Tag-Archive for » Grand Canal «

Jun
16

   The little steamer coughed its way round the headland, onto a narrow channel that opens out into the breathtaking Bay of Venice.  Spread out like a Caneletto painting.  To the left and right are the sea walls and artificail islands which protect the island/city from from the Adriatic sea especially when the Sirocco winds blow.

  It was mid-day and the sun was shining brilliantly; making us screw our eyes against its brightness.  But even the glare could not dampen our enthusiasm as we scrutinised the horizon, for what would be for many of us , our first glimpse of that fabulous city – The Queen of the Adriatic.

  The lagoon, itself, is lined with sleeper-like post sunk into the sea bed, separating the bay into lanes between which a multitude of small crafts navigate their way to and fro.  They ply their trade oblivious to, we, tourists casting us only a cursory glance.  After all Venice is home to them, and they have seen those like us many times before.

  Shimmering through the wavering illusion of the rising heat, the Doge’s Palace, immidiately comes into focus.  Its cappuccino coloured marble facade is like a jewel reflecting in the morning sun.  Then the magnificent Basilica of St. George is most recognisable, guarding the entrance to the Grand Canal itself.  It was built in the fifteen century in thanks-giving for the relief from a plague which had decimated the city.  Gondolas and ferry boats scurrying about like little ants, while cruize liners make one of their compulsory stops along side military vessels, all anchored well away from St. Mark’s square.  Along the landing stages tourist can be seen thronging the many stalls or surrounding the pavement artists or haggling with gondoliers, beside thier gently bobbing crafts.

  Leaving our ferry, we immidiatel head for the Doge’s palace, and of course the magnificent St. Mark’s square with equally famous bell tower.  The original towel collapsed many years ago but had to re-built.  Interuptions and distractions froliferate as we walk along the Riva Dei Sciavoni ( as the esplanade is called ).  It is our turn to accosted by the many stall holder,  as we wnd our way through the tight narrow streets, jam-packed with shops of all descriptions – shoppers paradise.  As we cross over the third bride we come to the infamous Bridge of Sighs.  It is reputed that over this small span, which links the Doge’s palace to the city prison, prisoners caught their last glimpse of the outside world before their incarceration.  In actual fact, very few people were ever sent to its sombre dungeons.  But legends are prompted by hearsay and so become fact. The Dode’s Palace, which is also the seat of government in the past and now, houses a fine museum and is worth a visit.

  Rounding the next corner we enter the main Piazza of St. Mark.  Our eyes dart about.  It is almost too much to take in.  On the left is the famous Cafe Florian with its open air orchestra inviting us to rest for a while and enjoy a coffee and cake.  Check the prices first.  To our right is the magnificent Basilica of St. Mark, its arched doors, and facade covered by exquiste mosaics.  Its cupolas and spires showing an oriental influence  from the city’s dealing in the spice trade, in days gone by when she ruled the eastern mediterranean.  On the veranda, above the doors, are the famous status of the four horses, once stolen by Napoleon when he conquered Venice;  but returned after his final defeat.

  Now the bell tower, standing like a solitary sentinel in the middle of the square imposing its Obelisk presence over the whole square.  A long wair and a long climb is rewarded by an enchanting view of Venice rooftops cobwebbed by the modern curse of TV ariels.  In the square itself tourists abound, feeding the pigeons and feeding themselves.  This is the haven of the alfresco diner.  The pigeon being the only hazard!

  To find the Rialto Bridge we are told to follow the arrows on the walls at each end of each street.  Ask for fuirther direction and you will be answered by almost any other language but Italian. The streets are now becoming very narrow; with shops, cafes and restaurants of every  description huddled to-gether with the tourists even squeezed closer to-gether.  Venice is not so big, and soon we push our way out of a side street and there before our eyes is the Rialto bridge.  It separates the Tourist Venice from the quieter side which is almost in a time warp. Once again, we stop and take in the scene.  Gondolas decked out with bunting; gondoliers in quasi sailor’s attire; ice cream parlours, the canal side cafes with the smell of fresh ground coffee percolating the air, bars offering cool beer to quench our warm parched throats.  A seat sounds delicious but unless youn really are tired try standing at the bar as the locals do; it is much cheaper. 

