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Monday, August 9, 2010

City of Venice

Due to the exhausted long-hour road journey on the day before, we woke up pretty late that morning. Anyway, we were not in a hurry to the next destination, though I really look forward to it.
When husband asked me if there is any place I wish to include in the trip, I said Venice without much thinking. At first, he was like : What? Venice again? But I insisted. Told him I always like Venice, so I really would like to go there again. Besides, how can we not going Venice after flying a few thousand miles to Italy? Luckily, he said ok.
Ok, after a long breakfast in the hotel's restaurant, we departed at around 10 am.

The weather was good, the sky was clear, the express way is easy....so that's going to be another perfect day for us.

On the way to Venice, we passed by Verona, which is famous for Shakespearean tragedy "Romeo & Juliet". Actually, we have discussed before departure if we should have paid a visit to Verona too. But husband said that this place is just a fiction of the fiction, and has nothing too special, so he wanted to skip it. For me, I'm fine as long as he takes me to Venice.

The expressway is so easy and straight forward that we reached our destination within 1.5 hour time.

The bridge that link the mainland with Venice Island.

Some cruise ships were docking over there. Gosh, they are like a 10-stories huge hotel !

The frontier of Venice soon crossing the bridge. First, we returned the rented car to Avis, cause we won't need the car anymore here. Should we keep the car, we got to pay HKD550 for packing, which we think is a pure waste of money.

The return of the car went on smooth, soon we were here to buy the ferry's ticket. The ticket with baggages tagging along is not cheap, cost us around HKD 300 (€ 6.50 per head, single way). Well, things in Venice are generally very expensive.

Walking towards the water bus's stop.

The ticket for a public ferry has already cost that much, we didn't bother to check for the price of water taxi lo.

The waiting area for water bus.

Here comes the water bus, or called vaporetti.

The boys have found themselves a good seat, and they are very eager to see this "City on Water", which I have described vaguely to them the day before.

Slowly moving towards the heart of Venice....

After 13 years later, I was here again. And I felt a bit overwhelming to see this beautiful city again which I can't see elsewhere.

Just that this time, we brought our children to here too. And I feel happy that I can show and share my favorite city with them.

The customary gondola, so authentic that they only meant for Venice.

The architectures along the Grand Canal haven't been changed since a few hundreds years ago, it would be easy to imagine that the city looked much the same way centuries ago as it does now. That makes Venice a genuine "Living Museum" that still operates actively in day-in-day-out basis.

Honestly, I don't think any of the profit-minded developers in this modern world can build another city equivalent to Venice. Not because they don't have the technology to build it, but I bet they just don't have that patience for it. Even they do, they won't be able to build a city with that kind of essence which can move the hearts.

Looking at the charms that grow as time pass, I just feel that Venice belongs to everyone. And thus, everyone should take certain responsibilities to preserve this place in a right way....

for the sake of our young, and their next generation and so forth. It would be such a loss if they can't get to see this historical city some time in the future.

Ironically and sadly, Venice is sinking....
Venice has always been slowly sinking. Over the last 1,000 years, it has sunk by around 7cm for every century. But recent reports have stated that in the last century alone, the city of Venice has lowered by around 24 cm. This may have more to do with global warming and the melting polar ice caps than with Venice sinking into its own foundations.
With water levels rising, flooding has become a serious problem and is contributing to Venice sinking. The high water level is causing damage to Venice and disruption to its inhabitants. It has now reached the point at which city governors see the problem as critical.
If nothing is done and the trend continues, by 2055, a significant portion of the city’s walkways, plazas, and ground-level floors will be submerged all the time.
In 1970, a plan was proposed that involved the installation of large, mobile gates at the three inlets of the lagoon; these would be raised as needed to keep out high water. But for the next 30 years, a series of excruciating delays prevented any significant progress from being made. There were, of course, significant engineering problems to be solved, not to mention the problem of financing such an ambitious undertaking. But political reasons, more than anything else, held up development.
At the end of 2001, a plan was finally put in motion to keep back the high waters. Nicknamed "Project Moses", the plan calls for the construction of 79 steel gates, hinged at the bottom, to be installed along the sea floor at the three inlets to the lagoon.
Many experts said that this solution to stop Venice sinking can only be short term and will only help stem the floods for the next 20 or 30 years. A long-term solution must be found to stop Venice sinking that includes dealing with the causes of global warming. If not, Venice sinking into its own waters may be another chapter in world history.

