HolidayCity Flash April 2014 Edition
mind's eye envisioned Venice as a decaying water fortress portrayed in
mysterious horror- like films and books. Thomas Mann's book Death in Venice
provided me my most morbid images of this city in northeastern Italy.
I emerged from the train station and found myself veiled in a swirling lemon-coloured
fog as the weak rays of a September dawn tried to break through the heavy sea
mist. People swirled like ghosts and a floating Vaporetto (motorised barge) was
waiting below, as if to ferry travellers to the gates of the underworld. There
are no cars in Venice proper. Without a hotel booking in hand, I was spirited
away to the youth hostel on the Isle of Giudecca on Line 12.
That's where the dark side of Venice gave way to the brighter side of reality.
The hostel window near my bed looked east, straight out on to the Giudecca Canal
and to the famous skyline of the city of Venice. That evening a huge ocean liner
five stories high steamed past. It was the grand balcony view of all views
across the canal, taking in the Eastern panorama of St Mark's basilica and the
Doge Palace, all for the princely sum of 18 Euro a night!
Venice is old and creaks at the joints, but that is part of its charm. It is
akin to an old, arthritic man, worn away from wading in the salt water for too
long. The joints of the city may be old and the skin peeling, but it is still
full of historical charm combined with modern vitality. A visit to the Doge
Palace is a must, especially for the opportunity to come face to face with the
huge, luminous Titian paintings in heavy gilt frames. A walking tour brings the
visitor to St Mark's large, ornate doors and the chance to take in tall framed
long shots of vistas across the lagoon from multi-storied bridges and walkways
over narrow canals. The bridge of Sighs is the most famous among these.
I love alleyways and the dark green mysterious water, and Venice has both in
abundance. You can get lost within the main township, which adds to the mystery
of Venetian life, scurrying around long narrow lanes hard against early
Renaissance architecture, leading into walled squares containing Gothic churches
and enclosed courtyards. Venice is a busy labyrinth open to tourists in many
places, yet private and guarded behind groaning doors on huge iron hinges.
vaporetto glides across the
main lagoon several kilometres to the long isle of Lido, where several tourist
hotels and backpacker haunts cluster on the main northern boulevard. From The
Lido looking north one can take in the expansive mirage-like apparition that is
Venice, as if floating on the lagoon, drawn straight out of a surrealistic Dali
A ferry trip to the outer archipelago takes one to the outer islands of Murano
and Burano. This September day was blessed with bright sunshine and calm,
listless water, with the statuesque ochre buildings from the isle of dead
reflected in the millpond of the Venice lagoon. This was a reality far from the
gloomy Gothic city imagery of my film-fed construction of the city.
Murano Isle is the Island of Glass. It is filled with neat white houses, canals
and petite arched bridges. The curio shops sell glassware in exquisite forms,
with swirls and patterns — a true carnival of glass. If one books ahead a
special tour of the glass-blowing artistry can be seen at several sites. By
contrast Burano, the "lace" island is encrusted with richly painted pastel-hued
homes and dotted with colourful fishing boats. The shops here sell locally made
lace. I bought a round table cloth for about 30 Euro. More to my taste was a
glass of local Pinot Grigio, a local white wine (2 Euro a glass) to go with a
meal of sardines, olives and tomato pesto on crusty bread to hit the spot for
about 6 Euro. Food is more expensive in downtown Venice, except for the
ubiquitous large squares of pizza. Surprisingly, on the outer islands, simple
meals of risotto with fish and vegetables were budget-priced.
The vaporettos are vital for travel around the dozens of islands that surround
Venice, and these are not expensive. The gondolas look romantic, swaying
rhythmically on their striped barber-pole moorings outside St Mark's square, but
few are used on the larger waterways in daytime when the sea breeze is blowing.
At night it is another story altogether, when the well- heeled romantics travel
the inner waterways to restaurants or to take in the softly lit atmosphere of
Venice at night, with a multitude of artistically floodlit facades of
16th-century town houses and villas, paint peeling from the harsh sea salt and
often centuries of neglect.
