I start to think that slow traveling is not for me. The idea is great – live like locals and taste the atmosphere. But sadly I do not really have time for slow traveling. I travel in my own rhythm, which means I try doing what makes me happy when I am away. I have noticed that majority of travel bloggers are full time vagabonds spending few weeks in one country before they move to the next one, not planning much and not booking accommodation in advance – they have plenty of time to truly travel slowly, and to know the place like the back of their hand. I have few weeks in a year to travel but I still want to taste and experience a little bit of a different world. So I try my best to do just that, even though it means traveling more intensively in a shorter period of time.
One day trip to Venice might seem a silly idea for many people, but when I was meeting with my sister in Bologna in May for our 4 days weekend, we have decided that we really want to visit Venice – the train was not even two hours and it seems such a good opportunity! And it was! I am glad we did it! It made me wanting to come back to explore more and it gave me a taste of incredible city build on water.
My sister booked the tickets online on Trenitalia for 32 euro per person. We had 8 hours and strong intentions to make the time count!
We started off at Bologna Centrale by catching the train at 10:10 and arriving to Venice S. Lucia at 11:35. The train was very comfortable and the journey not that long – we had enough time to figure out what we really want and are able to see. Having heard a lot of stories about how expensive Venice might be, we decided on taking a picnic rather than going for a meal to a restaurant. We are budget travellers after all!
After quick emergency shopping at the station (I needed an extra layer as weather was not very warm) we hit the water bus number 2 which took us to Zaccoria. We bought only one way tickets (6 euros per person) as the intention was to wander around the town and somehow (with a help of a map and my sister’s brilliant orientation) arrive at the station to catch a train back to Bologna at 19.25. When on the bus we have managed to see famous Dogana da Mar with golden ball held by two bronze figures. At the top of the ball you can spot a statue of Fortune showing the direction of the wind. In here every ship needed to register before being allowed to come to Venice.
We spent some time wandering around Riva Degli Schiavoni – seaside boulevard with a countless number of stalls and small shops selling souvenirs.
Then we decided it is time for a lunch so we went to Giardini Reali and had the best meal ever! Italian cheese, ham and olives plus bread which we brought with us – would you need anything else??? That was really good idea and saved us some money too!
After restoring our strengths we got serious – now was the perfect time to go to Dodge Palace on Piazza San Marco – the heart of Venice! This place is truly amazing and its history is fascinating. I will be writing a separate post about it, but if you are in Venice – you really must visit! The tickets for Dodge Palace costed 18.00 euros per person but it was defiantly worth the price! And besides you could visit Museo Correr (which we did), Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana. So plenty to do for 18.00 euros!
And if you have more time on your hands and no money at all – go to see incredible Basilica di San Marco – the one we had to skip this time as the queue was just too long for our short trip. But this made us wanting to come back and we will, for longer this time!
Then we went on a hunting trip looking for La Fenice – one of the oldest opera houses in the world! This building is incredible and its name is not a matter of coincidence – incredibly three fires were not enough to destroy it!
Next on agenda was Ponte di Rialto – the oldest Venetian bridge linking San Marco and San Polo districts of the town. It was created by Antonia da Ponte in XVI century and until 1854 was the only bridge on Canal Grande. Arcades located on both sides of the bridge are occupied by small stalls selling souvenirs for tourists.
After crossing Ponte di Rialto we have decided that it is time for a traditional Italian aperitif – The Spritz which consist of prosecco wine, a dash of some bitter liqueur such as Aperol, Campari, Cynar, and topped off with sparkling mineral water. Delicious! Sitting near the canal, watching gondolas slowly passing by and sipping The Spritz was a perfect moment!
We could not resist a little bit of walk along the Grand Canal and looking at Campo de la Pescaria – the one and only fish market featured in “The Tourist” – we were looking at the exact spot Johnny Deep used in the chase scene!
Our walk took as to Galleria Giorgio Franchetti and for 6 euros per person we could admire art by Giorgione, Tycjan, Tintoretto and Mantegna. The building itself is beautiful too!
I wouldn’t be myself if I did not go to the church in Venice. And as a last stop we visited Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari – incredibly beautiful church on the Campo dei Frari at the heart of the San Polo district of the city. For 3 euros per person we could enjoy gothic interiors and see Titian’s “Assumption”. This church is a resting place of Titian so we felt privileged to be able to visit.
In the meantime we enjoyed some ice cream and some breaks spend on sitting on the steps, watching a police boat arriving near by and drinking in the atmosphere of the town. Almost every building in Venice deserves your attention and some of them hide incredible history! Since I had to spent additional night in Bologna and received a voucher from British Airways to use on the flights am really tempted to use it for Venice flight to take Marcin with me as I know how much he would enjoy this place!