Thursday, 10 November 2011

Venice Day Two

I found it hard to fall asleep the night before. Venetian air is rather humid, which I liked but it was too humid. The female half of the couple opposite me wanted the window shut, presumably to dampen the noise of the valporettos passing by our conveniently located hostel, L'imbarcadero. The heater was turned on full blast and everyone was drying their clothes, wet from the rain. I think I only fell asleep when the heaters shut some time past midnight.

One of the two lounges at the hostel shared accommodation
The other lounge came with a TV
And the kitchen area had a free computer with internet + Wi-Fi which is usually a given at most good hostels
I was awaken by the other handsome guy's alarm and constant shuffling. And upon noticing it hadn't rained throughout his shuffle, I jumped up, got ready and was out the door, kicking my heels along the Grand Canal within 30 minutes! No more photographic frustration!

I headed or more accurately, rushed to Rialto Bridge to get some photos before returning to the hostel in time to check-in into L'imbarcadero's private double en-suite as a friend was to join me later that day. The double en-suite was double the price I thought it was! At €35ppp I was taken aback. But I consoled myself after looking around the accommodation; it came with a large double bed; ample cupboard space which we didn't need; a large bathroom complete with jacuzzi, washing machine and weighing scale; a decent shared kitchen; and a large living area with a piano. The biggest downside was the lack of Internet access. But it was good to be able to be a little more carefree with my stuff.

The rustic shared living area in the private accommocation
None of the other tenants lounged here which made sense seeing they did book a 'private' room
There was a musty smell and looking around, one got the impression it was probably a family home beforehand
Right: The main entrance and our room door
Left: A shower-toilet, another room
Behind: Another room and a hallway leading to the shared kitchen

The Other Room
Not en-suite but presumably the toilet off the living room belonged to the tenants of this room
The only place in this house with a TV! Not that I really wanted to watch TV.
Our Room with a grander bed frame and large redundant cupboards to the right
Our en-suite
A well-equipped toilet
Maybe this is why I had to pay 10 euros more than when I stayed in the hostel... Hahaha..
I wanted to ask the girl at the hostel looking for a washing machine to come over to do her laundry just to make use of it!
The lovely back garden which we could only admire but not enter
The shared kitchen
With hindsight, it would have been nice to have bought some fresh seafood from Rialto's pescharia (fish market) and made use of the kitchen!
Walking around Venice was quickly wearing me down; although it wasn't difficult getting from A to Z, it was still tiring dodging in and out of various alleyways. I tried to buy a 72 hour pass but was easily dissuaded by transport staff. They were on strike on Monday but at least the valporettos still worked between the major stations and tourist sites. I got a 72 hour pass PLUS a ticket for the water boat to the airport for €36 which I thought was OK considering I planned on doing a quick visit to Murano famed for it's glass making. In the bygone days, a master glass maker from Murano could only leave the island by way of death. This allowed Murano to keep it's glass making technique a nice secret.

WTH is a valporetto???
This is a valporetto - the Venetian metro service
Riva de Biasio
Our local valporetto station outside our door which encouraged laziness to walk
Murano was a tranquil little island. Much like the city centre of Venice but with less people. I suppose with the grey weather, it was even quieter. After much walking, I finally found a glass demonstration workshop which I had to pay €5 to watch. Oh well. At least he made a glass vase and a glass horse coloured blue by cobalt. At least, she showed me the possible consequences should I have touched either items; it look like I'd have spontaneously combusted. And, she told me both items would be turned into recycled glass which they'd use again because a properly made item would be kept in an oven to cool for 24 hours, or it'd crack from cooling too quickly.

Back in Venice, I still had a bit of time to kill so I went to Plazza San Marco for quick snaps of Basillica San Marco and the Doge's Palace. Torrential rain was forecasted in the next two days. I wasn't sure when I could snap either! But then, it continued drizzling and I had to rush to meet my friend.

Bellini - an alcoholic cocktail consisting of peach juice and sparkling white wine
Tasting very much like juice, one is in great danger of downing the drink unintentionally
Concocted by Cirpriani, the founder of Harry's bar where Ernest Hemingway loved to hang out
Ah, we forgot to have a drink/eat at Harry's Bar...
Taken from

Spaghetti con il Nero di Seppia
Squid ink spaghetti
Contrary to my friend's impression of this dish, I thought it looked appetizing and looked forward to eating it!
The squid was nicely cooked and very tender
Taken from as my friend has all the pictures at the moment

The mouth watering sarde in saor
Taken from
The arrival of my friend meant dinner with company and I lost the 'L for Loser' sign on my forehead, although I feel other people are more aware of it than I am. We shared a starter of delicious Venetian sardin soer whilst I had the pitch black spaghetti con il Nero di Seppia downed with a lovely glass of Bellini. Sardin soer is a dish of fried sardines which we suspect is cooked with onion seasoned with either lemons or vinegar; it looked so simple but was probably the best dish I had in Venice. The squid ink spaghetti was tasty but eventually got a bit saltyyyy... And the deceptive peachy taste of the bellini got me whoozy by the end of dinner. Walking home across Venice was seen to be an absolute chore in our relaxed state but thank goodness for the valporettos.

Sleep was absolutely welcomed. Lying in bed, I thought about the highlights of my day before drifting off to sleep:

1) Stumbling across a little alleyway in Cannaregio along the grande strada which was drenched by the acqua alta. This lead onto a flooded wooden dock and I felt like I was standing IN the Grand Canal itself. I watched the traghettos set off nearby; another tourist took pictures of me standing on the dock but not daring to wander too far out herself; observed half eaten apples an oranges float across my feet; when two servicemen came rolling a washing machine into the low tide towards me to load in their boat. I was intrigued by them and they, by me.

2) Again stumbling across a queue of locals catching a traghetto down stream the Rialto bridge at San Silveatro when they learnt there were valporetto strikes. At 50 cents, I got to indulge myself in standing on a treacherous and rocky traghetto trip 10 metres across the Grand Canal whilst the locals hardly flinched. It is customary for the passenger to stand although tourists are ignorant of this fact and (probably wisely) have a sit.

And, I realised in all my busy-ness and excitement for Venice, I hardly thought of him on day two.. It was a tiring but great day out. The six rolls of film has been dropped off and let's hope there are good photos a plenty.

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