We landed at the Santa Lucia train station at 9pm... the night has just begun and we dragged our luggages and bagpacks across half a km of steps, stair and cobbled stones and got lost in the process of finding the Santa Fosca Hostel. The road signages in Venice was appalling.. but we finally found our hostel after asking around. Our hostel is actually a university dorm which they rent out during the summer months.
What struck us as we walked along the streets was that the atmosphere was gay and pleasant without the harshness of city life. There were happy people eating and drinking with beautiful shops dotting the roads and gleaming waters of the canals. No cars or motorised vehicles throng the roads and you only hear the patter of footsteps around and lively chatter.
It was cold that morning.. so cold I had to get up at 4am to wear 2 layers of sweater as the blankets were thin- just a piece of cotton sheet. However, when we went out the next morning, the air was crisp and there was a tinge of grey in the clouds but that was quickly disappearing in the rising of the sun high in the sky. We pottered around Cannaregio to look at the elaborately beautiful but strangely eerie Venetian masks that pop from almost every shop and corner. They range from the size of a fifty sen coin to the size of your torso (that huge esp those with plume of feathers on them). There were also endless gelato shops.. did I mention that my favourite flavour is WATERMELON.. taste as though you were eating iced watermelons.... yummmm. Shirrene was thinking that she could lose weight while travelling and walking so much but hey.. with eating a gelato/i everyday and eating 3 full meals of pasta, pizza and panini...there is no way anyone is going to lose weight.
Venice had this special Spaghetti ala Nero (or in any pasta) a dish with squid ink... it looks gross and smells hardly any better but it tasted quite ok but I would not eat it again! Shirrene stayed far away from that the moment she got a sniff of it.
Gondola... aah! The romance of it.. NOT! It looks like a regular boat shaped like Aladdin's shoe and would topple over when anyone gets in it! Ok ok.. it does look quite nice.. the seats look like they were meant for the Queen but I did not want to take the ride... a) It was too expensive.. 60-80€ for a ride (depending day or night) and b)I was with Shirrene. Hmmm... I did not mean that in a bad way. What we did instead was to take the vaparetto (a ferry) over to the many different islands that make up Venice. Did I even know that Venice is a cluster of island so close together that the bridges make them seem like they are part of the same piece of land!