Europe Tour - Venice
I had another post but aparently it just stuck to saving mode and I can't access it. Anyway, breakfast was delicious this morning but a tad bit salty, we left as usual at 7am and headed for Italy. We stopped at our first R&R for the day in Tentro I think, or past Tentro, I can't remember. I waited for the rest of the family near the bus while they went for a toilet break. I chatted with a couple of the other tour goers, took some pictures of the mountains and of the birds. When 20 minutes passed and they hadn't returned, I was beginning to worry that they were waiting for me, so I went to sought them out. Turned out, to my horror, they bought two bags of chocolate. Couldn't really blame them though, there was a sale going on and chocolate was going cheap. And so, they bought the chocolate. Because of the massive queue of Chinese tourists, we were a little late to going back to the bus. Anyway, we continued on our journey.
We watched the scenery transform before us- from the mountainous Alps to the rolling plains of farmland and vineyards, it was pretty amazing to look at. There was just so much corn and grapes being grown here! I slept through most of the ride so I can't exactly be sure what I missed. We arrived in Venencia aka Venice and took a private boat that ferried us to the city centre. It was sweltering hot. I had not expected it to be this hot. It was ridiculous! The moment I got onto the boat, I was sweating. I had to pull the long sleeves of my outer shirt to keep myself from actually burning under the brutal sun. There was not a single white cloud in the sky. The waters were a little choppy though, with made it slightly dangerous for my grandma to step into the boat, but we managed. We left the bus behind and Peter drove it away to be parked on a man-made island specifically built for parking. Yes, that's exactly what I said.
Our first stop in bustling Venice, was a traditional glass making workshop, where a master glass blower showed us a demonstration. We then toured the place and had a look at the many high quality, handmade (breakable and expensive) glass wares. We didn't buy anything. After that, we slowly made our way back through the narrow alleys and shopping streets, looking at the mysterious venetian masks, souveniers and had some sandwiches for lunch under the shade of a shop. I got a nail clipper, which also doubles as a small swiss blade and can opener. I was desperate to have my long nails cut. We also got some other types of nailclippers as souveniers. After lunch, we decided that (or rather I) we should not go explore around too much, fear of getting lost and not being able to meet in time for the gondola ride. So, we just strolled around, took photos of St. Mark's Basillica - we didn't enter as there was a long queue under the sun, and we weren't allowed to bring rucksacks/backpacks in. We then sat on the steps of St. Mark's square, along with hundreds of other tourists and just watched the people and pigeons. A while later, my dad and I went to refill our bottles at a nearby pipe. Turned out there was a relatively short line to the free and refreshingly cold water sources, so we waited. And waited. And waited. It wasn't very long, to be honest, it was just really hot. By the time it got to our turn, it was 5 minutes to the appointed meeting time. We managed to make it in time and all was well.
The gondola ride was rather fascinating! Though kinda scary as a wrong shift of the weight in the narrow boat could capsize it. There were 6 people in our gondola. I didn't dare move from my given seat. The gondolier will try to balance out the weight in the boat by placing you into specific seats. Did I mention the waters in the lagoon were choppy? It felt like the gondola would capsize! I wasn't really worried, but my mum kinda was. No worries, nothing bad happened. We floated through the backwater canals while someone sang to us from one of the gondolas. It was simply amazing seeing the various shops, hotels and private residences having a small water entrance, or a little motor boat tied nearby. There are no cars in Venice. I didn't even see bicycles. It was either travelling by foot, or by boat. I could feel the air of the ancient times just by looking at the architecture. Many of the buildings, walls, roads, pathways and bridges are old. Really old. And just like Amsterdam, the buildings are built on many layers of submerged wood, so there is the occasional slanted building. The gondola ride only lasted for 30 minutes because we arrived right back where we started, to go take a water taxi back to where we were dropped off by the pier. We took a ride through the main canal, where Howard our travel director explained to us the various buildings and their historical significance.
We got off the water taxi and made our way back to the bus. Turned out that when Peter went to collect the bus from the parking island and hour prior, the external bus temperature read 39°C. That's really hot. Right now, I feel like I have sunburn, but I hope it isn't too bad and hope it'll very, very soon. We checked into Hotel Sirio where there was airconditioning (praise the Lord) and came down for dinner at 8pm. Apparently Italians like having a late dinner, sometimes even at 10pm.
We had risotto for starters, pork for main and some apple like pastry thing for dessert. I was pretty full by starter though lol. After dinner we sorta hung out around the lobby and chilled. Well that obviously isn't the only reason I hung arouns xD HAHA I kid, I kid. I don't snatch married men.
Anyway, off to Rome next!