Europe 2.0 – Day 13 9 June

Today is the second and final day in Venice! We woke up late at 9am due to our late night adventures the previous night. Our quick breakfast consisted of YS’s bread with some spread that I took from Turkish Airlines hahaha! And by 10am we were out and about!

(note: the previous paragraph was written on the day itself and the following on the next day…)

The ‘highlight’ for this day would definitely be how we missed our flight the silliest way possible. And to think me, missing an aeroplane?! SO RIDICULOUS! and YES IT WAS! BLOODY HELL SILLY THIS INCIDENT! And so careless we were! We left our backpacks in a baggage deposit that closed before we could pick it up. And by the time the operator returned, the aeroplane already flown.

And what happened to us in the meantime? OK so at 10pm we happily alighted the water bus and made our way to Piazzle Roma, where we will take the 2230h airport shuttle and then set up camp until our 0530h flight arrives.

Unfortunately I saw the dim lights of the shop as we approached it, and my heart sank. When we came in front of it, it is confirmed – the shop is closed.

Later we asked the shop owners nearby for help, asking them for a number that we could call. Too bad nobody knew anyone whom we could contact and everyone was pretty stoic and unsympathetic towards our situation. A few persons helped to call the number stated on the glass window of the shop but there was no answer. Probably an office number.

Then we started to consider finding the police because they may know who owns the establishment, or suggest ways that we could retrieve our belongings. Although they tried to offer more help than the others, they were also unsympathetic and told us to find a new route/that this isn’t the world’s biggest problem (something to that extent). I could empathise with their lack of empathy – this problem could be easily circumvented as long as we have time and money, so perhaps we appeared to be overly dramatic or exaggerative.

However, in my mind, I was only concerned with the absurdness of the whole situation. How we planned everything so carefully and yet a mistake still popped out at this small loophole. We both prayed for a miracle but alas there was no solutions. Even the police gently let us know that the station was about to close (we asked if we can stay inside but they told us that the train station is our best option). I couldn’t accept the situation even when we were waking towards our space that we’ll make ourselves a resting point for the entire night until dawn. I was so sad, disappointed, angry and in disbelief the entire time. I felt that we were receiving retribution for something bad we may have done. Eg. Taking photos inside St Marks Basilica.

But I digress. When the police has also given up on us, the reality of the whole situation dawned upon me – it was no longer about finding a way to retrieve our bags, but to find an alternative route to take. For the night, we wanted to spend it inside the Venezia Santa Lucia station but it was closed at around midnight so we had to wait outside.

The night was chilly and YS was frequently worried about our safety. We took our spot next to other people who had no shelter to return to, some for tonight (like us) but the rest perhaps for a long time.

I spent the first few hours deleting unwanted photos from my DSLR as my phone has already ran out of battery to be of any use. YS was editing photos. I managed to get some sleep by lying on YS’ shoulder but felt bad after a while, so we stayed up until 0420h, ie. the time of the first bus shuttle to the Venice airport… (TBC)

Anyways, for the sake of recording the day’s events down: On our second day we left out backpacks at the baggage deposit shop, not knowing that it was a mistake. We bumped into fellow RJ batchmates in the queue and was extremely delighted that we had this fate to catch up with them after 3 years or so.

First we headed to Basilica Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (long name heh) but an entrance fee was required so we appreciated at the line where the set up to bar non-paying visitors like us. A few 100m ahead was the Leonardo da Vinci museum and in its vicinity, we had lunch at an affordable restaurant that hires Chinese waitress who spoke fluent English and Italian. I was SO ENVIOUS of them. We shared a chicken fillet and lasagne.

Over lunch, I found out about San Giorgio and it’s glorious views of Venice. We decided to give it a go despite not having our vaporetto passes anymore… (Sooo basically we ‘jumped gate’ and thankfully were not exposed for doing so.)

As lauded by many forum members in TripAdvisor, the elevator is a life saver, as I would find out on later parts of my trips (because the trips up some bell towers takes a lot of courage and physical fitness). And BAM GREAT VIEWS! GREAT BREEZE! šŸ˜€ We had a refreshing 360 degrees view of Venice and its surrounding island.

