Welcome to Erin N Ella's Travel Blog!!

All you need to know about Eurotrips;
From budgeting tips to accommodation to food choices and places to go out (and a few other stories...)

Sit back, hold tight, (get a cuppa tea) and enjoy the linguistic ride :D

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Venezia - Ciao Bella!

(For a quick summary, scroll to the final paragraph)
Four hours sleep, an aggravating taxi journey and a million toilet trips later we arrived at Barcelona airport. To catch a taxi to the airport you don't have to book in advance, even if you are travelling at five in the morning. Simply walk over to La Ramblas and flag down a passing cab - five seater taxis aren't common so if you travel in a big group you may have to split up. As you can see (to the right), we were hyped up and bursting with energy and excitement to begin our Italian leg of the journey....

What else is gonna wake ya up?!?!
On arrival to the airport, for a quick fix, Simone decided to whip out her muesli and... Do a line.... (well, not literally but the image was hilarious enough to send us into fits of laughter). Having regained some of our energies from a fibre boost we boarded the plane and headed to Milan! We couldn't get a direct flight from Barcelona to Venice on easyjet so settled for Milan - luckily for us the trip was easy and rather quick - as we landed in Milan we hopped on the bus to the central station (costing €6), after which we took the (two and half hour) train to Venezia :). Instead of waiting for our train to Venice we were able to change our tickets (with Tren Italia) to an earlier time at no charge, so if you arrive early at the station it's worth asking if there are spaces on an earlier train.

Travel in Venice

Since travel around more distant parts of Venice and to surrounding islands is by waterbus, we were told to purchase a student ticket that lasted for a few days. Now here comes our unsound advice - DO NOT BUY THIS STUPID TICKET!!! You may be thinking, well then, why did you buy it? We were fooled to believe (by people working at the station) that this ticket was a necessity and that travel without it was impossible, as was every other confused tourist that strolled out of the central station in Venice. Meanwhile, no ticket officer or waterbus driver EVER checked our ticket, EVER! This was most irritating, particularly because €22 was a huge sum of money for us on a small budget! So, we would advise you to perhaps not buy the ticket, HOWEVER, be warned, if you are caught without a ticket, you may be fined €50. Fine, that is considerably more than €22 and some of you may be thinking 'better safe than sorry', but, for those of you who live on the edge, it mayyyy be worth hedging your bets and not getting it- you could always come up with a cunning story about your ticket falling in the water, or that you didn't know you had to get one. Either way, DON'T BLAME US!!!!!

Venice may be notorious for being expensive, though we can assure you that it is possible to travel on a budget - just keep your eyes peeled for bargains, and perhaps look for cafes or meals on quieter side-streets.

For accommodation - we stayed at a little hotel called Ca Mignon. It was just brilliant - we had our own mini apartment with an ensuite bathroom (a real necessity for our locas). The price tag per night was also not very expensive, at about €22 a night (considering the location is great {you can walk to San Marco Square in about 15 minutes}, and the staff there are very helpful).
For dining - what we believed was the BEST pizza restaurant of the entire trip - Casa Mia (located on Cannaregio, calle dell'Oca) a real Italian-style place located in a small side-street, perfect for a quiet evening eating delicious food and soaking up the local atmosphere. For very cheap ice-cream (about €1.30), you can walk down the main road not far from either Casa Mia or Ca Mignon, and you will no doubt find a number of ice-cream stalls - walk down nearer the end to see what suits your fancy or which stall is cheapest. Also, there is a fantasticccc little cafe right near Ca Mignon hotel offering very cheap cappuccinos which are nonetheless deliciously creammyy and satisfying ;)))
To save money (and time) at lunchtimes between sight-seeing, pop into a local supermarket and you can simply buy a large salad and perhaps a tin of tuna for some protein --> its great value for money.
If you are interested in spending a one-off ridiculous amount of money for top-quality baked goods while enjoying top-notch service and good music (as Dora and Ella did) - have tea at San Marco Square.
For a Venetian experience - since gondola rides can be a touch (*major understatement*) on the pricey side, to get a taste of what its like to be on one look out for small cross channel gondola rides for about €0.50 lasting a few minutes - they may be short though the rides are fun and at least you get a taster of what one is like.
For sight-seeing - the Guggenheim Museum is the top museum of the list (a brilliant modern art museum which appeals to most creative tastes), San Marco Square (which is dominated by the beautifully grand church of St Mark {which if you want to enter make sure you are dressed modestly - knees and shoulders covered}, beyond which is the church tower and before it is the Loggetta at the foot of the Campanile). Entry into the church of St Mark is about €4, though to enter some of the other sections within the church you may have to dish out a few extra euros. We would not recommend buying an €18 pass to all churches if you are only staying for a couple of days, it isn't worth it and you won't have the chance to go and see all of them.
You must however visit the island of Murano - The Glass Island!! There you can go to the glass factory and view the professionals effortlessly crafting beautiful masterpieces famously known as Venetian artworks. There are many little shops dotted around, though be warned, they are VERY expensive. It is worth checking out one of the first few shops that you see as you get off the waterbus at Murano - there Erin found a gorgeous little glass pendant for only €6 (which she bargained down to €4, ooooo yeeeeee!!!)
Do visit the old Jewish Ghetto, where you will also find the Jewish museum and synagogue - all of which have a fascinating history.
Another sight on your to-do-list must of course be the Rialto Bridge - the oldest bridge across the canal in Venice.


- There are so many sights to see in Venice and beautiful little shops/cafes/restaurants to pop into, that its worth just walking around and taking the waterbus around different places for a full 2/3 days to soak in the atmosphere.
- There isn't really a nightlife here, so if you are going travelling for a long time, perhaps leave Venice as one of your more intensive tourist locations during the day but a good place to rest in the evenings. (oh, and word of advice, don't go to the Casino - leave the gambling for Vegas).
* Small warning from Simone: holla to all those suffering from pernoctation – a.k.a pigeon phobia – it is where your fear will come alive – common symptoms include hyperventilating and bad thoughts about ways in which you could harm the pigeons most (and no, she isn't joking).

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