  Somewhat refreshed , we mount the bridge.  The bridge is flanked on either sides by a mass of shops and stalls; selling tourist items, jewelery, leather goods, fruit market and open air baking stalls.  And the big thrill is finding the smaller piazzas with its dominating church, walls adorned with frescos by some lesser known artists.  Walk on up to the top of Venice, where there is a railway station and  land bridge to the mainland.  We can now, catch a water bus and have leisurely sail back down the Grand Canal, wondering at the wealth there must have been in Venice by virtue of the magnificent palaces and Cathedrals that run along the canal banks.

Other attractions?  Well there are three main islands in the lagoon which you can visit by the water-bus service, or by one of the locally organised tours which are not too expensive and good value.

MURANO:- Where we can see the world renown glass blowers at work. You can buy direct from the factory shop.

BURANO:- Where local women can be seen sitting outside their homes, fashoning beautiful lace-work for sale.  And they don’t mind being watched as they work.

 

TORCELLO:- An abandoned island that was the first inhabited island to which the early Venitians fled  when the longobard invaders came after the fall of Rome. Once again abandoned because of the mosquitos in the island.  But one benefit of the war; the americans came and thanks to them the mararia mosquito was wiped out.The island is over a thousand years old and still has standing, a cathedral and a small museum with early Venitian artifacts.  It also boasts Cipriani’s restaurant which was visited by Winston Churchhill on one of his painting excursions.      

Apr
12

Pigeons!

My first moments in Venice are filled with memories of being poked, scratched, and pecked at by Venetian pigeons.

Upon disembarking from the boat which brought me from the mainland, I stopped to ask a gentleman for directions to my hotel. Not realizing he sold pigeon food, I found myself engulfed by Venice’s largest population, next to tourists, that is.

Venice is magical, mythical, and marvelous. It’s everything you’ve read about, heard about, and seen in pictures.

The city is a pedestrian’s paradise. You walk everywhere, taking centuries-old footbridges to your destination. The streets are lined with Murano glass shops, restaurants, and both grand and quaint hotels.

Venice is a three dimensional museum-the architecture, which consists of Romanesque, Baroque, Gothic, and Neo-Classic, is outstanding. The churches, museums, and theaters are unforgettable.

Sitting in St. Mark’s Square at Cafe Florian sipping a cappuccino and listening to a classical orchestra was a singular experience.

I took the required gondola ride and passed by decaying buildings and under timeworn bridges. I rode the water buses up and down the grand canal and wandered ancient neighborhoods sampling local fare.

Encountering the beginning of Venice’s rainy season in September, I found the streets not only filled with tourists and pigeons, but water as well. The lowest level of my hotel was flooded, as were the streets-up to my knees. Portable raised walkways are set up around the city for this reason. Hotels are equipped with boots in every size and umbrellas.

The only thing missing from Venice is the sense one gets of the Venetian’s day to day life. Most natives live outside of central Venice on the surrounding islands, as Venice itself is not affordable. This was something I did miss on my trip to Venice, as I enjoy watching how the locals work and play.

The city is inundated with tourists and those making their living from them. At close of business, however, the city is devoid of your average citizen. Tourists are left behind to dine, walk the streets, and take in the city’s energy.

I did experience a wave of sadness upon contemplating Venice in its heyday. To have seen Venice in all its early glory-now, that would have been a trip!

Mar
18

Where does one begin to start when discussing Italy. Well, if you intend to travel there, Rome and Venice are good places to start.

Rome

Perhaps you’ve heard of it? It goes without saying that Rome has a rather prominent past. Lets see, in Rome you will find…[deep breath]…the Vatican, Coliseum, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Church of Saint Agnese, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and a guy name Allassandro. Just making sure you’re paying attention. Indeed, Rome is filthy with historically significant attractions. It seems you can’t turn around without bumping into something an Emperor built, captured or destroyed. For those willing to risk potential wrath, there are also the new Divinci Code tours, which take you to the locations found in the book.

