Venice Traveling Experience, Italy

Venice, the city of islands, in Italy is a dream destination for many of us. I had seen a lot about Venice in the pictures and on the TV but I had never thought that one day I will be traveling thousands of miles away to see the beautiful city myself.

Staying options in Venice:

After finishing the visit to Rome, Venice was next on our list. Being a student, I and Shayan were still not sure where to stay. Surely, Venice was also little costly to both of us. Just to save money, we decided to stay in Mestre.

Mestre is also a part of Venice but it is located on the mainland while Venice is made up of islands. Both of these places are divided by the Venetian Lagoon. The reason we chose to stay in Mestre was because it was really cheap compared to staying in Venice. However, I think, if you really want to see the sunset and Venice at night, especially the grand canal, then you should find a stay in the Venice itself.

Mestre was around 10 Km from Venice. There are facilities like cars, train, subway, and buses from Mestre to Venice and vice versa. You can use those facilities to do commuting between the two cities.

About Mestre:

For many tourists, Mestre is the starting point. There are a few reasons of Mestre being the starting point of traveling Venice.

  • It is connected to the mainland.
  • It is cheaper compared to Venice in terms of hotels, bars, restaurants, discos etc.
  • Traveling to Venice from Mestre is not a problem even during the night because of the transportation facilities.

Mestre experience:

We had decided to stay at Hotel Nuova Aurora. However, when had arrived in Mestre, it was already late in the night there. We hardly used any smartphones then. Just on the name of reaching the hotel, we had a printed map in our hand. In the night, we walked around 30 minutes from the main station to the hotel looking for clues like street name and all.

As you know, in the foreign countries, it is already not so crowded. Moreover, it becomes really lonely in the night on the streets. But, I had a companion with me and that was Shayan. So, we were sure that we would make it. While we were walking on the street, we saw a lot of hookers standing roadside. Maybe, that part of the Mester area is famous for the hookers but we did not know that.

Being an Indian and being not so exposed to these things, we were also feeling scared at the same time as we passed a few drunk people also. Anyway, we finally made it to the hotel. The staff was really welcoming. They have a small pub there where you can buy drinks.

It was a late night and there was nothing many options left to it. But the hotel guy was nice and he helped us order some pizza on call. And that was the first time, we tasted Italian Pizza. So surely, they are yummy and especially, if you have walked half an hour in apprehension that if you are going to make it to the hotel or not. But anyway, we enjoyed that.

Venice Traveling Experience:

On day one, we started early to see Venice. Surely, the excitement begins when the bus starts to cross the Venetian Lagoon. It’s bluish green sea water everywhere. and that’s when you catch the first glimpse of the Venice. Once we got down in Venice. We had a map in our hands which was given by the hotel guy but we did not know what to do next or what to see next and where to go. So we decided to take a look around and walk the streets of Venice and maybe, follow the crowd for a while.

Venice is surely as beautiful as someone can expect it to be. If it is a clear day then the turquoise water and pale & red archaic buildings make a perfect combination for the candies to the eyes. There are a lot of pedestrians bridge from where you can get the panoramic view of the town. Below is a list of the basic information about Venice I think every tourist should know. It will also help you in getting familiar with the tourist town.

Venice

Venice Facts that I learned:

  • Venice is basically a group of islands. It is separated from the mainland by the Venetian lagoon. On the mainland and another side of the lagoon is Mestre.
  • Mestre is cheaper compared to Venice. Because of cheaper hotels, pubs, bars and easy commuting options, Mestre often becomes the starting point of the traveling to Venice.
  • Since Venice is made up of islands, there are no car or any sort of road transport. Waterways are the main mode of transportation. You can use boats & ferries to reach one point from another.
  • There is the main canal in Venice to which smaller canals connects. The main canal is called the “Grand Canal”.
    Most of the places to see in Venice are located along the Grand Canal itself. That means if you are going to take a ride along the Grand canal, then the chances are higher that you are going to see the most of the places to see in Venice.

Gondola Experience in Venice:

One of the most amazing things that I saw in the Venice was Gondola. The gondola is a boat which used to be main waterways transportation. Though it is still there but it is used more for touristic purposes than daily life purposes. I heard that when someone gets married in Venice, they officially come to marry on Gondola which is obvious because there are no other ways in which you can reach a place other than Gondola in Venice.

A Couple in Gondola at Venice

Today also when you look around you will find new couples already married or going to get married soon are going in a Gondola. The boat person of the Gondola will decorate the boat very nicely. It will usually be decorated using a dark red or maroon clothing which seems more like a red carpet thing.

The boat person will take you mainly to the Grand Canal and beyond that. They will also sing the traditional song which Gondola boatmen used to sing to entertain you. Couples sit, relax, and watch the sunset together.