I pray for all those magnificent architectures won't be sinking into the sea water. If there is anything I can do to save Venice, I would do it.

Hotels along the canal bring back the feelings of modern life and the charges are startling high !

One of the things that fascinated me the most is its irregular beauty of this place...virtually there are no buildings that resemble one another. Imagine how creative Venice is.

Everywhere along the canal is a good place to hang around and see the walks of life...

Gondola riding along the Grand Canal serves as another good way to admire the beauty of Venice....

The highlight of Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge.

Rialto Bridge (Italian: Ponte di Rialto) on San Polo, the smallest sestiere. The bridge has become one of Venice's most recognizable icons and has a history that spans over 800 years. Today's Rialto Bridge was completed in 1591 and was used to replace a wooden bridge that collapsed in 1524.

The view after crossing Rialto Bridge is even fascinating...

Aha...this restaurant at the canal front is the one husband and I been visited last time. The seafoods dinner was good but the price we got to pay was startling high (more than HKD1000), considering we were not that "rich" at that time.

Anyway, that romantic seafood restaurant was worth it, as one of the life time experiences.

Looking back at Rialto Bridge...

Absolutely beautiful...

More than 90% of the buildings in Venice look nostalgia...

Looking backwards, Rialto Bridge is almost no longer can be seen...

Yes, I miss this place. I would described my feeling towards Venice as "love at the 1st sight". For unknown reason, I just love Venice when we first visited here about 13-14 years ago, and I still love Venice until today.

The boys were amazed to see this 'City on Water'. Me too...

There is no such place elsewhere in this world, but Venice, and Venice only.

Venice and its lagoon is one of UNESCO World Herritage Sites.

Venice is one of the most important tourist destinations in the world, due to the city being one of the world's greatest and most beautiful cities of art. The city has an average of 50,000 tourists a day. In 2006, it was the world's 28th most internationally visited city, with nearly 3 million international arrivals that year.

However, Venice's popularity as a major worldwide tourist destination has caused several problems, including the fact that the city can be very overcrowded at some points of the year. It is regarded by some as a tourist trap.

The competition for foreigners to buy homes in Venice has made prices rise so highly, that numerous inhabitants are forced to move to more affordable areas, out from Venice Island. Due to this reason, the population in the historic old city declines at a significantly faster rate, from about 120,000 in 1980 to about 60,000 in 2009.

Venice is still one of the most interesting and lovely places in the world. This sanctuary on a lagoon is virtually the same as it was six hundred years ago, which adds to the fascinating character. Venice has decayed since its heyday and is heavily touristed (there are slightly more tourists than residents), but the romantic charm remains.

Acqua alta (high water) has become a fact of life in Venice, mainly in winter, and especially at high tide. The lagoon water level occasionally rises above the level of the squares and streets, flooding them. This can happen several times a year, at irregular intervals, but not a terribly troublesome one, because most of them get around in boats anyway.

San Giorgio Island, at a more modernized zone.

The Grand Canal gets wider from this part and onwards.

Vaporetti, is generally the best way to get around. It is inexpensive if compared to water taxi, but the sights are priceless: amazing architecture, soft seaside sunlight, and a fascinating parade of Venetian watercraft.

Husband said our hotel is located somewhere around here, and I was realy looking forward to it.

The world famous St. Marco Square, also the most busy place in Venice.

Soooo charming...

The winged lion, serves as another iconic of Venice.

The blue print of Venetian Macau was originated from here

Looking backwards.

