Arriving at Venice’s Marco Polo airport certainly gets you into the spirit of things. Take the name alone: an airport named after one of the world’s most famous travelers and explorers can only incite you to go out and do the same.
Starting with getting into Venice proper. Never for a moment can you forget that you are entering a different world, a city floating on water where the only means of transport are your feet and boats. No bus, metro or taxi, vaporetto is the name of the game. It was already fun boarding the official Venice public transport which goes by the name ALILAGUNA. Ticket machines are located next to the baggage reclaim in the arrivals hall and then it’s a 5 minute walk to the landing stage where the vaporettos leave every hour.
My hotel, aptly named Serenissima, is conveniently located between the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark’s Square, so my ‘bus stop’ was Rialto. The route from the airport runs along the Grand Canal and the sight makes you think you have landed in the middle of a movie scene. Everything I had imagined hove slowly into view, romantic bridges, majestic palazzo a bit worse for weat, building reflected in the water.
Getting off the boat glamour granny got lucky, because, lo and behold, Venice has porters. For EUROs 10 this weathered guy who immediately pointed out that he was native Venetian, loaded my bag onto his chart and guided me through narrow and winding alleys to my hotel. Every so often he blew a whistle to get pedestrians out of the way.
Once checked in, I went on a first walk around to get my bearings. Of course ,it’s carnival and the reason why I came to Venice now in the first place. Masks upon masks, each and every one a work of art by itself are displayed everywhere and I’m hard pressed which one to buy for myself to wear to the ball and the other events I’m going to attend during the next five days.
People are running around wearing masks all day long, although not that many yet, but these guys in St. Mark’s Square were already having great fun, posing happily for and with tourists. The good news is, that although plenty of visitors are here, it’s not crowded and you can actually see all the dramatic landmarks of Venice and enjoy views across the water.
In the evening I went out to have my first meal in Italy and I found a nice little trattoria where I devoured a pizzas I hadn’t eaten anything all day long, followed by a home made tiramisu. Hmmmmm! Bon Girono Serenissima, I have arrived and already love you.
Can’t wait for tomorrow and further adventures in Venice.