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Monday, 11 June 2012

Our Beautiful Day in Venice

Hello lovely people!!!!

We have had a FUCKING AMAZING day!! Sooooooooooooooooooooooooo much better than yesterday. Venice is an unbelievable city.

Right now me and Sam are in that internet hotspot known as laundry room of the campsite... the wifi signal is much better here and also we have some stuff being washed and dried at the moment. I'm so looking forward to having nice clean clothes!!!

We've seen so much of the city today and taken many many photos, so we definitely feel we've made the most of our only whole day here. We leave for Florence at 5.20pm tomorrow so we still have quite a bit more time, and by then we will really know what Venice is all about.

Our health has also been much better today after actually sleeping last night - what a luxury. So things are looking really good at the moment.

And stuff today has just really cheered me up!! Very happy :)

So I'll get on now and show you our journey today through this wonderful place.

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We woke up today at 9am. We went to be the night before at about 1.30am.

Hang on a minute. 7 and a half hours sleep? NO WAY. This is Sam and Jack we're talking about. Those fucktards don't even know what sleep is.

Well, I'm happy to tell you that on the evidence of how we felt when we woke up this morning, apparently we do.

That was the best sleep I've had in a very long time.

Our shuttle bus from the campsite into town was leaving at 10am, so we got washed, dressed and packed ready to get the bus. We were cutting it quite fine , and then on the way to the bus, we realised that Sam forgot to pick up the tickets, so he ran back and got them, and we got on the bus just in time.

It wasn't actually sunny this morning! It was overcast and raining a little; a very rare thing on our trip, but we didn't mind. It was actually quite refreshing, and it's also nice to visit a place and see it in a different light, as opposed to constant sunshine.

The bus dropped us off outside the people carrier, which is a form of public transport here which is like an overhead train and takes you over some of the wide canals and into the city centre. It only costs 1 euro each to travel on it, and it was a pretty cool experience.

The first thing we wanted to do was to wander around a bit and take some photos, while looking out for a café because we were starving and same needed caffeine.

So here comes a photo tour of this part of the day. This starts from after we got off the people carrier:

A view of boats moored on the Grand Canal, the largest canal in Venice.


Bridges and boats:


A church on one side of the Grand Canal, opposite the train station:


A very ornate building next to the Grand Canal which we did not have time to look in!

Typically old Italian buildings in a road coming off the Grand Canal:


View over the Grand Canal from the Ponte o Scalzi (bridge):


A view down a lovely small canal. This is a typical view that you see in Venice...amazing.


As small bridge over one of the small canals:



Eventually we came across a small café which wasn't touristy at all - Sam thought that the coffee would be better and the experience more authentic in this kind of place - so we went inside.

The woman who greeted us was very friendly and willing to speak English. Sam ordered a double espresso, I got a freshly-squeezed orange juice and we both got a croissant each which was filled with red fruit paste/jam/preserve stuff.

THIS WAS THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD.

Sam tried his coffee, looked at me, and rolled his eyes back into his head with delight. He does not do that very often. He was also wearing a slight grin the whole time we were there. This coffee was clearly THE SHIT.

Sam made me try some of it. I don't drink coffee and anytime I have tried it I haven't really enjoyed it, but this time you could really tell how good a quality it was. It was actually quite nice!

The croissants too were AMAZING. And the orange juice! Oh my god! It was the best orange juice I've had on the trip so far. She even gave me a whole slice of orange with it. So good.

Sam ordered a single espresso afterwards too just so he could try more of the coffee. What he did not foresee was that he would end up SHAKING LIKE A LITTLE BITCH.

The coffee was so strong that 3 shots made him super awake and buzzing. Sam said it normally takes about 8 shots for coffee to have this effect on him in England , so he was a bit shocked but also very happy with the quality.

What remained after we massacred the coffee, orange juice and croissants.


An unnaturally happy Sam! Caffeine had to be involved somewhere along the line...



So we left very happy indeed.

As we walked randomly through the streets, here's some stuff we encountered:

An interesting sculpture thing:


A beautiful arch and church:



We then came across a shop selling traditional Italian masks. We had to take a look.


We came in and had a look around at these incredibly detailed masks. As we went towards the back of the shop, we found two people: the shop keeper and his assistant. They were making the masks!

