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From Venice to Basel

Our trip is almost over

sunny 27 °C
View Summer 2012 on kmclean's travel map.

So, we’re on our way to Basel to wrap up this trip. We spent the last 4 nights in Venice and had a great time, but I’m looking forward to heading back to Germany and finally settling in somewhere. We arrived in Venice on the bus from Villach with no problems and caught the city bus to our campsite. By that time it had stopped raining, but it was freezing! Not really, but it was about 19 degrees, and coming from Croatia’s 38 degree evenings it was a bit of a shock. The weather for the rest of our trip was very warm, though, so I think we just caught a chilly day. We rented a “tent” at Camping Rialto, about 10 minutes outside Venice, and we had a really great stay. The tents they have for rent are more like the gazebo style covers that people have on their decks – it was big enough to stand up in, had a wooden floor and had room for 2 cots. We had a great time, I would definitely camp this way again. The transportation to and from the city was great, although the public transit in Venice seems a lot less efficient than in Croatia or Germany. The busses and water busses were usually late, or early, and all the doors were always open but the ticket validation thing was at the front of the bus, so I think quite a few people took more than a few free rides.

Overall, though, Venice was awesome. Unbelievably expensive, but once we got over that, we had a great time. It seemed like every little thing was a tourist trap; any way they can make money off of you, they did. One nice thing was that there were a lot of public fountains, so we never had to buy water. Washrooms were 1,50 euro though! And there was nowhere to sit, so we always ended up loitering on bridge steps to eat our packed lunches. We did go out for a couple of meals, which is where we discovered another series of tourist traps: the cover charge and service charge. Cover charge was usually 3 euro, and we had to pay a 12% “service charge”. It usually worked out to only a few extra euros, but the first time we ran into it it was a bit of a surprise. We went out expecting to pay 10 euros for a pizza, but after paying for the water, the cover charge, and the service charge, it ended up being double that! For mediocre pizza. It was disappointing to say the least, but we got over it and stayed out.

There didn’t seem like there was much to do in Venice except spend a lot of money, but we were expecting it so it wasn’t too much of a shock. Even after coming from Dubrovnik (which everyone in Croatia warned us was going to be SO expensive), we were in disbelief when we saw the prices in Venice. Dubrovnik was by far the most expensive city we went to in Croatia, but we probably spent more in Venice in 4 days than we did over the rest of our trip. We figured it’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing, though, so why not. All the guide books joke that “there’s a chance the water could be knee-deep in St. Mark’s square by the time you visit”, so I’ve got no regrets!

We spent some time in St. Mark’s square; we went into the Doge’s palace, the basilica, and the museums in the square. We also saw the Rialto Bridge and wandered around the alleys. We took an extremely over-priced gondola ride, but that was probably the best thing we did because it’s really the only way to see the canals and some of the really interesting buildings. The water busses only travel up and down the Grand Canal and across the lagoon, but in the gondola we got to see Venice up close. It’s really cool to see steps just going into the water, and to see water washing up against the houses instead of pavement. It really is unique. It’s neat to see people making deliveries in little motor boats, pulling up to the steps and dropping something off. We even saw a UPS boat full of parcels.

We also spent one day at a beach in Lido swimming in the other side of the Adriatic. We stopped at a cemetery on Murano and went further into the island for a while to eat lunch before the beach, and it was a really nice. It looked exactly like the main part of Venice, but much less crowded and with a lot fewer kitschy souvenir stalls. We got to stop by a glass workshop quickly, but there was no one around. It was pretty neat though. The beach was amazing. It was “free”, but the washrooms, showers, water, umbrellas, and loungers were all for profit. Luckily we learned enough over the past couple of weeks to bring lots of water and something to lay on. The sea was really warm and the beach was sandy. It was a great day, and our cheapest!

On our last night we stumbled across a concert hall and for only 20 euros each (which I thought was cheap), we got to see a string ensemble play for an hour and a half. They played Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Pachelbel’s Canone, and a couple of other really great pieces, all in full 18th century costumes. The concert hall was beautiful. It was a perfect way to end our stay in Venice.

Now we’re on a plane to Basel where we’re couchsurfing for two nights, and then heading back to Freiburg. We get to move into our place for the year in a few days, and we’re really looking forward to that. It’s sad that this trip is over, but it just makes me that much more excited for our next vacation.

Here are the pictures.

Posted by kmclean 20:05 Archived in Italy Tagged boats canals water venice st. palace square italy gondola mark's murano doge's lido

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