In all serious, Rome is a city you should visit at least once in your life. No article could ever do it justice, so I’ll just stop here.

Venice

I fondly refer to Venice as the floating city even though it is apparently sinking. If you’ve seen Venice is movies or televisions shows, the depictions are accurate. Piazza San Marco looks exactly the same, birds and all. The Grande Canal is, well, a grand canal with incredible houses lining it and boats putting up down this water way. Built on mudflats in a lagoon, the city doesn’t really have much room to grow. It just seems paralyzed in time.

Once you’ve conquered the tourist attractions, it will be time to get serious about Venice. The best way to do this is stand in front of your hotel or hostel, determine which direction the tourist attractions lie and start walking in the opposite direction. While you may feel like you’re driving the wrong way on a freeway for a few minutes, you’ll eventually start getting into real Venice.

An entirely different side of Venice will appear and you’ll love it. You’ll find little cafes with locals happy to talk to you [and non-tourist prices]. In fact, the Venetians will tend to hold you in high regard since you’re a tourist who is bypassing the tourist areas. This, of course, will logically lead to a whirl of introductions to this nephew, that son of a brother and so on. Next thing you know, you’ll be complaining about Italian politicians and how things used to be better in the past.

While Rome and Venice are excellent travel destinations, you can’t really go wrong in Italy. For the adventurous, set your itinerary with the old map on a wall and dart technique.

Mar
13

 

A break doesn’t need to be a weeklong holiday: It’s perfectly possible to get a short moment in another country if you fly there.

 

The obvious eye-catching choice is Europe: it is the closest to US and there are plenty of romantic surroundings for a short break. There are numerous equipments to see in Europe from art galleries to museums to famous landmarks that you might forget to take a few days out of your hectic schedule for the most important thing – the parties! There are festivals and major events going on all year round and a trip to Europe will be far more fun if you try it out.

 

Paris, the “City of light” is most likely for a romantic short break; famous as the most romantic city in the world, some nightmare places: the Eiffel tower, the Louver palace, the Notre-Dame cathedral and the near-by Versailles palace are truly unique. Paris is the embodiment of culture combined with a cuisine guaranteed to get your romantic break off to a good start! This city promises tourists a memorable vacation with its impressive architecture, enlightening museums, historical monuments, and beautiful gardens.

 

Amsterdam is always a favorite short break destination its awesome museum of art is the everlasting home of around seven million works, including 5000 paintings in over 250 rooms. As well as featuring a number of high-profile masterpieces from international artists, the museum boasts a fantastic display of paintings from many Dutch artists, including several outstanding contributions from Rembrandt.

 

If traditional old-fashioned romance is a mania, consider Venice. It’s offering scenic canals, beautiful buildings, and world famous landmarks; Venice is an experience unique in the world of travel. The city seems to exude romance, history, fantastic photo opportunities, and good food, almost at every corner. Exploring Venice is an experience that you will never forget. Whether taking a gondola down the Grand Canal or examining this romantic city’s unique setting and architecture while on foot, you will find Venice inviting and magical.

 

If you desire to go, further a field, like New York and Las Vegas., Vegas is a good place for those spontaneous proposals who try to win money to pay for the ring. New York is a bustling metropolis and has a vibrant and eclectic place. There is an incredibly diverse range of things to see and do

 

Whatever is your ideal break, look on the internet for last minute deals. You can have a great short holiday at the fraction of a cost!

 

If you want a break from your busy schedule then you can visit these places in weekend break. I can suggest you few travel website that can offer you Cheap and best Trip in a Budget. I have found some budgetary packages and deals while searching on Google. These websites can offer you best travel deal www.erostours.com, www.airtkt.com, www.cheapfareguru.com, www.latinfare.com for Best Travel Package.

 

Happy Traveling