The shopkeeper explained to us that all of the masks are hand-made, and he showed us how he made them which was interesting. It was kind of like high-tech papier maché! He then said we could try on any masks we want, so we went a bit crazy...here is the aftermath:






After seeing the effort they put into these masks and the fact that they are such an iconic symbol of the area, we had to buy something. In the end, Sam bought one of the masks with a long beak, while I bought one of the typical 'comedy and tragedy' mask things. I bought this because I find the concept behind this really interesting and there's so much you can read into it, and as it was hand-made in Italy it would be a perfect thing to take home as a souvenir.

We decided in the shop that we are going to send them home by post, though, because they fragile and it would be difficult to keep them safe for the rest of the trip. So they shopkeeper found us a box, bubble wrap and newspaper and him and Sam packed it as best they could.

The shop only accepted cash, and we only had 15 euros, so we asked if we could pick the masks up later and pay for them then after we'd got cash out, and he said that it was fine, and he put the box to one side for us. We said that we'd be back later to pick them up, and left.

After this, we decided to head in the general direction of the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square), one of the main attractions of Venice. It contains the Basilica, probably the most iconic building in Venice.

On the way there, here are some things we saw:

Another beautiful canal:


Me on the bridge:


The sun started to come out at this point! Yay! We got to see Venice in the moody cloud and the happy sunshine!

Here is another nice church:


There were too many nice canals/bridges/boats, I had to include lots of pictures of them!



An incredible bridge with shaded arcades (as Sam tells me). We crossed over it.


These are the famous Venice gondolas. You can get a gondola ride very easily in Venice, there are so many people selling them We decided not to because of the cost and also because we'd seen so much of the canals/buildings that we didn't think it was necessary. Also, from a distance we could appreciate how the gondolas look, as shown in this photo.


Nice flowery building.


More  typical but amazing Venetian scenes!


Another church (they seem quite keen on those over here don't they?)


We found a supermarket on the way to the Piazza San Marco, so we decided to get a cheap lunch. We bought a large baguette to share, some shampoo (because we needed some, random I know) and a bag of salad to share. Here's Sam eating some of the baguette by a canal:


We finished the rest of the lunch in a square further on.

After, we came across this really beautiful canal, especially with the sun shining. Note the clothes hanging over it... what if they fell off? Venetians are pretty brave in this respect!


So eventually, after turning down countless narrow streets and strange alleyways, we ended up at St. Mark's Square.
We saw the Basilica in front of us, and it really is a stunning building. The next part was to get inside.

The was a queue.

The queue was roughly 10 million people long.

You had to pay to get in.

This was not ideal.

After deliberation, we decided that we wouldn't go in. We could still appreciate the outside of the Basilica and the square in general which is incredible, and we would save time and money which we could use on other stuff.

Here are some images of the square.

The intricate an decorative archways and stuff (Sam will kill me for not using the architectural terms):


The large clock tower in the centre of the square with more of the Basilica:


Looking into the distance towards one of the islands off the main island of Venice. It has some pretty nice buildings there! In front are some wooden moorings for boats, these are EVERYWHERE in Venice.


Archezzzzzzzzzzzz




Beautiful detail on a window above a door. Notice the winged lion - this is also EVERYWHERE in Venice - on the lampposts, buildings, bins, probably even on the fucking ice-cream or some shit. The winged lion is the symbol of St. Mark, who seems to be a very important figure in Venice; you see 'San Marco' everywhere.


I don't know what it is but I like it.


Seem familiar?


An interesting clock face on another clock tower in the square, with the signs of the zodiac on the inside. It also has the phases of the moon.


After seeing alL of this stuff, Sam was pretty hungry. Before going round and taking loads of photos, I'd got a chicken sandwich from a café, so I was ok, but Sam needed food and caffeine.

We found a nice café/restaurant place which had amazing wifi. They were playing a lot of English music and one of the Italian staff members was doing this spazzy whistling sound to the songs, as well as clapping and dancing at one point. Only in Italy.

Sam got a bruschetta and a coffee, and we had a mini internet session. And then we headed off to do some more exploring.

