We left Padua train station with mixed feelings. I felt sorry to leave so soon, but also excited that we were finally going to Venice, the last destination in our trip. Till that moment, during our journey we had a cold rainy time in Zurich, a lovely sunny day in Lugano, spent four amazing days at Lake Como – visiting Menaggio, Bellagio, Varenna and Tremezzo, enjoyed few hours in Milan, visited family and the gorgeous city of Turin, met the Bravest Girl in Cremona, froze in Mantua, felt like canned sardines at Juliet’s House in Verona, and listened to one of my favorite songs in Padua train station.
The train ride lasted around 30 minutes. I was so excited, so I kept my nose clinging on the window 🙂 . After Venezia Mestre station, a long bridge was tying the beautiful lagoon to the mainland. Crossing that bridge seemed to me like an eternity, as I was so anxious to spot some of the main landmarks.
Finally, we arrived at the train station – Venezia Santa Lucia. As we were exiting the crowded station, we found ourselves lost in the front of an ocean of people. The warm humid air, and the strong scent of mold which was covering the Grand Canal gave the old city a sweaty look. All tourists were rushing to cross the canal, so walking to our accommodation with huge and heavy backpacks was quite a challenge! 🙂
Surfing trough the waves of people which were trying to fit on the narrow dark streets made me a bit nervous. The curious thing about Venice was that many canals or alleys do not have names. So how can you find your accommodation or the main sites? Well with a map of course (for the technology addicts the GPS), or following the directions hanging on the buildings which sound like this “To Rialto Bridge”, “To San Marco”, and so on.
After our check-in, it was quite late, so we followed the advice of the receptionist and decided to have just a short walk to Piazza San Marco (which was few steps away from our hotel) and after to admire the sunset from Punta Della Dogana.
Walking slowly as our feet were crying out of pain (due to the long walk we previously had in Padua), we crossed a dark grey passage, and suddenly we started hearing thousands of souls squeezed in the elegant square of San Marco. Now, close your eyes, and imagine yourself in Venice, in front of San Marco Cathedral, taking a memorable picture of yourself while feeding the greedy pigeons. Ready? Well… keep on imagining! As this will NEVER happen :)))). The square is so packed with nervous tourists, angry vendors and queues for everything – like a table at the famous Caffe Florian, a 2km long queue for visiting the San Marco Basilica, a 3 km long for the Clock Tower and another 1.5 km long for the Doge’s Palace. Oh… and I forgot to add the one from Correr Museum :P.
In spite of the whole tourist craziness, while standing on my toes (yes, I admit, I proudly posses the height of a dwarf 🙂 ) and protecting my ribs of the rage of the greedy visitors I could not let myself unimpressed by the square’s beauty. The columns which surrounded the square were looking tired after bearing for hundred of years the weight of much beauty. With one eye, while avoiding a frontal collision with someone’s elbow, I could admire the bronze horses on the basilica’s sumptuous balcony, who once used to guard the old city of Constantinople. In the middle of the square, the Clock Tower was being overwhelmed by the tourist’s curiosity. Soon, we realized that our battle was already lost, so we left towards the Punta della Dogana. Like slippery snakes, we crawled through the airless narrow streets and, while were walking away from the main square, the streets and the canals were getting empty. In a small but cute piazza, I was even able to admire a young father, while teaching his son to bike.
We crossed the Ponte dell’ Accademia over the Grand Canal, and that was the first time when I felt my heart beating for Venice… it was love at 2nd sight :). The gorgeously illuminated palaces, the approaching night, the warmth, the tourist’s rush… everything made it look perfectly imperfect.
Soon we arrived at Punta della Dogana. Right on time to watch one my favorite show of lights – the naughty sunset. As we were sitting on the concrete triangle, we had a lovely view of the lagoon – to the left, Piazza San Marco and the Doge’s Palace, and to the right the Giudecca Island. It felt so calm to admire Venice quietly, holding hands with my loved one, while the weak lights of sunset were wishing us “sweet dreams”.