Venice offers the visitor many great vistas across the open water. The city is a
work of art in itself, and the inter-play of sky, sea and a shoreline of immense
brick walls rising steeply, and stone buildings create a unique urban
environment. The atmosphere that one encounters in Venice cannot be found
anywhere else on the planet.
Book Venice Hotels here
The Hotel Venice Resort was
created by the restoration of an antique Venetian farmhouse which has been
transformed into a comfortable 4-Star hotel that is completely immersed in a
12000 m2 park. This hotel is the result of the renovation of an ancient country
house and now the structure is made up of three other country houses which bring
different names: Ca' degli Speziali, Ca' dei Viandanti and Ca' dei Mori.
Rates from EUR 60. Find rates for other
Venice hotels here.
on where you're going?
Check the Destination
Info Pages for the following:
Things To See
& Do -
What to do and see
in the city
Airport Transfer Information
airport to city,
quick and easy!
Tips and Advice
Check out what our travellers have to say
on the getting around in another travel destination they have
If you are hiring a drive yourself car overseas do
not trust the advice of your Automobile Association as
experience had taught me there are countries you do not
need an international license if you are going to be
there a short time always do your own research as it
saves you money
- Jill O'Malley, New Zealand
When going to Paris remember to take good shoes. All the
streets in the downtown area are cobble stone...after a
few hours your legs will feel like butter. Also if you
go in March like we did...make sure and take gloves,
coat, scarf...the weather can change on you suddenly.
- Richard Wilson, USA
If you are traveling by air at peak times of year, it's
worth remembering that many airlines overbook up to 5%
as a regular policy. If you allow yourself a couple of
days either side of your journey, airlines will often
accept 'volunteers' - people who are prepared to slip on
to the next available flight when their flight is
overcrowded. In return, many airlines will offer you a
free upgrade, free use of their lounges, a special cash
payment and/or overnight airport hotel stay and/or free
meal vouchers. Ask at check-in whether the airline
requires any 'volunteers'.
- Mike Hollingsworth, UK
If one or more persons are traveling together bypass the
transfers that are offered with packages and get a limo
from the airport limo service counters. Then you will be
not first on last off the bus and if there are at least
2 of you the price is sometimes cheaper.
- Gail Davis, OZ
Be very careful driving country roads especially at Y
intersections. Stay at an old castle out of the main
cities - there is much to explore on the grounds and in
the surrounding area.
- Donita Simmons, USA
in Malaysia is really fun. To me, backpacking is best in
Sarawak BUT it can only be enjoyed if you:
1) Travel Light --> Avoid traveling with too much
clothes & leave your IRON behind. Sarawakians are
wonderful and can provide u with iron if need be.
2) Do not forget your handy cam because there'll be so
many awesome events.
3)Please visit the longhouses especially during gawai.
The experience is unforgettable.
4)Do not worry about where to eat. There are amazing
eating outlets everywhere.
5) Contact the tourism board to make arrangement for
tours and a group mountain-climbing trip.
6) Check out the beach...
Remember, taking a trip around the east of Malaysia is
worth a try. If you do, you'll be glad you did. Happy
- Amadi Esther, M'sia
After freezing with a 4 hour layover at the La Airport,
I vowed I would never travel anywhere again without a
sleeping bag and a good book. I bought a sleeping bag
that fold in to a 8 inch square which fits neatly into
my hand luggage. Layovers? No worries, now I snuggle up
in my sleeping bag with my book in comfort!
- Gaylene Temple, OZ
I don't know how many of you people likes to take
photographs when u go traveling but in my case, I always
have two or three extra fully-charged batteries in my
pouch. This is to ensure that I can take as many
photographs I like without worrying when the battery
will go flat. I'm sure everyone likes to have nice
photographs to show friends and families, so do keep
extra batteries with you when u travel so u do not have
to worry. Happy Travelling!
- Joanne Lee, Malaysia
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