St. Mark’s Square
Venice is one of the most popular places commonly associated with romance, love, and the beauty of it all. For someone who loves the idea of love and its fantasies, it is normal to have certain expectations of how this city would charm you.
September, 2010. During the last few days of my trip, I decided to make way and have a quick visit to Venice. A place that someone like myself shouldn’t miss, I thought to myself.
When I first arrived at the Venice central train station, I noticed that people were putting on their jackets and there was a bit of a rainfall. I had to wait for the rain to stop and be greeted with the gloomy weather.
Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten my weather mail and missed the forecast that day. Without accepting that it’s probably going to pour, I left my big bulky bag at the station and just took a few important stuff with me that I thought I would need in this quick overnight stay. By a few important stuff, I meant summer clothes. Fitting, right? No. The cold, I had to bear. I was in denial. 🙁
As this was included in my so-called “summer month vacation”, one could expect to get that warm welcome from the summer sun while completely falling in love with the beauty of Venice. Instead, rain showered all over like as if it didn’t for a decade.
Was summer already over?
The rain eventually stopped and finally, it was time for me to look for my hostel and later on start exploring the lovely Venice. As much as I wanted to say that it was an easy hunt, it was ridiculously tiring and confusing to look for it. My hunger and the gloomy weather didn’t help either.
But just like everybody else, it didn’t bother me to find my way around. I did, together with the thousands of tourists.
After playing hide and seek, I finally found my hostel, A Venice Fish. It was located in one of the old buildings a few canals away from the train station. I chose this hostel because I didn’t have the luxury of time to spend on a water taxi for the day after’s departure. It was my best bet, location-wise. Comfort-wise, well… It is a party hostel. And for someone who still tends to get shy, quite reserved, and finds comfort in cozy, this isn’t the perfect place (at least for the night). But still, it’s strategically located (15 minute walk away from the train station and everywhere else) and pocket-friendly. They offered a free pasta for dinner which I unfortunately missed. It’s an acceptable place for someone who needs a place to crash in for the night. A great place to be very sociable, to hangout, and sort-of-party. But yeah, it’s way too cool for me. 😀
I would spend the rest of my day walking around, taking pictures of the different lovely canals, getting excited with the passing gondola, waving at its passengers, chilling with my light jacket, getting soaked, finding refuge inside the church and praying for the rain to stop, visiting St. Mark’s Square (San Marco Square), waiting for the rain to stop again, then visiting St. Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco), Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale), Rialto, Grand Canal, getting lost, getting found, getting soaked again, and getting lost even more.
Making my way to Rialto
The Grand Canal
Basilica di San Marco
A very long queue at St. Mark’s Basilica (that I later joined in)
I spent a good amount of time wandering around St. Mark’s Square and managed to end up on the same spot more than twice, which isn’t ideal when you keep looking for another (albeit the same) thing. This is the thing I don’t like about quick stops, losing time and thinking about it too much that you tend to miss the humor of it. Oh, and add that the rain didn’t help me at all.
I also paid a quick visit to St. Mark’s Basilica after waiting for my turn at that very long queue. I took as much time to reflect inside as I was really bothered with how I was feeling in my visit to Venice. The basilica is really beautiful, but I had to jet off to the Doge’s Palace while I still can. It was getting late and I knew it would take some time before I could visit Venice again.
The Doge’s Palace is huge and extravagant. It’s only fitting that the Doge of Venice lived here, it’s so grand that a room is probably bigger or worth more than where I actually live. Can’t recall how come I don’t have any photos of the interior. Either it wasn’t allowed or I didn’t bother (due to time constraint).
Please enjoy some of the photos below.
I was one of the last few who left the Palace. It was pouring outside and I didn’t want to get soaked. The story went on but just like everyone else, the rain didn’t stop me to move on and see the day disappear and see more of Venice before heading back home.
A view of San Giorgio, from Venice
I would go on walking around after dinner when the rain had finally stopped again. Stumbling into different darker canals and fortunately coming back to the more popular/people-friendly ones (by that, I mean more light+people).
Not so Italian, eh?
Grand Canal at Night, by the Rialto
I would end up quite frustrated with the rain, tired, and excited for the morning to arrive so that I could leave for my 6 am train to Milan. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to experience that magical feeling of the so-called old Venice charm, the undying city romance, the tingling feeling in the stomach. Rain flushed the city down right before my eyes and distracted me from seeing what I thought would’ve been great, lovely, and surreal. I almost always see beauty in small things, in simplicity, in history, and I know that I would’ve fallen in love with Venice. But to be honest, I actually “tried” yet I ended up feeling otherwise. The buildings are great and their ability to preserve how the city looked like is fascinating. But the “feeling” didn’t happen for me.
Do I sound bitter right now? Hehe, sorry about that!
Nevertheless, my experience in Venice is still something worth remembering. Although it would’ve felt better if it was a warm hug rather than a cold snob. 🙂 It also made me think that having expectations could sometimes cloud our ability to have a new perspective. But sometimes, when things happen inevitably, it’s the exact opposite in which these expectations destroy the idealistic fantasy and give us something to think about. I wonder, how would this city look like without the tourists? And with sunshine? Because after this trip, I now know how it does with the opposite. 🙂
1. Places to see are:
a. Around St. Mark’s Square: Bell Tower, St. Mark’s Basilica and Doge’s Palace
b. Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge
c. Venice itself, as a whole. It’s Old City charm is quite fascinating, with all the canals, gondolas, and hopeful lovers walking around! I’d suggest to see it on a good sunny weather–I will once I get the chance! 😉
2. I read that Venice sinks by a few mm/year. So if you fancy visiting, then you should before it’s gone! Don’t go on rainy season though. In case you missed it, just search for news and photos of it when it was flooded.
3. If you’ve seen and liked Venice, then you would LOVE Brugge. 🙂 I will post about is eventually.