Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Days 5-6: Venice II

The first issue to be solved starting our second day in Venice was the fact that we didn't actually have any accommodation for the next day. We'd been told by the Santa Fosca staff when we checked in that they didn't have any free, but we should check back at 8am the next morning because there might be cancellations. Gerry was awesome and volunteered to be the one to get up early and check, and it turned out that they did have beds free, though we'd have to split up and move rooms, which wasn't much of a problem.

Our first sight of the day was the Guggenheim gallery. I got stung in not having a student card (though it turns out my 18-25 Young Person's railcard works for most places) so had to pay an extra €5 for an adult ticket rather than a student ticket, but the gallery itself was pretty good. Generally I'm not a huge fan of art galleries, but some of the stuff was pretty interesting, and the texts explaining stuff next to the paintings and sculptures were in English as well as Italian, which definitely helped.

From the Guggenheim we went back to St Marco's square and inside the Basilica, which was free, and had crazy gold mozaic all over the ceilings. Seeing any of the stuff off to the side required paying money though, and none of us were particularly keen so we didn't bother.

The hostel had a pretty decent kitchen, which we'd checked was stocked with pans and plates and the like, so we decided that we'd generate a bit of drinking money and cook ourselves. This involved searching for a supermarket in Venice in which we could actually get the supplies to cook with, which took a fair bit of time. We found one, and then on the way back to the hostel we discovered another one which was a two minute walk from the hostel, and which we'd walked past several times and apparently none of us had noticed it before.

The meal was pretty decent, a tomato and onion sauce bought from the supermarket, with some peppers thrown into it and a kilo of pasta. Given it cost about a euro each and left us all completely stuffed, it was a pretty good shout. It also meant we bought some beer from the supermarket, which again was a ton cheaper than drinking out somewhere.

The first stop for the next day was the Natural History museum. This took a fair bit of finding, given it basically wasn't signposted at all from the direction we came from (though it turned out there were copious signs when approaching from the other direction). Venice is pretty easy to get lost in, and we'd continually end up somewhere which we thought should be the museum, but would actually be at the Grand Canal, in sight of the museum, but with no way to actually get to it without going for a swim.

The museum was pretty good when we finally got there. It had no English whatsoever, but the majority of the exhibits (fossils) didn't really need a huge amount of translation, and there was some fairly interesting stuff.

From the museum we decided to head for the Piazzale Roma, not really having any idea what it was. There are various street signs at pretty much every turn in Venice, and they all give directions to either San Marco's square, one of the three main bridges, or the Piazzale Roma. Since the Piazzale Roma was the only one of these things that we hadn't been to see, and was in an area of the town we'd not really explored, we went for a look.

It turns out the Piazzale Roma is actually just a massive bus park. It's a big high-rise set of buildings of some sort which surrounds a huge bus park, and it's basically the main hub into and out from the island of Venice from the mainland, besides the train station. Not quite what we were expecting, but we found quite a nice park nearby and ate lunch there and played cards for a while.

Our train to Munich wasn't until 10:50pm, so we had a fair amount of time to kill. We wandered around a bit and saw the Jewish ghetto before heading back to the hostel to try and book somewhere in Munich for the next night. We paid a euro for an hour of internet, and managed to book somewhere, a process not made any easier by the fact that some guy threw a fit behind in the reception, and there was a general kerfuffle and paramedics arrived.

We'd long checked out, but nobody seemed to actually care, so we cooked at the hostel again and ate out in the courtyard. The hostel used to be some sort of nunnery before the University took it over, and it's pretty big and spacious, with a fair amount of open space courtyards, which are pretty hard to come by in Venice, which is otherwise quite a dense and compact city. We sat out until it went dark and then headed through the city to the train station to catch our train to Munich.

1 comment:

  1. I liked the little tale about the Piazza Roma, mainly because I could see it coming... Interestingly enough, easily the best supermarket in Venice is located just the other side of the Piazza from where you took that picture. Would have mentioned that earlier if I'd known you'd be shopping.
    Keep with the fun.