After spending yesterday effectively doing prep work, we were ready to properly take on Venice today.
Grabbed some food from the train station and then bought a travel card for the day – 20EUR to provide a days worth of access to buses and the water buses in Venice Central.
After arriving in Venice by bus, we just hopped on the water bus all the way to San Marco Square, hoping to get in early to the Basilica di San Marco, unfortunately it’s closed on Thursday mornings for prayer, which wasn’t ideal for us. We took a diversion north to basically just escape the crowds, I had previously bookmarked a spot northeast of the main square, though couldn’t really remember why.
Upon arrival to the starred spot on my map, I remembered why I had bookmarked it in the first place – a small bookshop filled from floor to ceiling with books, complete with book filled Gondola in the centre, bathtubs and canoes filled with books, even a staircase made of books just outside, leading to a view of the nearby canal.
Bit more gelato and some wandering later, we returned to the church and got in line, the queue went around the front and then out into the square, with no shade and the sun beating down on us for a half hour or so, I thought for sure my neck was going to burn, though at the time of typing, nothing yet.
The church itself was impressive in scale, adorned with a whole ceiling of gold and murals in the negative space. They didn’t allow photos inside but a snuck a few here and there anyway. The queuing continued even inside the church, with additional segments of the church requiring payment as well, we’d end up stuck in a queue inside for what felt like a small eternity, honestly we didn’t even know what we were queuing for, just following the crowd. Eventually it turns out we were queueing to see some form of golden plate adorned with jewels – nice and sparkly, though personally not worth the agonising queue to get to see it. My legs and back were aching by the time we left, it felt like I had aged 10 years while waiting to move around the inside.
Lunch followed, we found a nice place off the beaten path offering pasta and a second plate with side and drink for 20 euro, which for Venice, is pretty good value.
Time for our Gondola ride, hunted around the main tourist spots and found another couple who wanted to share with us – as the prices are 80EUR for the gondola itself, it made sense to share and split the cost, the 80EUR is meant to last approx half an hour and include some level of tour. Unfortunately we picked a bad gondolier, to anyone who visits Venice, if your gondolier asks for the money up front? peace out of there. Rather than being a romantic ride down the side streets of Venice, our guy spent half the time having a shouting conversation with other gondoliers he passed, and the trip lasted maybe 20 minutes before he started bringing us back in to dock, we felt pretty ripped off but I’m just thankful we did share with another couple, as 80EUR for 20 minutes would have been a little too painful for me to stomach.
We were kind of out of ideas from there, and proceeded to wander around for a while, passing and looking at many of the shops selling murano glass before deciding to get the most of our travel card and catching a waterbus to anywhere – we’d end up in some gardens at the east end of Venice, taking some time to chill and take in the scenery while cooling down with the ocean breeze.
We took another boat from there to Lido, a sand bar island just off Venice, not entirely sure what the purpose of it is, but it felt like a different country over there, where the sunshine seemed brighter – it had a Spanish seaside resort kind of feel to it. We walked along the beach there for a bit before having dinner (Pizza) and starting our journey back. The waterbus taking us right round the island as the sun set.