Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Monday, October 29, 2012

V and Venice

Listen to the way an Italian says its name; Venice…  Exotic!
Venice, I love you
The adventure going there was even more exotic.  GPS said turning left and we ended up in the parking lot of a fish market!

Waiting at the ferry terminal

The complete hotel address has been accepted by GPS, but then, where should we go?  Curiously we re-read the hotel direction ‘manually’.  "By car: at the end of the bridge that leads to Venice you will find a sign "Tronchetto ferry-boat to Lido".  The ferry leaves every 50 minutes and journey lasts 35 minutes".

Ferry from the mainland to Lido

Oh la la… The GPS is correct, but we completely unaware that we had to take ferry from the mainland to Venice Lido!

Passing Piazza San Marco


During our stay in Venice, Lido became the choice of where we stayed.  It is for one specific reason; hotels in Lido provide reasonable parking lot.
Piazza St. Mark's from the ferry
Venice Lido is an island, usually just referred to as the Lido. It is the narrow strip of land which separates the central part of the Venetian lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. The atmosphere on the Lido is very different from Venice: it is a regular residential area with restaurants, shops, cars, cyclists, pavements and beaches.

Getting closer to Lido

There are many private beaches which are convenient.  As I observed in the movies, the beaches in Europe is mostly full in sunny days, almost every inch of the beach is occupied by "towels" -J 

But the private beach we went to, the cabin is well organized in lanes. Different size is available depending on how many persons. Location varies; first row facing the sea, second/third row, etc.  Different charges apply.  In average, it could be in the range of 58-100€ per day (for two persons) in summer days. 
Luxurious boat, Venice
How to go to Venice from Lido?  It takes only 20 minute by ferry (water taxi), then we can reach the most famous Piazza San Marco.  We stopped at the pier in front of Danieli Hotel and walked to the Piazza. CNN says, Danieli is one of the  Five lavish hotels in Venice where Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp checked into in The Tourist.

Walking to the Piazza, some street vendors selling souvenirs and the one that attracted me the most is the mask…
Piazza St. Mark's, the two pillars with symbols of  two patron saints of Venice
Piazza San Marco (Saint Mark's Square)

Piazza San Marco is the heart of Venice… It is the principal public square of Venice i.e. the graduation place for everyone visiting Venice!
Graduation corner in Venice
The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark is situated at the eastern end of the Piazza, adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace.  The first Saint Mark's was actually a temporary building in the Doge's Palace which constructed in 828.
Clock Tower
Near there, the Clock Tower which was completed in 1499 stood still.

If I stood near the Clock Tower facing the lagoon and the Cathedral on my left side, I could see the two large granite pillars carrying symbols of the two patron saints of Venice. 

The first is Saint Theodore, who was the patron of the city before Saint Mark, holding a spear and with a crocodile to represent the dragon which he was said to have slain.

The second one has a creature representing the winged lion which is the symbol of Saint Mark.

This guy who's working in a restaurant wanted to take pic with me, ok!
Cute buildings, Venice


Gondola is identical to Venice, as seen in the movies.  Gondola makes Venice even more romantic -J

The gondola is a traditional, flat-bottomed Venetian rowing boat, suited to the conditions of the Venetian lagoon. They were the chief means of transportation and most common watercraft within Venice for centuries.

Rowing around in the Gondola

It is rather expensive to ride them, I cannot recall the exact price, maybe it is around 100€ to row around Venetian lagoon in 30 minutes. But if you only visit Venice once in your life time, to tick the box and in the name of romance, it would be nice to budget it…

The Rialto Bridge

It is called Ponte di Rialto in Italian; one of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal in Venice which is also the oldest bridge across the canal.
Rialto Bridge
Along this famous pedestrian bridge, tourists are just walking around and crossing between San Marco and San Polo, or doing the window shopping as there are some souvenir shops nearby.

The best time to come to here is before the sun set.  Stand in the middle of the bridge facing the canal with San Marco on the left, San Polo on the right and gondola passes below the bridge.
Padlock bridge, Venice
The Mask

Ever since we arrived in Florence, I was attracted to the beautiful Italian masks.

Each mask has its own mystery.  The more I look those masks, the more I notice that there are many types: small, medium, big, white plain, colorful ones with feathers, etc.  Some masks have scary expressions.  The jokers are beautiful but after the second look, mmm….
Masks are everywhere in Venice
I paid attention to their prices, from street vendors to shops. The cheapest one is 2-3€, which is the small plain white mask only to cover the eyes.

The medium to big colorful with feathers is around 10-25€. Similar to this type is available at one of the shops in Rialto Bridge for 8.99€ only.

During a walk tour, Francesca our tour leader took us passing a Mask Factory. This store made gorgeous masks 'handmade' with nice individual designs i.e. they are not mass production.
I listened to her explanation. The black one was used bla bla bla…, the plain white was used by people coming to the casino, the white with long nose is for the doctors - so they do not catch flu!
We came back to this store when the tour was over, and I had good chat with the Mask Master!  He confirmed my observation; each mask has different emotion…  The actor/actress uses the mask to play their role.  Sometimes, some are so attached with their role and cannot leave their mask…

Following to my intuition, I chose this mask.  The Mask Master nodded to my choice.  She looks creative and stunning…
The Best Book Store in the World

As its name, it is the best book store I have ever been the in world! Libreria Acqua Alta is somewhere in the small alley in Castello, Venice.

Best Book Store in the World

The kind owner welcomed me and Mr. Right with big smile, he guided us to go to the back of the store to see the Emergency Exit for fun, up to the stairs which made from books, and we were welcomed to take pics as much as we wanted…

I love this book store! Venice!

His books are stored in big boat and ready to sail in case of the flood.  I love this place!  Inspiring bloggers/writers, let’s visit this best book store in the world! -J 

Classical Music - Le Quattro Stagioni di Vivaldi

In our last evening in Venice, Mr. Right took me to watch an orchestra.   

The orchestra was performed in the main hall of the Scuola Grande Di San Teodoro.  It is ten minute walk from Rialto Bridge.  The house itself is an ancient lovely house with adorned with paintings from 17th and 18th century by Italian painters.
The performance started at 8.30pm sharp, the sound of instruments started and light deemed. The performers dressed up like in the 18th century Venice costumes; six musicians; three violinists, two bassists and a harpsichord (piano forte?).

Le Quattro Stagioni di Vivaldi - Vivaldi's four seasons, the songs represent the four seasons in the year: spring, summer, autumn and winter.  Winter is peppered with silvery pizzicato notes from the high strings, calling to mind icy rain, whereas Summer evokes a thunderstorm in its final movement, which is why the movement is often dubbed Storm.
I can count with one hand, how many times I went to classical music, but I like it…as if it improves my ‘chi’ in Art J

It was already dark when we left the music hall. We were the only couple walking in dark and quiet ancient Venetian alleys.  I could not imagine if I had to walk myself in the dark.  Takut.

Well, okay, we got lost trying to find our way back to San Marco pier. In the dark, a gentleman approached us and asked if we needed any help. We walked together and he showed us the direction, he himself turned left to his destination. Who could imagine that we’re a bit lost in Venice, met a noble gentleman who is also a priest from India and was in Venice for his examination. God bless you.
When it was about to get dark

In the water taxi leaving Venice to Lido, we passed many ancient buildings along the canal. Some of them are very dark. One building was very dark except one window in the high floor was left bright. Was there anyone? I believe some buildings are left unattended, due to renovation? Perhaps the darkness keeps the mystery to be remained in Venice.......

Next posting:
Italy, everything about you is so amazing… Next and final destination is Milan.

Italian food & gelato, sedap!



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