Venice photography & architectural traveling:

One of the things which I loved the most was that we hired a private boat. That boat took us to a lot of places through water where regular tourists hardly go. We had to pay around 20 Euros for an hour which I think, according to my experience, was a cheap deal.

Venice boat guy

That boat guy was also an Indian and he told us a lot of things which we could not have known if we had not met him. Some of the things which he told us about:

  • Venice and its township and architecture
  • How a house is repaired when there is canal everywhere and the walls of the houses are adjacent to a canal.
  • The Venice house gardens

and a lot of canny things which were interesting to know.

Along the Grand Canal Experience:

The Grand Canal in Venice is one of the most touristic places. Some of the things that you should consider doing there are:

  • Take a Gondola ride through the Grand canal
  • Have dinner in the evening beside the grand canal
  • If you are planning to stay there then that would be the best choice that you can make about staying in Venice
  • Grand canal and the area around the Rialto bridge make an awesome place to visit along with doing shopping.
  • If you want to travel cheap then take a ferry which goes to a further place beyond the Grand canal and you can easily see the most of the beautiful places to see in Venice which lie along it.

Venice to Vienna Traveling Experience

Gallery

Travelling from Venice to Vienna would be my one of the best travelling experience in Europe in terms of relishing the landscapes of Europe. I took this journey in two parts.

  • Venice to Villach by bus.
  • Villach to Vienna by train.

Villach is the first town at the border of Italy and Austria. I travelled from Venice to Villach by a bus and the rest of the journey was completed by a train.

Venice to Villach experience:

I would say that the journey from Venice to Villach was mostly through the plains of the Europe towards the northern Italy except the last part when we entered the Alps terrain and valleys. The journey shows you one of the most beautiful landscapes of Italy which include villages, grasslands, farming fields etc.

But I did not know that there was more to come when I would leave the bus and board the train to Vienna from Villach.

Villach to Vienna by Train:

I enjoyed this journey more than the first part of the journey for two reasons:

  • The train was running slower than the bus because most of the journey parts were spent in ascending and descending the alps range. So, on a slower train, there was more to see.
  • Second, on this journey, the train crosses one of the most beautiful terrains of the Alps.

Throughout the journey, the train follows the river Mur, as far as I think. Then I explored the Google Maps because I was so intrigued by the train journey. And I found this fact.

Then I further explored the Google Terrain maps and I found out that It would have been a lot easier for the railway engineers to lay the railway tracks along the river Mur. That is show because of the river if you see on the Google Maps, run through the alps terrain and on an almost flat terrain crisscrossing through the mighty mountains.

And, it would surely be easier for the engineers to lay the track along the river on the plains than digging a tunnel through the mountain. This reminds me of my train journey from Berlin to Prague which also runs along the river Elbe.

Train Along the WortherSee:

One of the most remarkable things that I saw along this journey was the train running along the Worthersee. A few minutes just after the train leaves the town of Villach, it starts crawling along the Worthersee.

This whole journey along the Worthersee lake lasts for around 30 Kms. And it is so soothing to the eyes. There were a few huts along the lake. Also, the life seemed so easy.

Some of the most remarkable things that I saw on this Journey are shown in the pictures below:

 

 

Vatican City: Strange Facts & Visiting Tips

Gallery

Vatican City seemed as cryptic as walking into a mysterious zone where every inch of the foothold holds some stories. When I was a child I came to knew that Vatican city was the world’s smallest country. Just imagine how had that be like to imagine visiting the smallest country in the world?

Enter into Rome and the most of the tourists just want to go to the Vatican city. I was a no exception. Also, I had no expectation of seeing some barrier or kind of wired fencing around the Vatican city. As I grew up, I had already come to that Vatican city is a kind of place where the Pope lives and it is more like a sacred country.

When you reach nearer to the Vatican City, you see a large fort wall. And that’s the wall which separates a country from a city. Astonishing, is not it? Do not undermine the strength of the Vatican city in terms of the administration and facilities. It has every basic entity which a country needs to be run properly.

Also read: St. Thomas basilica church, Santhome

On another note, if I had to compare Vatican City, I would compare it with the Gosaba island in the Sundarbans but that would be far-related and weird. Moreover, Gosaba island is secluded even though it has a whole municipality of its own.

