2 Days in Venice
Day 1: Piazza San Marco, City Tour, Glass Blowing Demonstration, St. Mark’s Campanile (aka the bell tower)
After we bid farewell to our Contiki friends, we had another full day in Rome before we caught an overnight train to Venice! We came up with the bright idea to take a few overnight trains on our trip in order to save some money on our accommodation costs. Our experience on the first sleeper train wasn’t too bad – we shared our compartment with two other people, and arrived in Venice just after 6:30 am. We caught the water bus, and watched the sunrise as we headed to our hostel, which was located on the island of Giudecca, just across the channel from the main square in Venice, San Marco Square.
We arrived at our hostel (Generator Venice), and immediately loved the atmosphere. We couldn’t check in yet, so we found a little corner to freshen ourselves up, then it was off to San Marco Square to meet up with the Contiki friends we had just said goodbye to the day prior – the Contiki group that were heading to London were also heading to Venice after Rome, so when our tour manager heard we were coming to Venice on our own, he told us we could meet up with the group to join them for an afternoon of sightseeing! Of course, we couldn’t say no, and we happily reunited with our friends to tour around the city. We spent the first few hours in Venice with our friends touring around the city, and even went to a glass blowing demonstration. The afternoon flew by, and before we knew it, it was time to once again say goodbye. Several hugs later, we were back on our own.
We wasted no time though, and the next thing we knew, we were at the top of the city’s iconic St. Mark’s Campanile (aka the bell tower) in San Marco Square. We ended up at the top just in time to witness the giant bells go off to mark the new hour – they rang for over 3 minutes!
After the bell tower, it was time to head back to the hostel, check in, and take an earlier night. We hung out in the hostel bar/restaurant for a bit, then it was off to a well deserved sleep.
Day 2: Gondola Ride, Murano, Pizza Dinner
The next day, we enjoyed our typical €3.50 hostel breakfast which consisted of fruit cocktail, croissant-like buns, yogurt, cereal and coffee, then headed back to the water bus and into Venice. The city hadn’t filled up with tourists yet, so it was really nice to just wander around the emptier streets and alleys, and just take in the beauty of this floating city. After we finished with our wandering, we wanted to check out the city from a different perspective – it was gondola time! Our favourite part of the gondola ride was definitely going out into the Grand Canal. The serenade cost extra, so we saved our driver the trouble and just spent the time taking in the sites and sounds of Venice waking up for the day. It was perfect.
After our gondola ride, we witnessed the effects of a mild high tide in Venice (it can get much worse), and San Marco square had begun to fill with water. After successfully crossing the square on the elevated platforms used in cases of flooding, we took advantage of our water bus passes by catching the water bus to the island of Murano, where Murano glass originated. We toured around the glass shops, and ate some fantastic pizza in the back garden patio of a local pizzeria.
By the time we finished touring around Murano, we had just enough time to go back to our hostel, collect our luggage, and head to the train station to catch our second overnight train of the trip to Salzburg, Austria! This time we would be sharing our tiny 6 ft x 8 ft sleeping compartment with 4 other people… Stay tuned!