Sunday, March 24, 2013

Venice- the city otherwise known as a labrynth

Last year for spring break, two of my friends and I decided to go on a crazy, action packed vacation and visit Rome, Florence and Pisa, and Venice, plus Barcelona, in ten days. Needless to say, running around the Italian peninsula was exhausting, and a little expensive.

By the time we got to Venice, we were completely worn out, and dirt poor. Even so, Venice was still my favorite city that we visited on the whole vacation. Maybe that I've visited so far. It's just so unique.

When we first arrived, we stepped out of the train station right onto the Grand Canal. It was so unreal stepping out into this city that really did have rivers for streets. I've heard about it for my whole life but this was the day that this dream came into reality. We went directly to the tourist booth to get a map, which we then found out cost 2 euros. What?!? 2 euros for a piece of paper? Need I remind you how broke I was? Well, in the end we paid the 2 euros, which was worth it, or we never would have been able to find anything and would probably still be lost in the maze of sidewalks and canals that is Venice. 

The offending map

Now for the things that most called my attention:

• Monuments

We really didn't spend a lot of time visiting the monuments here but of course we did go to the most famous ones! 

The gondolas, of course

Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)
At one time this was the only bridge that crossed the Grand Canal.

St. Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco)

Intricate mosaics inside the Basilica. This basilica is known as the "Church of Gold"(Chisea d'Oro) because it's so richly decorated

• Shopping

Maybe I should write window shopping, seeing as that would be more accurate. The variety of shops and merchandise in Venice was refreshing. I don't know how many cities I have been to and each shop seems like a replica of the one I just saw in another country. That wasn't true of the shops here. Most of them were small with the kind of merchandise that you would expect of a mysterious and surprising city.

Murano glass- from boats to jewelry and anything in between


Carnavale Costumes and Masks- I'm pretty sure I wasn't allowed to take a picture of this shop window because most places don't like it, but I couldn't help it. 

More masks 

The most original book store I may have ever seen. These are books but with intricate and beautiful leather covers. They also cost around a hundred euros a book. 

Not to mention pastries. I think we went to this place twice in two days- you can see my friend was inside already when I took the picture!

• Streets and Canals

I'm sure this isn't a surprise at all, but I was completely enraptured by the hidden corners and canals. And of course, like everyone when they go to Venice, we wanted to go on a gondola ride. Well, with all three of us pinching pennies, there was no way we were going to be able to afford 80 euros for an hour. Instead, there are gondolas that are 50 cents that just take you across the canal, like a ferry! So, we went to find one of those and got our gondola ride in ;). 

 Our 50 cent gondola ride! 


•  Hidden Quirks
Now I will leave you with a few random things that we discovered or experienced along the way...

This gondolier saw me walking down the street eating an ice cream cone. He then told me he wanted to share my ice cream. And after I looked at him confused, he changed his mind and said he wanted to snuggle.
                              Be careful if you use this toilet!                             A lamp, outside, in the day time

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