After a very restless sleep on the night train, being woken up several times as we passed through passport control going through various european countries, we finally hit the west side and into Venice at 7 o clock in the morning. Ben probably had the worst nights sleep out of all of us due to the very fact that it was his duty to sleep on the bottom bunk.
It was early but already the locals were up and starting to prepare their shop displays for a days trading ahead of them! We arrived at the Hotel Scandinavia and checked in only to be told the room would not be ready until 1pm. This wasn't well received considering the lack of air conditioning on the night train (I will leave it to your imagination how sweaty the cabin got...) We left our bags in the hotel lobby and started an early exploration of Venezia.
It was the day of the Sabbath and hundreds of bells were tolling across the floating city. We grabbed a panini and cafe latte to settle our appetite. We realised subsequently that the famous San Marco Piazza was a few paces away from our hotel. Walking round the last corner and through a narrow alleyway, we entered the Piazza.
It was breathtaking, bone tingling and overwhelmingly stunning to reflect mildly. We looked at the size of the queue for St Marks Campanile and decided that it was early enough to go to the top of it there and then. 8 Euros later we were at the top of the humongous tower savouring the most perfect panoramic views. This made the tower in Prague look infantile! An added bonus after fifteen minutes occurred... The three huge bells above our heads which are roughly two tonnes each started to toll. They completely caught us by surprise and some people muted the sound by putting their fingers in their ears. I just thought it was completely awesome! I will echo my Facebook status... Pretty romantic Venezia was offering the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
The sun really did have his hat on and we continued to walk in over 30 degrees heat. The fragrance of mozzarella, parmesan, pasta, pizza and not least sweet deserts were emalgemating to form this beautifully harmonised and spliced aroma. Tourists from all walks of life were well received by the locals in such a hospitable manner. This was indeed a very classy and civilised experience. Walking around we felt the need in regular intervals to stop, rest and drink more cafe latte.
After a tiring commute and preliminary exploration of Venice our room was now ready. We obtained our key and had a little nap. This room had air conditioning which was essential in said heat. Our balcony provided us with a perfect view of tourists walking through our local square. So whilst Ben and Eddie were still napping, I listened to some music, chilled and watched the sun go down.
Time for the evening meal... With so many restaurants, it was almost perfectly competitive. So we basically had a little game of choose one at random and see. We sat down and waited for the menu. The waiter was too busy trying to attract the attention and humour pretty ladies walking past. The meal prices were reasonable considering it's the city that's been a complete ripoff for the past 400 years. We enjoyed our Italian food watering it down with a couple of glasses of Italian beer. Incidentally we sat next to fellow teachers and exchanged some amusing stories. Time for the bill!! OMG! The food was reasonably cheap but it transpired that the beer was 8 euros per 0.4 litres of beer. That's RIDICULOUS!!! It turned out that all restaurants did this. Ben was not a happy boy! Thank goodness we only consumed two 0.4 litre glasses of beer!
Eddie wanted to experience the delights of the exclusive Harrys bar where rich and famous people are attracted to, but I was turned away because I was wearing shorts.
Realising our misfortune we decided that an early night was in store to experience the beauty of Venice further.