We decided to try and find a place called 'Ca' d'Oro', which was marked as an important place on our map, and put simply.... it just sounded pretty good. 'House of Gold' or some shit. Why not?

Our map reading skills made it take longer than we thought, but eventually we found it. Unfortunately we had to pay to get in, but luckily there was on opening to it in one of the streets that we could look through. It looked pretty nice. That is all.

We then went back to aimless wandering, but in the general direction of the bus station so that we could actually get back to the hostel when we wanted to. So here are some pictures we took at this time:

We found a station for the Venice ferry service, which almost works like a 'metro' for them. We would have got a ferry, but the prices were ridiculous. So we took a picture of the map instead!!


Looking at boats across the canal from the ferry station.


WE FOUND LEMONS IN THE WATER. Probably fresh lemons from trees! How awesome is that?!

Later on we also found a slice of watermelon in a canal. I don't think we can say that came from a tree though.


Sam standing on a wooden bridge.


A nice church-thing we found. I think we took a peek inside. That's what we decided to do with churches here because there were so many - just poke our heads in and have a look around. You weren't allowed to take photos in most of them anyway.


A nice little archway by a canal.


This is the church opposite the train station again, but this time we were right next to it. There are some steps below these columns which are great to sit on and relax in the evening - the suns pointing at you but it isn't as strong as during the afternoon. It was lovely.


At this point, we decided to go back to the campsite. We were both knackered and wanted to make sure we got back before the shop there closed (9.30pm). I think at this point the time was about 7.30pm.

We had booked a shuttle bus straight back to the hostel at 9.30pm, which cost 4 euros for both of us, but this was unrealistic in retrospect and we needed stuff from the shop - namely food for 'dinner' and some detergent for the washing machines in the campsite.

So we got the next bus back and walked from the bus stop to the campsite, which was simple. We bought some detergent and, because we really wanted cereal, some cornflakes. The shop didn't have any milk, so we got a big pot of natural yoghurt instead (Sam informs me that this is a typical student lifestyle going on). We also got some pears.

Sam put the first load of washing in, and then we both ate in our mobile home.

CORNFLAKES + NATURAL YOGHURT = LUSH.

After this traditional dinner, we decided to set ourselves up in the laundry room because the wifi signal was much better there. We got all of the clothes out and tumble-dried them. They are now FUCKING AMAZING. Clean clothes!!

While we were there, we met two people who were also backpacking - they were form Canada and they were doing it for 3 months! We chatted about where we'd been and where we were going, travelling in general, life in our own countries etc., and it was another one of those moments where we had a great time just sharing experiences. They even gave us some tips for Switzerland (they'd already been there), and we let them use some of our detergent because they didn't have any. Meeting people in this way is one of the best aspects of the trip. Sam does more talking because he's more extroverted than I am, and to be honest meeting people isn't something I'd typically enjoy, but in this situation, as travellers, it's really nice to be able to connect with people you've never met before from completely different backgrounds and share stuff.

We then went back to the hostel and to bed. This is a general statement, I'm pretty sure more happened, but I can't remember. It can't have been too exciting haha.
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So as most of you should know, I'm writing this conclusion on the 11th, so the post is a day late. Sorry about that, not much you can do when the internet is so shit that you cannot upload photos. And photos were pretty essential in this post, as I'm sure you can appreciate. I really wanted to make the post good too, so the extra time was worth it I feel.

This day was brilliant, probably one of the best in the trip so far. Venice is lovely.

We're in Florence now. LOL. Mindfuck for you!

So as for this blog, I still have to do the post for today, talking a bit about Venice and travelling here to Florence. I don't think I'm going to be able to upload it tonight though, hopefully it will be tomorrow afternoon sometime.

I hope the timing of this shit isn't messing you around too much. If you still haven't got it, this post was for 9th June (so would normally be posted 10th June at night). So it's a day late.

So I better get working on the next post I suppose! Thank you for reading and sorry about being a spaz with the timing - it'll be back to normal soon.

Ciao!!


Jack - 11/6/12 - 01:39 in Florence, 00:39 in the UK

2 comments:

  1. Yes, the pictures are amazing! Thanks for uploading. I can't stop looking at them and feeling like I've seen them before. (Mainly due to Assassin's Creed.)

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