We found the bed and breakfast and it was beautiful, but it was late and we had a long day of travel so we were eager to get to bed. Both of us woke up early the next morning - not sure if it was from excitement to get out and explore or because it was already hot and there was only one small fan in our room - we ate breakfast, chatted with another traveler, and headed out into the city with cameras, full water bladder, and no plan. We just wanted to wander the city and take it in. It is just as, if not more beautiful during the day as it is at night.
The character, atmosphere, and history of the city are intoxicating. The narrow alleys, cobblestone streets, no cars, canals, and many boats made it seem like a grand adventure, somewhere completely different than anything we had ever experienced before. We meandered through alleys, over bridges, and past many gondolas.
We made it to Piazza San Marco or more commonly known as San Marco Square. It is the main public square in Venice. At one end of the square is the west side of St. Mark’s Basilica lined with great arches and marble decoration. The first buildings in San Marco Square are thought to be built in 819 and change and development continued through the years including pavement in the 12th century. We walked around the square for a bit surrounded by many people, most likely tourists too.
By the early afternoon it was sweltering, but fortunately we made it to the air-conditioned train station to purchase our ongoing tickets to Croatia. After we bought our tickets we made it back into the city and walked the main street through Venice. We used up all our water and much of our enthusiasm for taking pictures. Luckily Venice has water fountains all over the city and we were able to refill our water bladder, which perked us up enough to continuing exploring.
And then it was happy hour time. Since we are on a budget we opted to get some beers at the grocery store and head back to the bed and breakfast to relax and recharge for an evening in Venice. On our only evening in Venice we wanted to find a good Italian meal. We walked up and down the canals trying to find just the right place and enjoying the setting sun. We found a great place with a table right next to the water. The meal was not remarkable, but definitely good pasta, fish, and of course wine. After we treated ourselves to some watermelon ice cream. It tasted like watermelon gum.
Around 11pm we began to look for a night scene to investigate, but amazingly it seemed that the crowds had thinned and that places were closing. Maybe we were in the wrong area, but it seemed that Venice is quiet by night. So we walked a little more and then headed back to get some sleep.
After we gathered ourselves we got onto a water taxi and headed for Murano Island. When we stepped off the boat my first thought was about how hot it was and how unpleasant it was going to be walking around the island with our big packs on. But once we got going and I got used to the sweat pouring off me I was able to take in the beautiful houses. They are similar to those in the main part of Venice, but they are all different colors. There were also tons of little shops selling the glass made there. Murano has been a commercial port since the 7th century and by the 10th century was well known for their specialty of glass. Although Murano glassmakers operate all over, some say this type of glass is only authentic when made on the island.
About an hour later the conductor came by and asked for our tickets and that’s when we learned the bad news. We took the wrong train! There were 2 trains leaving at about the same time, a direct one and an indirect one. Of course, we got on the indirect one, which would take over an hour longer. There was nothing we could do so we just kept reading. When we arrived we bolted for the bus station only to learn that the last bus had left 5 minutes before we got there. We had booked a hostel in Rijeka and there was no canceling it so we tried to find a way to get there. We searched for other bus routes and trains, but there was nothing till the following morning. So we attempted to hitch hike and that didn’t work out. So we gave up and found a hotel, more pizza, beer, ice cream, and treated ourselves to an episode of Game of Thrones.
1) It is not always a good idea to book a place to stay in advance.
2) Check with the conductor, driver, etc. that you are getting on the right train or bus.
Click here to see more photos from Venice