The Heaven for Lovers, Venice
Day XX: Europe's Romantic Slum, Venice
We boarded a train from Zurich and reached Venice around 3 PM. On the way, we crossed the beautiful mountains of northern Italy. Our Airbnb was in Riota Market. I searched the route on Google Maps and found a different symbol for public transport. I thought, in this part of the world, a tram or a metro might be recognised with this symbol.
We came out of the metro and I could see no roads but the canals and countless boats/ferries operated inside it. So that symbol was of a water taxi, Wasn't it incredible?
We went to the ticket counter and inquired about the ways of transportation and their charges. There were only 2 modes of commute available, water taxi or by walk. Our Airbnb was near Rialto Market which cost us 9€. While a 2-day unlimited pass would cost around 33€. We were staying in the heart of Venice because of which all of the tourist destinations were located within walking distance. Due to this, we bought a one-way ticket instead of a day pass."
Every station had multiple Docks such as St. Lucia Platform 'A', 'B' etc. We walked towards Platform 'E' of St. Lucia Station, scanned our tickets and entered the platform. Initially, I thought it was the boat but later realised it was just a dock where ferries would stop. Important information, If you won't find anybody at the ticket counter, you could still board the boat and buy a ticket from the boat. That's what we did while leaving Venice in the early morning.
Ferry came, we got into it and there we were, on our way to Riota Market. Despite being a government-operated ferry, It looked lavish with balconies at the front, back and sideways where people could stand and enjoy the beautiful Venice. It also had a huge A/C hall with many seats for passengers to sit. As we just arrived in Venice and wanted to see and feel the Venice vibes, we stood on the balcony instead of sitting inside the hall. I was stunned by the floating Venice. We saw colourful houses, narrow streets, and canals filled with countless Gondolas and speedboats. Indeed! an architectural marvel. Also, I hadn't seen a single car or scooter during my stay in Venice, wasn’t it amazing?
We got down at Riota Station. Our Airbnb was 400 meters from there. We met our owner Michela near our building who handed over the key to us and explained a few basic things about her Airbnb. It was another beautiful Airbnb of our euro adventure. I learnt a lot about interior design on this trip and as soon as we landed in India, we ordered some of the stuff and decorated our house!
By now you must know how valuable a sunny day could be in Europe. As it was a sunny day, we dropped our luggage and went straight to San Marco Square. the place was making justice to all the hype created around it. All the major touristy destinations were nearby such as Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Museum, and St. Mark’s Campanile.
We went to St. Mark’s Campanile which was a tall watch tower built in the 16th Century. It was also the highest point of Venice which provided us with a stunning panoramic view of Venice. While we were there, we saw Murano, Burano, Torcello and Zaccaria islands. I loved places with panoramic views more compared to the memorials hence we spend most of our evening and skipped the Doge's Palace. Another reason, we skipped some of the memorials was, my lack of knowledge of European history. Because of this, I couldn't able to establish a connection with the place or feel the vibe of the place. Therefore, instead of spending time and more importantly €s at such places, we chose to spend it on unforgettable experiences such as a Gondola ride.
To many, it may feel overhyped but To hopelessly romantic people like us, It felt like one of the most romantic experiences of Europe. mainly because of the beautiful Gondolas, well-mannered and beautifully dressed Gondoliers and romantic canals of Venice. We paid 80€ for the ride and not once I felt regret about it as our Gondolier had created an insanely romantic ambience with his whistling and romantic songs throughout the ride. Throughout the ride, whenever we crossed any famous buildings, he informed us about their history such as he showed us the house of Casanova 😉. I specifically pointed it out as my friends in Informatica ( my previous office ) used to call me Casanova.
Even though a single gondola could accommodate 4-5 people, I felt it was more of a couple thing and every couple should do it separately. Because while we were sitting in a centre seat cum throne and passing through the canals of Venice, we felt nothing less than a king and a queen.
After the memorable 45 minutes Gondola ride, we went for dinner to one of the fancy-looking restaurants at San Marco Square. We ordered fish pasta & fish Pizza as we weren't getting veg or chicken variants. The food was horrible. It was smelly, half cooked and also the fish weren't cleaned properly. Imaging travelling the entire Europe and the only time you get bad Italian food was in Italy 😜 Aayushi gave up within one or two pizza slices only while I tried to carry on for a few more slices of Pizza and spoons of Pasta.
It was quite dark so we decided to end our first day in Venice and walked back towards the room. The most important advice I wanted to give about Venice was, please download offline maps of Venice before travelling to Venice. Because at times, you won't find internet inside those narrow streets and you might get lost without Maps.
