So here we are on our own now on. The group split after conference days and were free to go back. We decided to stay on for a few more days and travel around before we got back. In all fairness, this is men’s first opportunity to experience the country. Some others as well, from the group, had made their plans to go around the country before they went back.
As planned we hired a Hertz and drove to Venice last evening. At the mainland of Venice- Venice has two parts, the mainland and the lagoon- we parked our car and took the water taxi to the lagoon. The water taxi takes a route in the lagoon and stops at different spots on its way through the lagoon. So this works like a public transport in any other country except that you are sailing in water. If you have been to Kottayam in Kerala, which is referred to the ‘Venice of the south” in India, you know what I mean.
We had made our reservations online and had an address, email and phone number of the Al Palazzo where we were to stay. They had clearly instructed how to reach the place. We got off at the advised stop and walked along the jetty and across a bridge – of which there is plenty here – to reach the hotel. Our room is just over the canal and overlooking it too. We had decided to have a Pizza for dinner since we had not tasted one yet- Italian Pizza being the mother of all Pizzas. We were not disappointed – all Pizza bases are freshly made and are thin crust. The varieties the Pizzeria offered went over 100 different kinds. Other than the toppings, the different cheeses made for such variety. I stuck to familiar cheese – mozerrella.
After a frugal breakfast of orange juice, bread rolls and coffee, map in hand, we began our tour of Venice – second time around, for Mamy and I, but in awesome weather. The sun was bright and out for the day and Venice was buzzing with life. There were people everywhere. The plan for the day evolved as we walked the streets. We went on a Gondola ride in the Venice canals. The Gondoliers were smartly dressed in their stripy tee shirts, hats and charming demeanor. They row a 11.5 meter gondola single handedly, while chatting you up about local traditions.
We also went to another island of Venice called Burano. Burano is known for its laces and colorful two storied houses. Even from far away in the ferry we had to take to reach Burano, we could see little brick houses in purple, pink and shades of green and blue. We spent two hours in Burano walking the streets with the other tourists and locals. We stopped at a local café and were surprised when the waiter spoke to us in Hindi! He knew of Bombay, Mhd.Rafi, Kerala and the traffic in India. How cool was that.
Most of the shops lining the streets of Venice sold leather goodies or jewelry. The Carnivale masks, chef caps, aprons, magnets, blown glass with intricate design patterns, artistic representations of Venice in charcoal, on canvas, water colors, and hordes of gelato kiosks made up for the rest of the shops. Speaking of Gelato.. I had two other flavours since I came here. Tiramisu and Limone.