Venice Day 1 Part 1

Continued from Rome day 4.

I know it says Venice Day 1 Part 1, but I’ve got just a few pictures left from Rome first. Dinner bought at the local grocery store.

Tuna pizza.


Checked out of my hotel in the morning and started walking towards the train terminal to catch a train to Venice.

These are the cool church doors next to the hotel that I mentioned before. Not sure I know what they are.

Ladies bargain hunting for cheap clothes. Don’t get in their way because they’ll rip your head off. Fight fight fight!

Inside Rome Termini Station.

I love these old school boards that have letters that flap to change the texts. You can see it at work here. The noise that they make is so nostalgic. Also note that many of the trains are late. At all the other train stations that I’ve ever been to, I don’t remember seeing this many late trains.

Breakfast at the train station.

Chocolate croissant with Nutella.

Lucky me, my train shows up right on time and it’s actually a nice modern high speed train. All the other trains in the station looked like the other train on the left. Italy definitely has some of the crappiest trains that I’ve seen in Europe.

Please don’t fall on me.

When I found my seat, there was already a guy sitting there….I figured he had the aisle seat and was just sitting at the window seat, which was mine. Oh well, I didn’t want to make him move so I decided to just sit in the aisle seat. A few minutes later, another guy came by and asked if I had tickets for my seat because I was in his seat. OK….I asked the guy who was in my window seat if he had the aisle seat, but he said that he had the window. Wait, if he’s got the window, and I’ve got the window? We pulled out our tickets to compared and sure enough, both seats were the same. People around us started saying that it’s not unheard of for the Italian trains to accidentally double book the seats. Crap! Then I looked more closely and saw the error. He had booked his ticket for October instead of September! He was a month early for his train. Doh! Poor guy had to get off the train in shame and now can’t get to his destination on time.

Good thing the guy got off the train instead of trying his luck staying on and stand because the ticket checker came by a few minutes after the train left the terminal.

It’s about a 4 hour ride to Venice from Rome and this is what the Italian country side looks like.

During the 4 hour ride, I had many different seat mates since they would get off at different stations and someone else would take his/her spot. Through talking to them, I found out that the train worker’s union were actually on strike today. They had announced the strike just literally last night and had caused many of the local trains to be cancelled. Many people showed up to the train stations today only to find out that their train had been cancelled out of the blue. My train was jam packed the entire ride because so many riders of the slower/cheaper local trains had to buy tickets last minute at the terminal to move onto my faster train. I dodged a bullet in that my train was not cancelled. I would have been pissed and hugely inconvenienced if my train had been cancelled.

Approaching Venice. There’s a long bridge that links Venice by train to the main land.

Walking on Venice now.

About to exit the terminal and go into the Venice that I’ve heard and seen so many pictures about!

Here she is, Venice in all of her glory!!! No, I did not insert an incorrect photo. Venice is so very touristy and commercialized that almost every single interior street is filled from start to finish with shops selling apparel. If I were to describe Venice in one sentence, I would say that it’s a huge shopping mall with some water in and around it.

In case you were wondering, this is what I saw right when I walked out of the train station. The exit for the station looks right out into the Grand Canal.

Got to buy a ferry ticket to get to my hotel. 33 Euros for a 3 day pass. Steep. I was instantly surrounded by voices with American accents. I feel like Venice is filled with a lot more Americans than Rome.

Waiting at the ferry stop. The ferry that I am taking goes along the Grand Canal so I get to do some sightseeing on the way to hotel.

From Taiwan, eh.

How many douche bag traits can you count on this guy?

The ferry arrives.

I will give this one to Venice. From the Grand Canal, it’s almost impossible to take a bad photo. In every photo that I took, it contained something beautiful or amazing.

Oh, they paid up the ass for that gondola ride.

Rialto Bridge. The oldest of the 4 bridges to cross the Grand Canal. It’s a big landmark here and for such a big landmark, there sure is a lot of graffiti on it.

Taken after I literally got off the ferry. I believe I am supposed to go under that building and make a couple of turns to get to the hotel. I will meet 5 friends here who were supposed to fly in from the US at around the same time that my train gets in. The friends are EF and AB, my good friends from Austin, AB’s brother and a couple of his friends.

On the way to the hotel, I hope…

Seriously? Is this the way?

I came out of the tunnel in the previous picture and then I hear people yelling out my name!! Look, my friends are here already and they ran into me by randomly wandering through the streets of Venice. What a great start to Venice! I took the above photo literally the moment they saw me. Great surprise for all of us.

