alistairphillips.com

I’m : a web and mobile developer based in the Manning Valley, Australia.


The Trip

Coming back home from holiday is always the worst. In a way it is nice to be back into the normal routine but I always feel my heart sink a little when we land back down at Heathrow/Gatwick and you see the murky UK weather out there.

But before you know it you're back in your daily routine and your holiday is but a distant memory. So let me stop this moaning and get to talking about our trip to Venice!

We flew out from Gatwick on British Airways (first time flying with them!) on some old plane. Not that I am one to complain as I just love flying! My first flight was when I arrived here in the UK on the 10th May 2003 so it's always still exciting for me! That joined with the fact that I seem to enjoy airline food and can fall asleep on long distance flights without a problem :-)

The weather above the clouds was quite brilliant and it looked like a whole other world there. Puffy white blobs just floating around as if it were some kind of sea. Even better when the sun starts so shine all over it! Tried to get a picture but it did not come out too well.

We were lucky enough to fly over the Alps so I got my first view of their snow-filled peaks. Quite scary to think that there are some majorly remote villages with people that actually live in those harsh conditions.

Two hours later and we arrived on Maro Polo Airport and touched down on Italian soil. Did you know that it is (apparently) actually illegal to take pictures from the aircraft while over Italian airspace? Not sure if that's true but one of the passengers was reprimanded by the cabin crew.

Once we'd landed we headed off to the tourist centre to buy a 3 day pass for the Water Busses at Euro 22 each and then another Euro 10 each for Alilaguna waterboat to get us from the airport to the island of Lido where our hotel was. So that was was occupied our first hour and a half, and of course it was dark by the time we got on the Alilaguna and reached our destination.

We stayed at the Hotel Panaroma which is on the Island of Lido. We got a real good deal on LastMinute.com for our stay there. Think it was around GBP250 each for the flights and 3 nights at the 4 star hotel. Brilliant place and you cannot ask for something more central as the water bus stop (on the "number 1" route) is about a 30 second walk from the hotel. This definitely beats the Paris and Amsterdam places! Nothing less than 4 star now please ;-)

Upon arrival we were offered an upgrade on our room for an extra Euro 20 a night - definitely worth if for the view that we received. We could wake up to the site of Venice outside our front windows.

Venice itself is quite stunning, but it's hard to imagine that a place like that can even exist. Everything is right on the canals and flooding is such a natural occurrence there that it's basically the norm. I mean San Marco square was dotted with a few water puddles all over the place - lucky we did not arrive a few days earlier otherwise it would have been another story.

At least now we can say that we have sat on an banks of the canals and sipped espresso's! Actually their hot chocolate was the best as it would seem that they melt half a slab of chocolate into the cup which makes it oh-so-good but yet oh-so-sinful.

We walked around for ages but often ended up either near or right back where we started! Must say that the further out you go the better deals you do get. As always the central bits (of any place) are the tourist traps and expect to pay a fortune for almost anything.

The weather was quite lovely while we were there and we definitely appreciated the warms rays of the sun shining down. But when the night came it sure did get chilly!

Venice is very much non-commercial in that you won't find all the usual chain stores there. Saying that after a hour or two of walking we did find a McDonalds but compared to other places where you find that one on every other street corner. The boutiques are so small and filled with all the latest designer Gucci items. It's just lovely peering around and seeing whats inside.

We did eat dinner out at an Italian restaurant on the first night but for the other two we did what we enjoy the most - going to the local supermarket and buying bits and pieces for dinner. So some rolls, cheese, cold meats and wine. Its brilliant wondering around seeing what things they have.

Wine is so cheap there it is unbelievable. A bottle of Chardonnay is Euro 16 in the restaurants but no more than Euro 2 in the supermarkets. If you want the wine in a box it's around Euro 0.60 per litre!

Decided not to go out on a gondola as they were so many of them offering rides that it just seemed cheap/boring. And besides it's smelly that close to the canals and the people taking the rides did not seem very happy! So we road the water bus all along the Grand Canal hopping off and on wherever we pleased.

I got to eat real some Italian lemon sorbet ice-cream which was great! Had 3 scoops of it so that's my quota for a while. That really is the best ice cream as it's not sweet but rather refreshing. Hmmmm :-)

Took some great pictures that I will try and upload a little later, just need to figure out how I'm going to do it. Blogger.com seemed to integrate nicely with hello.com but I'm not sure if I can use that with my current blog. Gimme a while! Unfortunately the camera broke on the last night there - managed to drop it on the hotel room floor and now it just shows "E25" on the display while trying to engage the lens. Time to claim on travel insurance!

We definitely had a great time there wondering around looking at all the ancient buildings and beautiful churches. Definitely worth a visit but not more than 2 or 3 days as there is not all that much to do. Loads of (murano) glass and mask shops!

Photo's to follow!