We get off the water bus from S.Zaccaria stop at around 1.30 pm, and ended the boat journey after 20 min.

One of my vivid memories about Venice, a huge crowds from all over the world.

After walking for a few minutes pulling the luggages along, we were sweating.

Luckily, it's very near from the stop to our hotel, Pensione Wildner.

The small reception in the hotel. The owner told us our room was still in the cleaning progress, but it's alright to leave our luggages there.

Our room.

The view as seen from the window of our room.

Since our room was still in cleaning, we decided to take a short walk. We walked away from the most crowded area.

A very special restaurant on the canal, just that it would be too hot to dine there under the hot sun.

Yes, this was another good fine day for all of us.

The city is not that big, and you can walk from one end to the other in a few hours. But it would take months for a fit person to discover every path in the city.
Along the way you will discover marvelous art, superb architecture and breathtaking urban landscaping. Exploring the city randomly by walking is well worth it but also be prepared to get lost easily!
Signs all over the city indicate the direction to the main attractions, "Rialto" and "San Marco", as well as the way back to the train station ("ferrovia") and the bus terminal ("Piazzale Roma"). These signs make it easy to have the "get lost experience" even as a one-day tourist.

We had had a few good shots at this place...

Boys, I hope you 2 would love Venice as mommy does.

Walked arcross a narrow canal.

15 minutes later, we have no ideas of our where about. Anyway, we have no worries about it, cause Venice is a very manageable city.

Some people would drink the water from here, but I dare not to let the boys take it.

Taking a short break here, in total relaxation...

and looking at people's backyard, so cool.

30 minutes later, we felt hungry and thus, decided to find ways back to the hotel. Think the room would be ready by then. We really have no idea how to get back, just follow our guts feeling.

Interesting lifestyle to the city folks, like us.

The winged lion.

Absolutely have no idea what this place is, just knew that we should walk to the direction of Grand Canal. But the question is, which way leading to the Grand Canal?

Could be a museum or something?

How relaxing...

In the meantime, Venice faces an uncertain and paradoxical existence. While tourism increases to record levels, the population of the city itself has plummeted.
There were 184,000 residents in 1950; today, there are fewer than 60,000. A shocking percentage of Venice’s glorious old buildings stand vacant as owners move to more stable surroundings, yet real estate prices remain astronomically high, discouraging an influx of new residents.
With no one to renovate and maintain the buildings, they will fall apart faster; but the more the city deteriorates, the fewer people are willing to live there and do anything about it. Project Moses may keep the floods out, but will it enable Venice to keep its head above water?

This house, is considered a very well-maintained one on the island.

Yes, could see the Grand Canal from far. Walking behind them, I wondered what were they looking at?

Surprisingly, we saw many jelly fishes floating near to the water surface. They are so beautiful and transparent.

One good thing about travelling with the kids, they usually get to see the things we tend to overlook. If not because of them, we won't get to see jelly fishes in the canal of Venice.

We bent a corner and then, back on the street along Grand Canal again.

Accidentally pressed a wrong button and snapped some photos in a very weird color mode, but weird has its weird beauty at times.

Venice as seen with a blue color filter.

They waved the boys to go near from, but stopped by us, cause it's not FOC, ok.

We were so hungry by then, that we simply walked in a street side restaurant and orders some pastas & spaghetti. We gobbled the foods like hungry wolf.
By then, the boys have collected that many bottle's lit already. They are so determined to want to find more. In fact, they get pretty crazy about their new collection. Almost everywhere they go, they looked at the ground only.

We went back to the hotel room at around 3 pm. The room has been nicely packed already, and looks very charming to us.

We think this is a very typical Venetian guest rooms. Though not at the highest rank, this one cost € 170 per night. Husband said this is the cheapest he could find with Grand Canal view.

The boys would be sleeping here for 2 nights, no doubts.

A beautiful painting on the wall.

We turned on the air conditioner to its maximum. Thank God it's working well...

The four of us lazed on the bed comfortably, till it's not too hot to walk outside again...


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