Some strange facts about Vatican City:

  • Vatican city has its own barracks but that’s for the Swiss Guards which were hired by Pope Julius-three as the mercenary force.
  • Vatican City has a Television Center. Wonder, from where the live telecast and the message of the Pope come from.
  • Vatican city also has other facilities like a super store, Drug store, post office, railway station, Greenhouses, English Gardens, Library, Colleges, Radio station, Italian Garden, Guest house, Audience hall etc.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peters Square occupy more than one-tenth of the total area of the Vatican City Alone.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica is believed to be sitting atop a city of the dead. The story goes like this: There was a great fire in Rome in A.D. 64. During that time, the emperor of the Rome was Emperor Nero. Trying not to take the blame on himself, instead, he blamed Christians of the fire. So, to take the revenge, he also burnt them alive in the same fire. St. Peter, after whom the basilica and the square have been named was also one among the victims. St. Peter was one of the most profound disciples of Jesus Christ. Later, when the Christianity was declared as the official religion of Rome, a basilica was made atop the same blaze.
  • Vatican City even before being declared as a sacred area was already being treated as a sacred area.
  • During the second world war, even though the Italy was an integral member of the war, Vatican City expressed a neutrality in the war. The neutrality was waged to such an extent that even if Rome be bombarded, Vatican City, lying almost in the center of the Rome, should not be touched.
  • Unlike citizenship of other states, which is based mostly on the place of birth, citizenship of Vatican City is granted on the grounds of appointment to work in a certain capacity in the service of the Holy See. It usually ceases upon cessation of the appointment. Citizenship is extended also to the spouse, parents, and descendants of a citizen provided they are living with the person who is a citizen.

Other tips to visiting the Vatican City:

  • Vatican City will mostly be crowded on a clear day. So, I am not extrapolating when I say, beware of the pick- pockets.
  • As I mentioned in the beginning that every inch of the sacred land holds some mystery, plus, as a tourist, you would also be allowed not to visit some of the secluded and parked areas, so it is always better to hire a guide.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica is a must. Do not forget to go inside the church as well as on the dome top of the church.
    From the top, you get to see the most of the remaining part of the Vatican city. The view of the St. Peter’s square will just be mesmerizing
  • Also, visit inside the church. It is decorated with a lot of paintings including some of the most famous paintings.

Some of the pictures from the Vatican City:

Traveling Experience in Italy: Mystery And History

When I began planning my trip around Europe, Italy was the first country where I flew to. Somewhere in my mind, Italy wore one of those iconic beauties seeing which I have grown up. Italy reminds me of certain peculiar things which are deeply associated with me:

Ancient Architecture in Italy:

If Egypt & Jordan come first into my mind about the Pale ancient architecture like Pyramid, Petra and Roman Theatre then surely, Rome (and maybe Greece) comes into my mind with those magnificent white ancient & medieval buildings of Pisa, Churches in Europe (Also called by as Basilicas) and ancient architecture from the roman times. If you are really interested in knowing about these things, visit Palatine hill and Roman Forum in Rome.

Roman Forum in Noon

Roman Forum in Noon

Mystical Hollywood Movies Related to Myths and the medieval time war movies:

Be it Angels & Demons, Inferno, Lawrence of Arabia, 300 or Gladiator all the movies reminds me of the Romans. There was a church near the Palatine hill. I never expected that there would be a really beautiful church inside it. I have even visited the churches in the Europe.

I remember when I was inside the Berlin Cathedral Church in Germany and I had visited the Hohenzollern Crypt. They really look mysterious. Another time, I had visited a catholic church in Bamberg and the music being played was really mystical. If you really want to feel your connection with the mystery then go and visit the Vatican city. It’s a totally different experience.

Crypt Berlin cathederal church (3)

Crypt Berlin cathederal church (3)

A similar feeling goes for the Colosseum. It reminded me of the Gladiator movie. I almost imagined what would that had been like to fight like a Gladiator in that arena.

Mafia and GodFather:

I remember when I first landed in Rome, everywhere I saw, I was trying to decode a mafia in everyone who had a suspectical face with a mustache. The suspicion almost doubles up when they arrive in an old car or you are walking through a lonely street.

We were looking for a cheap hotel in Rome and we booked it little off from the main town beside a metro station. When we arrived the hotel, just outside the hotel, I enjoyed looking at the people and trying to pin a guess at them.

The land of romance:

Paris is not overrated but Italy, as a country, is surely underrated in terms of Romance. Try a Gondola ride in Venice or go for cycling on the romantic route in Italy. Or spend some time in Tuscany.

Italy has a little Indian in it or Vice Versa:

I can even prove that. So after a quite some time in Germany when I landed in Italy, I found that Italians did not follow the rules as much as the Germans. So, I was on my way to the Vatican City I guess. There was a red signal across the road but even there a little movement of the vehicle on the road but I found Italians were just like us. Look on the both sides of the road and just cross it if you feel you would be safe for next five seconds.

Based on my Stay in Italy and seeing different places, here a few things that I would suggest you do in Italy:

  • Visit Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine hill in Rome
  • Spend some time in Venice. If possible take an island tour and watch the sunset
  • Take a train from Venice to Vienna. This journey offers a lot of scenic beauty to relish.
  • Eat Italian dishes. Try Pizza with wine. You would love that.

Roman Forum Photo Blog

Gallery