Venice is a beautiful city, and I can’t wait to come back! Unfortunately I wasn’t really able to spend much time here at all. I took an overnight train from Florence and got in around 8:00 am. The night before I’d checked with the hostel association, and found that all the hostels were full…no big deal I figured; I’d heard that the Venice hostels were nearly impossible to get into at the last minute. Well, what I didn’t know was that this was the weekend of the Venice marathon. For the first time in this trip, I wasn’t able to find a decently priced hostel or hotel anywhere! I did find several rooms over a hundred euros a night, but I just really didn’t want to pay that. Instead I figured I’d just take in as much of the city as I could before catching an overnight train to Vienna.
Right outside of the train station there is a water taxi service that runs the length of the Grand Canal. I grabbed a cheap tourist day pass, and proceeded to get lost. I hadn’t really done any research into Venice, so I figured I’d just wander around. I was amazed when I turned a corner and found myself in front of St. Mark’s square. The square is one those places that I’ve seen a million times on movies and magazines, but the sight of it in person was still amazing. The first thing that jumps out at you are all the pigeons. Thousands and thousands of them! Wandering around are feed vendors selling pigeon food for the tourists to use to tempt the birds just a little closer for that one perfect photograph with their kids. At the end of the square is St. Mark’s Cathedral. Next to that is the town bell tower that mysteriously collapsed in 1910 in the early morning with no warning. Luckily no one was hurt, and the town rebuilt it brick by brick over the next 10 years. I took the elevator to the top and the views from up there were amazing. After getting a few photos I wandered down and had dinner at one of the cafes lining the square. Finally, I wandered back to the train station watching the sun set over the canals. Amazing!