wonderful lighting of the buildings around the piazza. At two of the restaurants on opposing sides of the piazza they had mini orchestras playing music, each one would play 2 songs then the other would play, there were heaps of couples dancing in the middle.
The only thing that is disappointing about Italy are the people clearly not Italian, or probably legally in the country, trying to sell you either rip off designer handbags, sunglasses, or the squidgy things they throw at the ground then splatter flat then go back to their ball shape. At night they bring out these toys that have a light inside, they use a slingshot thing to fire them into the air and then they spin slowly back to the ground and they think that tourists would want these things, they are horrible. Oh and as soon as it starts raining these men with umbrellas to sell just appear out of nowhere. They ruin countless photos by setting up right in front of all the famous or pretty sights, and if you even look like you are looking at them they will chase you to try and sell you it.
On my way back to the hostel I found a chick on her own with a backpack on roaming the street our hostel was on looking pretty concerned, it was about 10pm so I asked if she was ok and she was looking for my same hostel. Lucky I found her cause she had walked straight past it (it is pretty hard to find in the day time let alone at night) and was about 400m down the road from it.
The next day I headed out to the islands of Murano – famous for the glass and Burano – famous for its lace and multi-coloured bright houses. Bought a ticket for 18 Euro, which could get me on any boat in Venice for 12hrs. At Murano I found a free display/show thingy at a glass blowing factory there and they told us all about what they do etc, then direct you through their shop of course.
Here I bought a wee present for mum then went for a quick walk around the island, had my left over stir-fry on the water front then caught the boat to Burano where I spent a lot more time.
Burano is a neat place, the houses are all brightly coloured lining the few canals that they have there, apparently they did that cause back when it was a thriving fishing village the fog would come in and the fisherman would be able to see their houses to they all painted them a different colour.
Here I bought a little lace doily thing as a token purchase from the island, also I found a really pretty Murano glass necklace so I got that too, then I walked past a lace shop and saw an item that I couldn’t walk past. Now so far I have been really good with my spending, I haven’t bought myself anything, I have painfully said no to many things I have seen on my travels but this was different for some reason. It was a white full lace blazer – I asked the shop keeper how much and she said 55 euros, I must have looked really disappointed and she said I can do it for 50, I said that I would go away and think about it. So I did, I converted it into NZ$ and decided that I would go back and just try it on to see what its like on first. As soon as I put it on, everyone in the shop started going ‘Ooooo’ and ‘aaahhhh’, saying how beautiful it was etc etc and yes it was wonderful. I pleaded with her if she could take any more off the price and first said no, then I ummed and ahhhed and then she brought it down to 48. So I told the voice inside my head telling me that I’m not allowed to buy things like this and I went and got some cash out. Now this is where I’m starting to get good at bartering, it works every time, I pulled out 40 euros and then started scratching around for coin to make up the 8, I knew that I only had 6 in my wallet, so I put the 6 on the counter then started hunting through my bag saying ‘I knew I had 2 euro somewhere’, taking ages she finally just accepted the 46 and smiled saying ‘Just for you’. Score! It’s still a $78 blazer but hey it put a massive grin on my face for the rest of the day.
Headed back to the mainland a bit earlier than I had originally timed to, but thank god I did, for some reason the boats to get back took way longer than the ones to get there and I only had time to race from the train station back to the hostel, grab my pack and race back there again. The water-taxi pulled up outside the hostel just as I was leaving so I jumped on that instead of walking so I think that saved me.