Venice Day 3 (Part 2)

With our stomachs full of Italian spaghetti, it was time to walk off the calories. We had half a day ahead and there were still plenty of time. First stop, was Teatro Fenice just 2 blocks away from St Mark’s as the crow flies. We were not in the mood for any theatrical production but was serenaded when a flotilla of gondolas ferrying mainland China tourists passed by. I wonder did they knew what they were singing?

There are plenty of surprises around every corner in Venice

Just around the corner was Santa Maria del Giglio. I guessed I mentioned earlier that Venice is full of churches and what-not hidden around the narrow alleyways. It wasn’t in my itinerary but we had a stop to enjoy the Venetian architecture.

Santa Maria del Giglio (click to enlarge)

Santa Maria del Giglio (click to enlarge)

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Venice Day 3 (Part 1)

Surprisingly, we found ourselves waking up early for all our days spent at Venice. It was to avoid the unnecessary queues and to be able to shoot some tourist-free photos. Any time later and you would have to share the nice photo spot with almost everyone else.

Selection of bread

Selection of bread

We had our second round of photos at the Rialto Bridge and also at the St Mark’s Square. Then my mum turned around to ask.

“Why haven’t we visited the basilica yet?”

There is a trick on how to enter the basilica WITHOUT queuing

“Don’t worry. It is all in the plans.” I replied.

“Oh no, look at the queue!”

Gondolas or gondoli? (click to enlarge)

Gondolas or gondoli? (click to enlarge)

Actually, the basilica is the first thing that most tourist would queue up for when they arrive, either by foot or by boat. Even before the opening hours.

“Why didn’t you tell us to walk faster just now? We’re going to waste time queuing.”

“Let me show you how it’s done. We will take some photos first, my trick starts at 930am,” I replied confidently.

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Starting Anew

I made it an effort to get a new iMac and iPhone for this year’s resolutions and am beginning to see it happening. My new iMac arrived to replace my old 2007 version, so I am in the process of transferring my files and the applications required to run my blog.

Not to mention having to deal with a slightly different OS — Mountain Lion when I’m from the Leopard era.

I will start posting the continuation to the Venice trip soon enough once I worked out the kinks of the new system.

Kickstarter

For those of you that has never heard of Kickstarter, this is the post for you. It is currently in its 3rd year of operations and they have already funded thousands of projects worth millions.

If you have an idea that is viable and you need financial backing, this is the website for you. Hopefully your project gets picked and featured, allowing you to ‘start’ what you have dreamed of all this while.

I have heard of Kickstarter for quite some time now, although I have never really gotten involved with it, most of it was due to the fact that they deal in US$, which is worth about 3 times as much as mine. I was actually searching for a wallet to change my old lumpy one from about 7 years back and I was thinking of having something different, one thing led to another and I found myself staring at this wonderful project, IMHO, on Kickstarter.

Ainste Wallet

Minimalist Wallet

Minimalist Wallet

Doesn’t it look nice? There are a couple more similar ones but I feel that this is the most economical of them all. There is about 1 week left for you to back this project and get one regular size wallet for $35. This would fit nicely in with my new iPhone 5. Oh look, how subtle I made it sound! My new iPhone 5. Haha!

This wallet uses an elastic band to hold the cards and cash in the inner compartment, whilst allowing you to have spare change on the outside. It can also hold your SD card, your thumb drive and at least about 12-16 cards. My only concern was the elasticity of the elastic band and luckily that was solved, when the project manager announced that all wallets will come with an extra band.

Hexels : Settlers of Catan

Modular casing for Settlers of Catan

Modular casing for Settlers of Catan

While having a look around on the website, I found this for my Settlers of Catan game. Anyone having that game would have remembered how time consuming it was to set up the tiles and to make sure they lie flat in the table, with other gamers moving it about while during their turns. But these guys here managed to figure a way to make sure that the tiles stay firmly together perfectly.

What made it stand out was that these tiles could still fit in the box that came with the game! There was a backed project which was made up of 3 big pieces, that were joined together depending on the number of players, it looked pretty nice since it came in wood or aluminum if you so prefer, but it couldn’t fit in the box. This project, on the other hand, does. Which makes it easier to transport and bring around the game wherever you go.

So there you go, these are a couple of projects in which I am a backer. I said am, since the projects haven’t reached their closing dates yet. Both have about a week or so to go, so if you’re interested, do share and join to be a backer!

Venice Day 2 (Part 3)

Was going through my previous posts only to find out that I have been straying a bit from my usual posting style, I’ve forgotten to use the ‘blockquote’ function to highlight a few stuffs. Would probably do a re-edit of the previous posts later.

Anyway, back to Burano. After lunch we had a walk around the touristy area admiring the lace work and the numerous tourists ambling around underneath the hot sun. Then something familiar caught my eye, lo and behold, my parents, GC and QS were here on the island after touring Murano! I would say that our ‘reunion’ caught the eye of many passersby, because we were sharing stories and we looked exactly like 2 different group of people meeting for the first time!

Tip: When you arrive at Burano or any of the islands, please have a look at the departure times before traipsing off, this is to optimize the time you have, rather than to find out later that you have just missed the boat by a few minutes.

Check the departure times when you arrive at Burano or any of the islands. Don’t waste time waiting.

We arrived at the dock for our departure 10 minutes early and there was already a queue waiting to get back to Venice. Do not worry, since there is no priority seating, the vaporetto is a first-come-first-serve service, so be prepared to stand for the duration of the journey.

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Venice Day 2 (Part 2)

There are a few islands around the Venetian lagoon in which you could visit, depending on the time that you have and on what you prefer to do. We were short on time, so the family decided to split up and find their own destination. The choices:

1) Murano – famous for glass making (albeit expensive).

2) Burano – famous for the Pantone coloured buildings and lace (also expensive).

3) Torcello – its church.

4) Lido – for the sun and fun at the beach.

“We’re going to Burano!” exclaimed the wife.

For Murano, Burano and Torcello, we need to depart from Fondamenta Nuove¬†which was just around the corner (sort of) from where we are staying. Knowing the fact that it is pretty easy to get lost along the way, please give yourself ample time to get to anywhere that you’re headed to. We gave ourselves a half-hour headstart and found the place with about 5 minutes to spare.

Tip: In order to lose the crowds, it might be better that you visit Burano first then followed by Murano. Since everyone will be heading for the nearest (Murano) island usually.

The boat was packed with tourists, but we were able to snag a couple of seats next to the window. We were seated opposite a elderly French couple who was eyeing at my equipment. I was setting up my slider for the trip, so there were plenty of screwing and knobbing in front of them. They were curious. So after I had it all done up, I did a slider video of their shoes and showed it to them. Voila! Instant relief! I guess they thought I was fixing up some weapon of some sort.

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