Merry Christmas to all my followers and readers out there! You know who you are and a very Happy New Year to you too!
After seeing first-hand regarding the lack of tourists early in the morning, we woke up super early to get to St. Mark’s Square. There is one sure-fire way on arriving there without having to travel the maze-like narrow streets of Venice — hop on the vaporetto. In order to enjoy this, you must some stay somewhere near to one of the stops or within walking distance.
Try to stay somewhere near the vaporetto stops or within walking distance
We stayed at this elegant hotel, probably the only hotel which was over budget throughout this European tour of ours, known as Hotel Antiche Figure. Nothing beat its location — right across Venezia Santa Lucia. The reason why we chose this hotel? For that you have to ask QS (my sister), she wanted to stay somewhere grand since we are in Venice.
For the price that we paid, the hotel responded in kind. We were allowed to drop off our bags for an early check-in and the bags were delivered to our rooms while we were exploring Venice. Every morning we were given a huge selection of Continental breakfast enough to last till noon. We were also given sweets next to our pillow. Not to mention the view from our room, we were facing the Grand Canal!
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this hotel to anyone who’s keen on budgeting, this would be considered a splurge. We weren’t really planning to visit Venice again in the near future, so why not?
Taking the vaporetto is as easy as 1-2-3, you could either purchase a one-off ticket (€6.50) for an hour of travel, or you could purchase a vaporetti pass in 12-hour increments, which comes up to €18/12H, €20/24H, €25/36H and all the way till 72 hours. All prices are correct for May 2012.
Please make sure that you are on the correct vaporetto stop, since some stops have both to and fro boats. The signs are usually quite clear with large arrows pointing you in the correct direction.
Advice: Certain to-and-fro stops are located alongside each other, some might be across from one another and some might even be on the same dock!
Try to get up early in the morning and find your way to the vaporetto stop either Line #1 or Line #2. Line #1 takes a longer time since it stops at every dock along the way, good if you are planning on a hop-on-hop-off tour. Certain guidebooks would prefer you to ride the Grand Canal around dusk, when the setting sun bathe the surroundings in an earthly glow. But since most tourists would have read that piece, what would have been a nice cruise might turn out to be a mash of bodies struggling to get a good view. To each his own.
Take Line #1 if you are planning for a hop-on hop-off tour along the Grand Canal
We started from Ferrovia (train station) and arrived at St Mark’s Square probably half an hour later. Similar to the day before, the place was devoid of crowds and even queues.
St Mark’s Square
“Why couldn’t I get a nice pretty picture of all the masts and the basilica in focus?” asked the wife.
“Interesting question,” QS chipped in.
If you are wondering why is it so, the next picture will probably explain it further.
If you happen to be in Venice, notice how the dome and the 3 masts pictured here are not in alignment no matter how you take them, at most, you could only get 2 out of 3 in line. But rumor has it that there is one exact spot on the square which allows you to have a better chance at it.
“Standing facing the basilica, look behind you, at around 7 o’clock to 8 o’clock, right between the pillars of the old offices on your left, you will find a coin embedded on the floor,” I pointed.
“It is rumoured that you can get the perfect picture there.”
Tip: I say rumour because I tried standing there, it still isn’t that much aligned, maybe I had my camera too low or too high, but if you managed to get a nice picture, do share it here!
No walking in between the masts if you are superstitious, it is considered bad luck!
Tip: This is more of a superstition rather than tip, but if you are really into these things, please please do not walk in between those masts! It is considered bad luck among the superstitious Venetians.
After an hour or so helping QS and GC with their pre-wedding photos around St Mark’s Square, we boarded another vaporetto back to the hotel. Using that as a calculation, as long as you take 2 or more trips with your Pass, you would have recouped your spendings. So do the calculations yourself, if you prefer to walk then so be it. Do remember that the passes also cover the trip to the islands of Burana, Murano or Torcello.
(to be continued)