After coming down, we visited the church (SAN GIORGIO MAGGIORE), which I feel may be the entire point of this island (since there was nothing else)! We walked by the river front where many yachts were parked, took photos with lighthouses and headed back to mainland to visit ST MARK’s BASILICA.Ā  Wore shorts so I had to pay for a piece of cloth (which would later shield me from the chilly night) and later we also paid to see the PALA D’ORO.

Then we googled for gelato and found ourselves at GELATO FANTASY! Our research paid off because this gelateria doesn’t just sell gelato; it sells fantastic gelato, as its name suggests. We each had a cone with the same flavours – chocolate and tangerine and sat by a river while we finished our gelato.

Later we visited the DOGE’s PALACEĀ and also rented an audio guide. Similar to Versailles, many rooms in the palace had beautiful wall paintings and frescoes that took a lot of time to identify and appreciate. But I learnt a lot about how this palace, the political system of Venice in the past and how the artists designed the interior. The highlight was walking through the bridge of sighs and seeing the outside world like prisoners in the past did… :/ (By the way, people from the outside can’t tell who, or if someone is crossing the bridge.)

For dinner we have take-away seafood pasta, which tasted super delicious because the seafood taste was so strong and there was generous serving of seafood for an affordable price. We sat by the river while enjoying our meal. Later we walked back to Piazzale Roma through CANNAREGIO, a lovely neighbourhood that I read about on TripAdvisor… We were afraid to arrive late for the airport shuttle and decided to ‘illegally’ use the vaporetto again, not knowing that a bigger worry lies ahead…


Europe 2.0 – Day 12 8 JuneĀ 

Today we left Florence for Venice! It’s my second time here and from what I last rmb, the city seemed to have aged šŸ˜¦ 

Getting over to Venice was uneventful hahaha! We arrived at Venezia St Lucia station and find the accoms in no time upon reaching. =) First we headed to the Murano and Burano islands. The price for transportation is very steep – 20 euros for a one day pass. And it’s very necessary because unlike local water buses in Venice mainland, there is someone checking tickets for the non-local trips. 

Once again we skipped lunch and so by 2pm+, we were in our first stop, Murano. Unlike popular beliefs, it is very, very possible to do both islands if you have at least 3-4h to spare! And since the daylight is long in summer period, even better! You could head out easily in the evening and return when the sun sets, as long as there’s scheduled water buses available. I find that it takes around 1h to the further island (Burano) from Venice and vice versa. 

We got off at the wrong stop in Murano but it turned out good because we could appreciate the island while walking to the correct stop. Most shops were selling glass products, a special local product for Murano (and for Burano, it is lace).

I realised that the islands have their appeal because the buildings are shorter and the network isn’t as complicated as mainland. It feels like walking through a really small and quaint town. 

From Murano we took a connecting water bus to Burano and Yue Shan was immediately thrilled by the colourful houses! I was pleasantly surprised that they made the citizens paint their houses in bold colours like pink and purple. Most of them also grow beautiful potted flowers outside their windows, or had small gardens if they have a backyards. Several houses placed benches or chairs for tourists to take photos with. The best houses were the ones with matching colour combinations for their walls and features (like Windows or their flowers). 

Considering the expensive ride here, yue shan ate bread for lunch and I bought one slice of pizza. =/ but we ate by the river which made the food taste better. =P

On going back, we witnessed a white lady arguing with a Chinese lady over a seat in the outdoors section of the water bus. (it’s a long story, ask me about it irl thanks HAHAHA!)

The evening was slightly stressful because yue shan wanted to return to the accoms ASAP and I had plans of doing night photography after the sun set (earliest would be 9pm). I promised to walk her back but later decided otherwise as she wanted to have takeout for dinner whereas I wanted to enter an eatery for a proper meal (since our lunch wasn’t v impressive.) 

In the end she compromised as she didn’t want to stay in the accoms by her own, and would rather risk staying out in the night w me. As she was really hungry by 7pm, I quickly asked Google maps for recommended dinner options and we were led to a decent osteria, where we ate in the outdoors. We shared a calamari platter and a tuna pizza, extremely satisfying! 

Then we walked around, for example in the area of the rialto bridge and by the grand canal. Eventually we came to St Marks square and I was super thrilled that many professional mini orchestras were playing music! For free as long as you could stand and watch. I was super moved by their music and the whole experience that I teared up. :’) Around me, some couples danced in cool weather, perhaps never in a long time for some of them. 

We walked back at around 11pm and reached our accoms at 12. It was really a special night .