Friday, November 30, 2007

Ahhh Venice!!

Venice is 3 hours from Milan by train. We knew we were near when we saw the ocean. Venice is located in a lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northern Italy. We arrived there past 9 in the morning. We were in Venice! We were back on track. Never mind if we had lost a night's stay in this city.

When we saw the souvenir shops at the train station lobby, Gino and I became very excited. Lovely Venetian masks, murano glassware and other stuff! We oohhed and aahhed. Picture picture!

Outside the station, the first thing we saw was a canal. Venice consists of many islands and is famous for its canals. These serve the same function as roads. Transportation within the city is by water. Either that or you walk. I read that as many as 400 bridges connect the islands of the city.

Our hostel is located on Giudecca Island which is accessible only by boat. It is not very far but a little out of the way. We bought two 24-hour boat passes for 15 euros each. It was cheaper than having to pay 6 euros per trip. For us it was well worth it because we took several boat trips.

To take a public boat, called vaporetto, you have to go to a waiting area, a.k.a. dock. At first I thought it was already the boat because it was floating on the water, until the boat arrived.

Vaporetti. Vaporetto, singular.

Have you ever seen a TV show featuring Venice and these gorgeously handsome gondoliers? Tell you what. SO TRUE! I'm saying that as a matter of fact. No malice there. These young boatmen, who were not even on a gondola but on a regular boat, should be on a magazine cover or Armani poster, I thought to myself.

I had mistakenly booked only a night's stay at Ostello di Venezia. We had already missed it because of my flight delay, so I was not very sure if we could still be accommodated. Thank God, we were accepted. The rate at the hostel at this time of year was 20 euros a night. This was one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, I could find online. Bedrooms were dorm-style, 16 beds to a bedroom, which is really one huge room with 4 cubicles. Each cubicle had 2 double-decked beds. You get your own locker with key. Bathroom is common. Male and female rooms are separated. Breakfast is included in the fee.

Like other hostels in that part of the world, Ostello di Venezia was closed for cleaning and maintenance in the morning. It opened at 1:30 pm. Because it was only past 9 am, we had to leave our luggage in a locker near the reception area, and took the vaporetto to Piazza San Marco, or St. Mark's Square, the principal square in Venice.

People and pigeons flock to St. Mark's Square.

(to be continued)

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