Edit 13/11/2008: I have just finished looking through the comments on every single old post and have replied accordingly. Thank you all for the very useful pieces of information! I've also changed my settings so I will get notification e-mails from now on.
April 03, 2008
A very long day with plenty of distance covered. The map of the day is pretty insane!
RED -> PINK -> GREEN -> BLUE
Another very early start to the day, with a 7:20am start to catch the first boat into Venice at 8am. It had been a very chilly night and it was freezing in the morning - which resulted in a rather magical sight as we made our way to the ferry dock.
Thick fog looking as if it was steam coming up from a hot spring. An absolutely unreal sight and I was awestruck. My worry of the sailing being cancelled proved wrong as the boat came, 3 minutes late. The fog quickly lifted and we munched down our sandwiches on our trip. A private vessel doing twice the speed limit cut across navigation channels and our captain duly slowed down to let the idiot through.
After landing at Zattere, we proceeded to the Accademia vaporetto stop where we bought ourselves a 24 hour pass for an amazing €16. We'll definately make full use of that! The nice guy at the ticket counter asked us where we were off to and upon hearing my answer, gave us the quickest route to Murano...but to his bewilderment, I thanked him and ran off to hop on the #1 Vaporetto heading the opposite direction to his instructions! I had it all planned already, that we take a cruise up the Canale Grand first!
It was 8:40am and we saw Venice slowly coming to life with the canal filled with commuters and delivery boats. Venice is still a city with 50,000 inhabitants, not a real-life Museum (although it gets pretty close)! Luck has it that it was an old-style Vaporetto with front seats.
The traghetto packed with commuters.
A long row of parked Gondolas, the day still early for our
Traghetto Santa Sofia, with the Pescaria market in full swing.
Approaching the Scalzi Bridge.
We hopped off the #1 Vaporetto here (Ferrovia) and then changed to the #52 for Murano. It was a 15 minute wait as we had just missed one but this allowed me to make a carefully synchronised pitstop at Isola San Michele lasting exactly 15 minutes!
Definately not a place you'd want to be at night - unless you're an airhead like someone!
We then landed at Murano which was a totally tourist-orientated place along the main canal. It was completely full of shops selling glasswares.
After initial bad luck, we finally found a fornace where we could see the glass Maestros at work.
Upon crossing the one main bridge at the middle of Murano, we discovered a nice coffee shop where we bought freshly heated sandwiches and coffee for lunch. The Americano is only €1 - a good price for a trip to the toilet, where next to none are free in Venice and the locals aren't very helpful about it either!
After our lunch, we went exploring around Murano where we saw the "other side" - a quiet and low-density residential area! I would love to live somewhere like this!
Then we returned to the touristy area, dropping by the coffee shop for gelato! We then proceeded to the Vaporetto stop to catch the LN to Burano.
On our way up a water taxi overtook us, doing at least twice the speed limit. Some people really want Venice to disintegrate, despite the fact they earn the ca$h off the historic city.
The vaporetto slowed down to a crawl as we navigated up a narrow channel alongside Mazzorbo. Seeing how nice it looked, I decided to hop off since we could walk across a bridge to Burano later.
Mazzorbo, the island beside Burano was really peaceful and devoid of people. It was a great stroll and very relaxing - and an unlikely ARIA reference to boot.
We then turned back and headed over to Burano, the lace island.
Burano, seen from Mazzorbo.
The bright, pastel coloured houses and lace shops.
We also explored Burano, and a really nice old lady standing at the door of her house thought we were lost and gave us instructions back to the main throughfare. Seeing how kind she was, I cut off the exploration and followed her instructions to emerge from a tiny alley - picture below!
We then headed back to the Vaporetto stop where a double deck Motonavi doing the route LN picked us up on the way to Piazza San Marco (S.Zaccaria). Good timing as a storm was bearing down on us and the Motonavi provided us shelter.
It took ages, with exceptionally long dwell times at our intermediate stops. After 75 minutes, we were almost there, except our berth was occupied by another Motonavi for over 5 minutes. Our speed reduced to a crawl to wait for it to vacate - but not after I got pictures! The passing storm gave a superb backdrop and contrast.
Upon our arrival at S.Zaccaria, we made a quick change to the #41 Vaporetto to the island of Giudecca. This was formerly the industrial district of Venice and contains landmarks such as the Redentore. We did our usual detouring through the alleys, purchasing bread for snack at a bakery in the process. We eventually arrived at the former Molino Stucky factory which is now the Hilton Hotel where we took the liberty of entering from the rear and exiting at the front - as well as using the extremely posh toilets for free!
As we walked through it, my mum made the comment of how she remembers seeing a similar building in a manga/anime many years ago (she has not seen ARIA, obviously). This gave me the realisation that the Molino Stucky had a very unique architectural design and the only building I've seen in Venice which had the tiniest resemblance to Orange Planet.
A glorious sunset over a petrochemical plant built in possibly the worst location ever - right beside an exceptionally important heritage site (Venice).
We then took the #2 Vaporetto back to San Zaccaria (yay for old type Vaporettos and front seats!). After some hesitation, I took the plunge and entered the Danielli Hotel to sneak some photos.
Then, it was time to enjoy the nightscape around Piazza San Marco. A great shame that I did not have a tripod.
This was my desktop wallpaper for 6 months.
At around 9:00pm, we took the #1 Vaporetto again to Piazzale Roma to take the bus back to our accomodation, our last boat long being gone. The night cruise up the Grand Canal (yay again for old-style Vaporettos with front seats!) was an interesting experience, with the combination of silence and darkness giving a very eerie feel. This was the most memorable moment of the whole trip for my mum, the spookiness reminding her of the Phantom of the Opera. Nor wonder Alice-chan can come up with all sorts of haunted stories!
We finally arrived back to our acocmodation past 11pm - the land route is horrid and we slept at around 12am totally exhausted.