Day XXI : Island Hoping : Murano, Burano, Torcello.
We already booked 6 hours of island hopping tour that would be starting at 11:00 AM. We left home at 9:00 AM and just after crossing Rialto Bridge, we found a nice little Italian bakery and decided to have breakfast there. It would be criminal to visit Italy and not eat tiramisu. Do we look like criminals? No right, therefore, we ordered Tiramisu and one-one slices of a few different types of pizza including pizza rolls. After a tasty breakfast, we went to Zaccaria Station which was the meeting point of the island hopping tour.
After half an hour we stop on was the glass factory on Murano Island where one of the skilled artists demonstrated amazing artwork by making a beautiful glass vase. He barely took 20 minutes to make these things from scratch. Our guide informed us that it took more than 20 years to become a master of this art. Later, he accepted a challenge to make a beautiful unicorn of glass within 2 minutes. The moment he started, I too, initiated a timer and stopped it, as soon as he finished. He took just over 2 minutes. Trust me, he didn't make any compromise on the quality of work. I was fascinated by the entire demonstration and wished to buy some of those incredible things with me back to India. Please have a look at the Unicorn making process!
Post Demonstration, we visited their shop where we saw some of the incredible glass works. There was a variety of designer glasses, tea cups, vases, show-pieces and delicate glass pieces of jewellery. All of these in different colours, sizes and shapes. We felt like buying everything but they were a bit expensive and delicate. And we still had to visit Rome via Pisa by train and then carry it to India by plane. These were the challenges we didn't want to take at this point. Hence, we admired it and left the shop empty-handed.
From there we boarded the cruise and reached Burano Island. It was the best part of the island hopping tour. During island hopping, I observed that all the houses on these islands were colourful with a tall single watch tower at its centre. We got an hour to explore this beautiful Island. The Island didn't look real. It felt like a movie set. Just look at the pictures…
It was a small island with colourful houses, a watch tower and multiple small bridges to cross the canals running through the island. The watch tower was tall enough and could be spotted from all parts of Burano. At some point, we got lost on the island and this tower helped us find the correct route. There was a huge Main square just in front of the watch tower where we performed our rituals of dancing across Europe 😜 We found numerous roadside bars, glass factory shops and souvenir shops across the island. We had lunch in one of those and then went shopping. It was a hot day with a lot of humidity hence to cool ourselves down, we had a few scoops of Gelatos 😜 I wished we could have spent a whole day on this island. Anyways, it was time to say goodbye to this beautiful island and head towards the last island of the day Torcello, the Heritage flavour of Venice.
In another 10 minutes, we reached Torcello. compared to the other two islands this looked barren with very limited populations. On our way to the main heritage sight of Torcello which was 10 minutes of walk from the docking point, we hardly spotted one bar and let's not talk about its condition. just be glad, there was a bar 😜
I was amazed the moment we reached the main heritage sight. Indeed, I was getting heritage vibes. I felt like I time travelled a few centuries in the past. In front of the main sight, we found a Throne. When I was sitting on it and admiring the heritage sights of Torcello, I felt as if I was the emperor of Torcello! We tried to capture this moment as well 😉
We boarded the cruise and returned to St Lucia island in 45 minutes. The sun was still shining brightly hence we decided to explore a few more parts of Venice and try a few more cafes on the way. During our exploration, we found a place that offered the best view of St. Mark’s Square and all the touristy destinations around it. Wasn’t it a cool place? Seeing us taking pictures, a few tourists too, stopped and admired the view. Some of them even thanked us for showing them the view which they would have missed if we weren't there.
We had pretty much explored the entire island and in the process we became hungry. We decided to have lasagna and went to restaurants hopping across Venice. After visiting countless restaurants and some of the scariest and darkest of the lanes, we found a restaurant that had veg lasagna on its menu. Was that lasagna worth all these struggles? Well, it was the best lasagna I had tasted in my life. We also came across some of the great bakeries where we had tasty Macarons and cupcakes. Amongst, Pistachio and Strawberries Macarons were my favourites.
It was 8:00 PM and we had to catch an early train the next morning. Therefore, we headed back to our Airbnb. While heading back, we had to stop at the Rialto Bridge. Because the view from there was too beautiful to ignore. Leaving you with the shining Venice from Rialto Bridge.
The last Eurail Travel day via Leaning Tower of Pisa is here 👉 The Last Eurail Travel Day via Pisa