Thursday, September 15, 2011


Our Venice trip didn't go slickly as planned.  Nothing seriously critically grave, but it wasn't as smooth as it should be.  No, make that 'it wasn't smooth AT ALL'.  Trips like this, however, are the ones that usually give us the best memories -- those we talk about, and laugh about after.  Let's start, shall we?
1.  Hotel Fail
We were coming from Florence to Venice, and the only logical way for us to get there was by taking the Tren Italia.  You know how we hate train rides (10th reason why we can't be backpackers), so we already presumed that we'd be drained once we reach Venice.  That's why, we asked our agent to book us in a hotel near the Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia which is Venice's main train station.  And so she did.
leaving the train station in Florence

Perfect plan, so far.

When we got there, we stepped out of the train station and immediately saw our hotel.  it's just right across the station!  As in, you can see it as soon as you step out. Great!
actual photo of Venice from Google Earth 3D

You know how Venice has canals instead of roads right?  We just had to cross the canal separating the hotel from the station to get there.  How?  To the left of Santa Lucia station is the Scalzi Bridge.  Just go over it and it's done.  Sounds easy!
actual photo of Venice from Google Earth 3D

When we got to the foot of the Scalzi Bridge, we realized that we have huge suitcases with us.  And they are not light.  Each of us had a suitcase weighing at least 25 kilos, and a carry-on duffel weighing at least 8 kilos.  How on earth can we carry these over the bridge?  There must be an escalator somewhere.  A lot of tourists arrive the station everyday and I'm pretty sure a lot of them must go over this bridge with their luggage.  They cannot NOT have one right?  

Well they don't.  To cut the long story short, we had to carry our luggage up and down the Scalzi.  Rolling the luggage on their wheels is just impossible.  We had to use both hands to lift the whole luggage weight ourselves.  The whole time.  After the luggage, we had to go back for our duffel.  (Carrying both at the same time is suicide so we had to do it one by one, add to that, someone must be on both ends to watch out for our stuff.)
actual photo of Venice from Google Earth 3D

And mind you, the Scalzi bridge is not a low one.
photo of the Scalzi Bridge from

Hotel with easy access from the train station, failed.  Look at how relieved Macy was when we reached our hotel.  Haha.  

We stayed at Hotel Carlton on the Grand Canal.  Back then, we paid our travel agency in Manila US$368 per person for a 3d2n-stay, and that already includes free breakfast and the fee for the Original Venice Walking Tour that we booked.  We checked the prices now and it's already 360 euros per room per night.  The hotel rooms, although small, are lovely and very Venetian.  But still.  We almost died getting there.

Going back to the station after 3 days is another story.  Our friends didn't want to do the same luggage-over-Scalzi episode again so they paid 60 euros just to hire a water taxi that will take them and their luggage across the canal back to the station.  We, being our close-fisted selves, refused to pay that amount and decided to do a part 2.  The second time we did it felt so much better than the first one because we prepared ourselves for it.  We left 30 minutes ahead of our friends and that gave us enough time to do everything slowly.  Haha.   

2.  Wardrobe Fail
It was during this time of the year, late September, when we went to Venice.  The rest of Italy were still sunny and a bit warm, so we expected Venice weather to be just a bit colder.  


It was around 14 degrees and gloomy when we arrived and we didn't have any wool coats or bubble jackets with us.  We have high tolerance for cold weather, so when we say we felt chilly, it REALLY was chilly.  Their 14 degrees probably felt like 10 that day.  (Lesson:  when researching about a city's weather on a particular day, always check out not only the Temperature part but also the Feels Like part.  Sometimes it's 18 degrees, but feels like 12.  So deceiving!)
we only had light jackets and scarves! Waah!

Anyway, we gathered our creativity in putting together mismatched pieces to come up with warm-enough-layered outfits.  Haha.  Karol decided to go all black so it won't be too noticeable how much layers she had on.  She was wearing a black tank, a black shirt over it, and another black longsleeves over everything else.  The black pashmina shawl helped too.  Macy wore an inner, a black long-sleeved top, a t-shirt, and a gray pashmina.

