Sunday, April 24, 2016

Europe Trip - Stopover in Venice

We boarded the train and it departed Gare du Lyon Station on time. We took the night train to save our time since the journey from Paris to Italy would be long.

The night train that operates between Paris and Italy is Thello Night Train. The train offers soft sleeper and hard sleeper with very much difference in price. After reading the review from 'The Man in Seat Sixty-One', we decided to opt for hard sleeper (couchette) and lower our expectation.

The couchette can accomodate 4 people in bunks. The seat can be turned into lower bunk and the top bunk can be folded towards the wall when unused. The ticket for the couchette cost us EUR 55 (~SGD 85) per person.

Hello from the upper bunk

The compartment was small but tolerable. And most importantly, it was clean. We were quite happy. One bottled water was provided for each person staying in the compartment.

But the hiccup came from another part of the journey, which was the delay. I woke up around 2:00 am and realized the train was not moving. I thought it was stopping at one station and soon would move. I continued to close my eyes.

However, the train does not move till 2 hours later. I went out to the train restaurant and asked the guy who collected our passport, he just told me "3 hours delay, rail problem." and I was supposed to be content with the answer.

We were supposed to have a 14-hour train journey and arrive at Venice Santa Lucia Station at 09:30 am. I did my mental calculation: with 3-hour delay, we would only reach Venice at 12:30 pm, we need to have lunch, and we need to catch the train to Rome at 04:30 pm. With only 4 hours in Venice, what could we do? We have booked the train tickets in advance and got them at the cost of EUR 27 (~SGD 41) per person, so no change of tickets would be allowed.

So, we made a plan. Upon arrival, we would need to move quickly to store our bag before moving to St. Mark's Square. Our initial plan was to take a stroll from Santa Lucia Station to Rialto Market and St. Mark's Square, but due to this unforeseen circumstance, we crossed out that plan and change it. We should take vaporetto (water bus) instead.

01:00 pm, after storing the luggage for EUR 6 (~SGD 9.5) each, we bought the water bus tickets for EUR 7.5 (~SGD 12) per journey per person.

In front of Santa Lucia Station
Walking towards the vaporetto 

We validated our tickets, queued at the jetty, and boarded the water bus. To be honest, I saw the water was kinda dirty and smelly, but this city was so photogenic all photos here turned out to be so magnificent.

Water taxi in sight
Colourful houses, pretty skyline
Seems like every house has its own jetty
Row row row your boat!
Birds flying high
Floating structure in the middle of the water
Venice was believed to be founded by refugees from nearby Roman cities that managed to flee from Germanic and Hun invasion. Together they settled down at the lagoon and built the civilization. From 9th to 12th century, Venice became a city state and expand by conquering other cities in the region. However, life is always like a wheel, Venice's decline started in the 15th century and it was conquered by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797. It was then being passed to Austria and passed back to Italy for a few times until it was officially part of Kingdom of Italy in 1866.

Venice holds millions of beauty but it is going to sink real soon. It is due to the increase in the water level and the subsidence of the soil. Flooding occured like 100 times a year and the soil subsidence is around 2mm per year.

So, visit Venice before it disappears!

Ciao, San Marco
Alighting from the vaporetto

After 30 minutes of pleasant vaporetto ride, we alighted at St. Mark's Square and started our journey. It was 01:30 pm and we had only 3 hours to be back to Santa Lucia.

Doge Palace
The front face of St. Mark's Basilica
Different angle of St. Mark's Basilica 
Front view of St. Mark's Basilica and St. Mark's Square

The basilica was undergoing restoration and it was not as nice as I imagined. This square was very packed with people. The three sides of the squares host shops, restaurants, and cafes. It's very vibrant here.

We quickly chose a restaurant to have our extremely late lunch. To save the time, we took turn to take photo while waiting for the food.

Taking photo in a rush
Basilica, bell tower. blue sky, cafe

After having our quick Italian lunch, it was already 02:30 pm. We only had 1 hour before we need to get back to Santa Lucia Station. We absolutely did not have time for gondola ride.

We spent our 1 hour to walk through the alley, buy some gelato, and take pictures.

Shopping and dining along the alley
Gelato, yuhuuu
Horse statue at the promenade
The jetty, the timber piles!

We did not have enough time exploring, for sure. We only went straight to St. Mark's Square, walked a bit of the alley, and we were done. At 03:30 pm, we boarded the vaporetto back to Santa Lucia Station.

We literally ran to collect our luggages, find the train platform, and board the train.

We were bounded to Rome, finally.

Next - Artistic Rome in the Morning

Love is in the air,
Little Feet

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