From the moment you step out of the train station in Venice, you know that no place is the same. The roads are made of water and all that but no one can imagine it the way it really is! We stayed in a nice, tiny place that was off the beaten path that the masses of tourists have carved out. It was in an authentic neighborhood with a crumbling facade on the front of the building and dark green shutters. However, the inside of the apartment was probably recently redone and modern, with a very effective use of the limited space. At the vaparetto biglietti stand we got 5 tickets for 48 hours of transportation. This was a good decision since with 5 people (Josephine is free) riding the vaparetto, which is a bus that is a boat, it would cost about €30 each time! We took the vaparetto to our little neighborhood, dumped our 2 bags, found an alementari (supermarket). We had a nice dinner squeezed around the table and took a walk in search of some ice cream. Eventually we found that, as well as some nice pictures, the padlock bridge, and a feel of Venice for our first night.
There is so much to see in Venice that we got out of the door early aiming for the piazza San Marco. We got there with the vaparetto and walked into the amazing square. The church is beautiful from the outside, with each arch magnificently painted and elaborately carved into patterns. To see all of the little intricate details would take years! Before seeing all of these sites we learned how the Venetians wanted a special church and looted the city Constantinople for the treasures. The line for the church stretches incredible lengths! However, in one of the little back alleys we could drop off our backpack, get a ticket, and not wait at all! This was highly efficient because we only have 46 hours and definitely don’t want 2 of them to be spent in a line. The dress code is strict: no knees or shoulders. If you are showing either or both they wrap you in this cloth that looks like a burlap sack and you have to walk around holding it up like a towel. Thankfully we came appropriately dressed! The church is gorgeous, it is just something you have to see if you are in Venice.
Once we came out we poked around… You don’t always have to run from one site to another! After a must-see we just walked along the water and watched the black gondolas bob around in the dock. We had a quick snack in the garden and found our way to the Jewish ghetto. This was the first Jewish ghetto ever, actually designated as one in 1516. The duce (leader) separated the Jews onto this one undesirable area as a compromise between the anti-Semitic and the Jews. This was near an iron foundry, thus getting the name ghetto for the Italian word geto, meaning foundry. We had lunch there. A very cheap way to eat we found, was to get bread that morning and simply 200g of cheese and 200g of mortadella. Stick it into the backpack and we eat for under £15 for 6 people!
We walked through the market admiring the fresh fish section and the bright vegetables, most grown locally. The simple life and sites are sometimes the ones you remember most of all. The island of glass, Murano, was also a memorable experience. We arrived and were ushered into a store by a sales-manager for tour through the rooms and rooms of masterpieces. It was amazing, but only when our hands were clamped to our sides in order to not break a €10,000 piece! He led us to a glass blowing demonstration and we watched a master turn a glowing yellow lump on a rod turn into a beautiful horse in a matter of seconds. Although hypnotized by their beauty, we made a responsible choice not to buy a masterpiece and decided instead on necklaces from the less expensive stores!
Way too soon enough our hours in Venice were spent. The sights and sounds of the boats chugging their way through the tiny canals and the laundry blowing in the wind, suspended over the water lapping the stone were one-of-a-kind. The gorgeous church and other things we experienced were just as unique as the city itself.