We spent the whole afternoon of our first day shopping for clothes because we wouldn't have survived if we wore the light clothes we brought.  Haha.  Solved!  Now ready to brave the cold weather the next day.

3.  Original Venice Walking Tour Fail
Remember we booked a Venice tour through our agent in Manila?  We had only 3 days to spend and it is said that if you have time to do only one tour in Venice, then this is definitely the one.  We were given a meeting time and meeting point where the tour will start.  The meeting point is somewhere in Piazza San Marco.  We checked the map and we thought "Tss, that's not too far from our hotel.  Look at the map, it's like what, 3 inches away?  We can leave the hotel 30 minutes before the meeting time".

We left the hotel and looked for the taxi station...  the WATER TAXI station (oh right, we're in Venice).  Okay maybe it took us quite a while before we found it but that's fine because the ride won't take that long anyway.  HOWEVER, it took forever for the taxi to leave!!  They had to wait for the boat to be filled with passengers before leaving!  "Ughh we'll be late!"  But the tour guide had our names registered, we were sure he'd wait for a few minutes if he doesn't have all the attendees yet.  Right?  Right!

When we got to St. Mark's Square, 15 minutes later than the meeting time, everything's a blur.  It is so crowded.  How on earth can we find the tour guide holding the Original Venice Walking Tour sign? 

We looked everywhere, but... they're GONE.  They left without us!  REFUND, REFUND!!! Haha. 
It's okay, even if we got there on time, it'll be a fail, still.  Because... it rained.  Walking Tour-ers, that's what you get for leaving ussssss! Haha!!

Because of that, the canals overflowed and the area was flooded.  Good luck in walking.  (Uso din ang bangko for baha in Venice!) 

To add, the pigeons in the area contributed to our failure in finding the tour group.  We've already mentioned about Macy being Ornithophobic (clue: falcon in Dubai)... so... while Karol was being attacked by pigeons in the square...

...Macy was just taking pretty photos of herself far far away.  Haha.  

She didn't dare go near the square where the pigeons are.  She was PRETENDING to help look for the tour group (from afar? yeah right), but in reality she was just busy in making sure she's safe from the pigeons.  Who is she kidding HAHA.

After a while, Karol became friends with her predators.

It's okay that we missed the Walking tour, though we can't help but feel bad for wasting the fee that we paid for it.  We just decided to go around on our own.

On the bright side, missing the tour gave us time for Venice's most famous activity, riding the Gondola!

Among the numerous gondoliers, we chose this Italian bangkero to steer the gondola for us through the tiny canals of Venice (may itsura sya).  He can't sing though.

He did a good job in being our tour guide.  

Other than riding the gondola, missing the tour also gave us time for some shopping! Woohooo!  Inspite of all our booboos, Venice is Love.

Here are some more photos of Venice.  Enjoy!
the house where Mozart lived while he's in Venice
the Greek orthodox cathedral of San Giorgio dei Greci
the Rialto Bridge
Doge's Palace or Palazzo Ducale
one of the canals in Venice
view of the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge


  1. I just have to say, you look like a 'Goyard Gang' :p

  2. Hi Kat! We always end up using the same purses by chance haha! Aside from that, Goyards are really perfect for traveling, light and easy to pack! ;)

  3. I love Venice... romantic city! Looks like you had a good time despite all the hassles... love your pics :)

  4. michymichymoo, true haha! That's what we thought too, and he's much younger compared to the other gondoliers ;)

    madmader, Venice is! Good thing we have a "built-in entertainment system" in our bodies, we got to enjoy pa din in spite of all the troubles! Thanks! :) :)

  5. OMG! Buti hindi ka nag-freak out nung ni-attack ka ng mga kalapati. Scary naman sila! Hehe.

  6. Aleng I wanted a decent pic din with the kalapatis pero as in ang tagal before ko na-achieve yung hindi nagpa-panic look. Haha!!

  7. That's just such a cute photo (pigeon on the head)...