Written & Photos By: Rakhi Singh Gehlote
Since my teens, I had always wished to travel to Venice (Venezia in Italian) which is one of the most romantic city of the world.
My trip to Venice recently, along with my family was an unforgettable experience and every aspect contributed to it to make it the best one – be it my flight journey, the weather, the mood, my kids and water transport in Venice. Everything stood up to the mark.
We took a water taxi from airport to the hotel to get the feel of travelling on water for next three days and also to the fact as everything was alien to us so water taxi could take us to the nearest place of our destination. We reached to the hotel late evening which was at St. Marks Square, a very well known spot with much vibrancy and hustle-bustle. After dinner we had a quick walk around the area and then decided to unwind in time so next day we can head up early.
Waking up from the sound sleep in warm and cozy blanket was difficult but a chosen one. Body was getting signals from mind – Wake up and venture outside! My kids, hubby and myself got ready in reasonable time, if not in a flash. As I stepped outside the hotel, I could see
Venice has got numerous tiniest streets which I found to be mostly flooded with souvenir shops, eating joints or hotels. That says all – it is one of the most popular tourist destination.
Venice is known as the Floating City, City of Canals, City of bridges, City of Gondolas and City of Lagoons. Needless to say, Venice deserves all the names in its honour.
We decided to begin our journey as a footie as long as our legs would support us and could discover some of the interesting attractions. First place to admire was St. Marks lots of people already on the narrow winding streets of this beautiful city, who embarked their journey to exploration of the city well before us.
The Square which was remarked by Napoleon III as – the drawing room of Europe. The open public space for tourists, peddlers and pigeons is surrounded by St. Marks Church which is adorned by romanesque carvings, great arches and marble facade. The Square is not very far above the sea-level and during high water or storm gets flooded.
Beyond that is the Clock Tower and the arcade for shops, cafes and restaurants. I wished to sip some italian coffee while kids were playing with pigeons. There is a narrow street from the square which mysteriously leads to the Rialto area. This is another popular hot-spot for tourists. The Rialto is and has been the financial and commercial centre of Venice. It is also famous for its shopping streets and the Rialto Bridge across the Grand Canal.
Now was the time for most romantic moments – the Gondola ride! My eyes were preying on a black Gondola with red and gold furnishings, lovely flowers and tassles hanging from the chains on both sides of Gondola. And I got one. We started our journey from the Rialto bridge going through the narrow and craziest corners of the Floating City. I was bewildered how cleverly the gondoliers do the 3 point turn in the canal and that too without any fiasco if more gondolas are around.
While under the bridge we were asked to kiss each other as this brings good-luck if one kisses under the bridge. Ah! what a surprising gift. After this romantic ride we started hunting for food as unfortunately our intestines wanted more substantial than mere fun and photos.
Evening we went again to one of the pier for a nice quiet lazy moments and watching the evening getting darker and dim lights getting brighter. The full moon illuminating and the water thrusting to come up and touch us…all exhilarating!
Day 2 was the visit to the island Murano which is famous for its fascinating artistic glasswares and artefacts. The items were irresistible, I got carried away and spent some money on those. We also got to see the demo of hand-painting on glasswares. We visited the local church, lit the candle and prayed. Later, we headed towards Burano Island to see the array of colourful houses in the town and the very famous intricate lacework. A little distorted, stone baked Italian pizza with a couple of wine goblets to gallop – was a treat to our taste buds indeed.
Not every moment is a blessed one – we had to face a heavy downpour (which was predicted any way). My little one was loving the fact that there were so many puddles to splash and play. Well, the rain slashed our plans to be on foot and go across the island, we took the route
back to hotel.
A lovely, warm morning welcomed us next day. It was the last day of our trip, we packed our bags, deposited them at the hotels cloakroom and went ahead to the Lido island.
This place is known for its beaches where many celebrities could be spotted. Just opposite the station, the road across takes to the nearest beach. We hired a bike with two steerings and pedal sets and a roof, in which our family of four could fit easily. It was fun for kids and us too. Cycled all the way to beach, jumped into relatively warm water (which is never in the UK), took some pictures using sky as the backdrop for our camera lens. My daughter and myself collected some shells which I will use in a memorabilia craft for our trip to the floating city.
Venice, I found a very unusual and mysterious city as there are still many questions which I could not get the answer whilst my stay. How do people of Venice cope with so much of water all around, every single day? How do they manage their daily chores, if women have to go out for some work, do they go by gondola all the time, firstly I did not see any woman gondolier. How does the sewerage system works there in Venice? Many such strange questions came to my mind, hopefully will get the answer in my next visit.
Yet it is a beautiful city with so much character to it, so many, crowded narrow streets, tourists in every corner, occasional hoots of vaporati, shouts of local people and gondoliers (I found people of Venice love to talk in loud voice), shops full of glass items, venetian masks and masquerades and souvenirs – a very happening place. I loved it completely!
Alas! my dream came true and I thanked God for this beautiful experience.