Venice is a city like no other! Of course, you already know that. But, to actually be there is also an experience like no other. It was a two and a half hour train ride from Milan (38 euro for the two of us) and to get to the city you have to go over a causeway.
So, over we go! We arrive at the Santa Lucia station and it’s an easy departure right out the main gate and there, in front of us is the Grand Canal! Across the canal we can actually see our hotel. This is the one town we decided to upgrade our hotel so we could be on the canal. All we had to do is simply cross over the Scalzi Bridge, turn right and we would be there less than a minute. There is only one detail that even Rick Steves left out: here is the Scalzi Bridge:
Even our light luggage dreaded this one. Almost instantly we were besieged by guys with carts offering to transport our luggage. Now every tour guide we read had one piece of advice in common: Do not allow yourself to be approached by strangers selling stuff and, if you are, ignore them. So, this is what we did. Instead we lugged everything up each of these steps and down the other side. It was awful. And, these guys followed us right up the steps to make matters worse. But we persevered and finally got everything over. So, here is an addendum to any tour book you read. If you are approached by a stranger wanting to carry your bags over the Ponte Scalzi, pay them!
OK, so here is Venice, famously shaped like a fish:
The train station is at the upper left. Our hotel was across the Grand Canal, the omega shaped ribbon that runs through the city, and, as you can see, most of the streets are water. To get around the city you take a water taxi called a vaperetto, which is this:
They make routine stops up and down the Grand Canal and out to the nearby islands if you take the right one. They are numbered so you know which one to get on. To go the entire length of the canal takes about an hour if you get on one that makes all the stops. They can be incredibly crowded. Would you like to go for a ride? No problem! This is the part of the journey that takes you under the Rialto Bridge:
This is the way to see Venice! Here are some more sights along the way:
The real charm of Venice, though, is the side streets:
So, we took the vaporetto the length of the canal and planned our time here. Then it was back to the hotel. Here is the view out our window:
As it turns out, there was a gondola station right in front of us! In the next chapter we will go on a gondola ride and visit Piazza San Marco. Plenty to see and do! In the mean time I’ll leave you with a view from the room at night: