Venice

[error]Where are all the cars…[/error]

Venice has been in so many movies but my earliest memory has to be Moonraker with Roger Moore! His petrol powered Gondola going through the waterways of this magnificent city whilst being chased by a speedboat welding a man with a gun!

Then at the end of the sequence he ends up with his really poorly made hovercraft Gondola in Piazza San Marco, I never thought I’d actually visit this place and hasn’t really appeared on my list of “places to visit” but the British Airways Sale was too much for me and I ended up booking some cheap flights across the Continent to land at Marco Polo airport.

[success]Visit…[/success]

First place I wanted to visit was the Piazza San Marco, which translated is St. Marks Square. Now this is the place that stands out for me from all of the travel programs, films, tv series, you name it! The place is littered with fantastic restaurants with outside orchestra’s, bands and entertainment. Forget Covent Garden in London, this is thee place. I had a very nice sit down with a beautiful tasting coffee whilst listening to some classical, yet comical music (difficult to explain). I was charged €6 just for the sit down and before the coffee but was worth it just to soak up the ambience.

Got to the top of Campanile di San Marco for some amazing views of the lagoon, don’t dispair you don’t have to climb steps there is an elevator but if you do feel claustrophobic, like myself, then the stairs are just fine. I took my Canon 7d with a Sigma 7mm lens to the top for some weird and wonderful angles, I will post these at a later date for you all to see.

The other “Must See” place is the Rialto bridge (Ponte di Railto), this is the landmark that truly is seen in all of the travel programs, the real logo of Venice. The bridge has some amazing stalls on it from gold shops to Venetian masks, there are plenty of market stalls to visit some of which, you really do need to avoid.

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[info]Eat at…[/info]

I love Italian Food! I simply live off Pizza and Pasta so visiting Italy really is the place of food for me! My first hunger attack took me to a Pizza place next to the Rialto Bridge, Funghi (Mushroom) Pizza and it tasted amazing and cost me no more than €2.50! Absolute bargain, from the Pizza base to the cheese, it melted in my mouth.

I had to have Gelato from one of the stalls later on and I chose a small place on one of the back streets, Cherry! That, apart from Pizza is another one of my weaknesses. The Ice Cream was great and well needed as the temperature was high and again very reasonable.

Finally in the evening, I hit the pasta (with pizza), not really sure what I ordered but it was not far from the Grand Canal and to the north of the Rialto bridge. I’m not an Olive fan and this pasta had a few too many for my like, yet I completed it all with a glass of Red Wine which I believe was of the local variety.

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[alert]Move Around By…[/alert]

When you land at the Airport, you are presented with a few different options. I really didn’t do my homework and assumed that the only way to get to the island was by boat. This was also the most expensive option and it was the most uncomfortable. It takes 1hr and 10 minutes to get to the island, and the sea was slightly rough. I used the public transport option but you can hire private taxi boats.

You can also use the train and the bus option to Venice, which I’ve got to push, is a lot quicker and a lot smoother. But still, I probably got to see more of the additional islands including Lido which is where Lord Byron was reported to have written some of his work.

Now this is Venice! Apart from the far West of the island where cars are allowed to go from the mainline the transport options are foot or Gondola. The island is easy to walk around and also easy to get lost, each turn throws you off and my sense of direction is normally really good. I skipped on the Gondola, being on mine own just didn’t help and the cost is quite high.

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[success]Places to Shop…[/success]

There are lots of shops and lots of very expensive shops such as Gucci! Yet still Venice covers a wide range of budgets and genres.

From the quaint market stalls, to the shops selling some of the high end goods. Of course, what kind of touristy place would Venice be without the souvenir that you find from some of the tachy stalls! And this time, you can bag yourself a battery powered rocking gondola! Yes I was very tempted to by one of these, for me and not my 9 year old!

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[info]Places to Stay…[/info]

Staying within Venice, is very expensive but there are plenty of deals to be had on the internet. First place I would check is on Groupon, but be careful and make sure you read the terms and conditions of the specific deal.

Trip Adviser is a good start to look for reviews of the hotels and facilities on offer, as you are probably aware by this point I went for the day and didn’t get chance to review any of the hotels. But speaking to a few of the English Travellers, The Westin Europa and Regina Hotel was favoured by many.

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[alert]Getting There…[/alert]

As per usual I flew with British Airways, one it builds my air miles up but for £77 return with luggage, your really can’t go wrong. I spoke to a couple who reckon that they paid £25 each with Easyjet, which I though was a great price. I just forgot to ask where they flew from.

Many of the major airlines fly to Venice. Don’t forget to use your banking benefits if Airport Angel is included, as the Marco Polo lounge at the airport was amazing and the staff extremely helpful.