This is their view of what they saw as I came out from under the tunnel. Unfortunately, unlike the photo above, this one is an reenactment photo.

Great, no elevator and 4 flights of stairs to our hotel.

Small room, small bathroom, but must have a bidet.

Some ballers here in Venice. Who would have thought.

After checking into my room, we all went out in search of lunch.

Lunch spot. Venice is very expensive and the food is just so so.

View from our table. The end of the street looks out on Grand Canal.

When in Venice…

A lot of places in Italy have Sirloin on their menu.

After lunch, we decided to just wander through the small irregular maze like streets of Venice and hit up a few sights.

Seriously, all photos onto Grand Canal is cool in some way.

Rialto Bridge from a different side. There is less graffiti on this end.

Grand Canal seen from Rialto Bridge.

There are actually 3 separate walkways on Rialto Bridge. Two on both sides and this photo above shows the walkway down the middle of the bridge.

Many small narrow streets here in Venice. Autos are not allowed on Venice. And really, the streets are not drivable anyway. There are no bikes or mopeds either because of all the pedestrians, bridges and steps. All the transportation around here is done by foot or boat traffic.

Seriously, this is what Venice looks like 80% of the time. Apparel shop after one apparel shop. B-O-R-I-N-G.

Oh, what do we have peeking out at the end of this street?

St. Mark’s Basilica. Yes, I know, crappy framing of the photo.

St. Mark’s Square.

St. Mark’s clock tower.

Doge’s Palace. If you look at all those columns, you’ll see that there are two with a reddish hue. I believe this is where death sentences were once announced in the past.

St. Mark’s bell tower. You can take an elevator to the top for an unobstructed view of the entire city. We saw that the lines were short and jumped on the opportunity.

Keeping the good luck of short lines, we waited maybe 5 minutes until we were able to hop onto the elevator.

Giant bells up here. I wonder if they still work.

Amazing views up here! It was really windy and kind of chilly as well.

St. Mark’s Basilica.

St Mark’s Square.

While hanging out on top of the tower taking in the amazing view, out of no where, this sound of ringing engulfs us. Oh yeah, the bells most definitely do still work very well. What a cool experience to hear the bells while being so close.

I love taking in cities from a vantage point. Definitely one of my favorite things to do as a traveler.

Back on the ground in St. Mark’s Square. Lots of pigeons here. I had a strong urge to run through the flock of pigeons and make them all take flight. That would make an awesome photo, but many people might be mad when the pigeons start pooping after initial flight.

Why is it Scarlett Johansson and not some Italian actress on this ad? Well, this place is totally filled to the top with Americans so there are no Italians here to actually see this ad. Walking through Venice is like walking through an American mall. You hear English all around you.

For Charlie, the famous Harry’s Bar. Used to be Hemingway’s watering hole. Then again, what wasn’t Hemingway’s watering hole.

It was a very small bar inside and frankly, didn’t seem anything special other than its historic significance. Giuseppe Cipriani started Harry’s Bar and then the whole Cipriani brand of restaurants all over the world.

After looking around, you’ll see that everyone is drinking the same pinkish drink here. Everyone drinks a Bellini here because Cipriani invented that mixed drink here. Of course I had to get one, and Harry’s Bar knows that. Ladies and Gentlemen, you are looking at a 19 Euro drink. With tip that translates into a $28 dollar drink. I just bent over, lube free and grabbed my ankles willingly for this damn drink! I’ve never had a Bellini before in my life so I don’t even have anything to compare it to. Despite that, I am sure it tastes almost like every other Bellini that I’ll have in my life.

When a man smiles with an empty wallet, this is what he looks like.

For $28, I am going to get in every single photo opportunity! Fuck!

After Harry’s we wandered through the streets of Venice back to our hotel to allow our rear ends to heal.

I love how they sell these knockoffs right in front of the stores that sell the real deal.

Three levels of windows covered with TV screens. I bet their shit isn’t cheap.

How romantic, he’s texting on his cell phone.

How a Venetian dog takes a piss. Yup, just the same as all other dogs around the world. There were many dogs that would walk through the streets of Venice with no owners around. They all had tags on them so they weren’t strays, but I guess since we are on an island, they can’t really go anywhere. I’d be afraid of one of them being stolen by one of the tourists though.

Future NBA stars practicing their mad balling skillz.

To be continued at Venice Day 1 Part 2.

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