March 02, 2007

Italy Travelogue: Day 2 & 3

In Venice:

The journey to Venice was a welcoming edition to our trip as one of our distant relatives insisted that we should visit them. Ideally a Rome-Venice train journey would be more exciting for us but we could not book the ticket from Berlin via internet and instead could not resist another incredible budget airlines offer. The host was so sweet to wake up early in the morning and drop us at the Ciampino airport. All was going well until the pilot said that due to fog and low visibility the plane will be circling around Treviso airport for sometime before landing. Soon he informed that the plane cannot land as the visibility is not improving and instead he landed the plane in the nearby Trieste airport. We had to endure some uncertainties and anxious moments and finally it became clear to us how we will reach our destination. After landing we had to wait about an hour for the bus which took as back to Treviso airport, some 80 km from there.

This change of flight path had created complications for our hosts too. Our first escort waited and left and the second escort was unavailable when we finally arrived there after 3 hours of the scheduled time. After a number of communications (tip: carry a credit card to use public phone booths) with the host we were picked up by the second escort one and half hour later. They got puzzled initially and went half way to Trieste to pick us up.

Finally we went to our hosts place in Marghera, a village on the Terraferma (firm land) in Venice. After some resting we did not have the time to go to islands in the Venetian lagoons. We went out to see the town Mestre that night and spent some time in a restaurant drinking one of the best Cappuccinos I had ever taken. In Mestre the Bangladesh community is so large that it is common to see many Bangladeshis in public transports, Bangla signboards in Bangladeshi shops and Salwar kameezes. Some statistics needs to be mentioned here, Italy has almost a hundred thousand Bangladeshi immigrants, almost half of them illegal thanks to the laise-faire attitude of the Italian immigration police. A significant portion of them works in Rome and Venice.

We had lost almost one day but finally started our trip to Venice, the city of water. The weather was sunny in the 'Queen of Adriatic'. We started with a boat trip to the island Murano, about a mile north of Venice and famous for its glass working and lamp works, especially chandeliers. Needless to say these are truly masterpieces. While S. was gazing at one chandelier the owner of the shop politely reminded that it has gold plating and costs Euro 8,500. Thanks God he did not ask any money for looking at it. The shops don’t offer any catalog as people may steal the designs. I hope you have noticed that Venice is an expensive place. Here a meal can cost you up to ten times the usual price in other.

Then we went to the Venice city center. Piazza San Marco was really a wonderful place for my daughter as she had spent the time of her life with hundreds of pigeons. None were so active to run around scaring pigeons away like her. After a while we headed through narrow lanes with brand shops on both sides. We had to cross numerous bridges on canals where colorful Gondolas run. The canal water was sadly not clean and there were smells coming out of it. So it was a strong reason to decline the expensive Gondola ride. We had some wonderful Pasta and average pizza in a restaurant.

Venice is famous for its souvenirs, wonderful hand created masks, glass works from Murano and other showpieces like Gondola. We bought some to remember our trip.

The daylight was dimming and we had to go back. But it was really a wonderful experience visiting the dream city of water.


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