I just recently spent one magical day in Venice for our educational student tours. Looking at hotels and restaurants has never been such a pleasure! Once I had bought my 12 hour vaporetto pass I was reminded me of what a buzz this place is. It sure beats the subway.
But first things first.
The arrival is such an event! Whether you arrive at the station or the airport, you are in for a treat. The sheer novelty of it all, no matter how many times you have been here, takes your breath away. I arrived by air from London. If you are lucky enough, you can catch the view of San Marco, the Campanile, Rialto bridge and the fish shape of Venice from the air. It is stunning!
On a clear day in December, the snow on the Dolomites stands out in the distance. I always like to take the water taxi in. It is expensive but it has to be one of the greatest rides in the world. From airport to city center is about 35 minutes.
The journey across the lagoon is pretty bumpy. In the distance the islands of Torcello, Burano and Murano stand out. The boats usually drop into the main hub of Venice proper around the back of the Arsenal and then shortly after there is that magical moment when you enter the Grand Canal and see San Marco and the church of Santa Maria della Salute. It’s quite extraordinary.
Venice is a city to walk and to ride the public boat system. It is fun and efficient, and frankly, the best sightseeing in the world is probably done from the station to San Marco along the Grand Cana. I wandered through the back streets of the Rialto, stumbling upon places and palaces that I had never seen before.
I took a quick visit to the Peggy Guggenheim museum just before it closed. It is an absolute delight especially if you like Picasso. Wished I had more time but had to get back to London for a meeting.
When I landed back at the water taxi pier to return to the terminal building at Marco Polo I noticed something I missed on arrival. The walk to the terminal building is not short and the roadway is poor for wheeling bags and carriages along. It is only partially sheltered and badly lit. I can’t imagine managing this little walk if I had two big bags and I had just come off an overnight flight. The going price for porterage from the pier to the terminal building is about 35 Euros a bag…honestly…they have got to be kidding.
There is a poster complaining bitterly that work has been held up developing a moving walk way because of bureaucratic wrangling since…2003. Wow. That’s a lot of wrangling!
When I asked somebody what the holdup was, they said that the porters did not want to lose their revenue stream. But when I asked the porters how business was, they told me it was bad to non-existent, but the moving walkway would threaten their livelihood!
So, nothing changes. And really that is the absolute charm and delightful frustration of travel in Italy. Chaos, confusion and beauty. All mingled into one fabulous dish! Radicchio treviso a la grigila, black ink cuttlefish with risotto, razor clams in oil and garlic, and spider crab with spaghetti and zucchini. Food along with a few other things thrown into the mix! And the gondolas float by as real today as they were 500 years ago. How grateful I am that I got to pass through here.