Breakfast – 8:30 AM
Take the ferry to Doge’s Palace – 9:15 AM
The Doge’s Palace – 10:00 AM
Lunch by the palace – 1:30 PM
Walk to Rialto Bridge – 3:30 PM
Take the ferry back to hotel – 4:30 PM
Read ‘Career Of Evil’ – 6:00 PM
Dinner – 8:00 PM
Good. My carefully planned itinerary wasn’t too hectic and I wasn’t missing out on any important locations. The absence of a gondola ride was glaring though. But what could I do? I was a student, and my budget was tight. Sighing, I stuffed my itinerary back in my handbag and drank up the last dregs of my orange juice. It was nearly 9 am, and I didn’t have time for a leisurely breakfast. I only had two days in Venice, and I had to make them count.
The first thing I noticed upon arriving in ‘The Floating City’ was the absence of main roads and vehicles. Water can change life around it. It might seem like a grandiose statement to make, but if you’re an average joe city dweller like me and you enter Venice for the first time, you’ll know what I mean. Of course, I knew Venice is a water city and that people travel by waterways. But nothing had prepared me for the beauty of it all.
I took a vaporetto (the water bus) from the Santa Lucia Railway Station all the way to Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square), where I’d visit The Doge’s Palace. Something happened to me on that 45-minute ride. The small glints of sunlight reflecting in the waters seemed to alter my perspective; my eyes took their time with everything they viewed, and the gentle bobbing of the ferry against the water grounded me in the moment. It was as if the waters had brought time itself to a standstill, as if I’d fallen into a painting and had become a part of it.
By the time my stop arrived, my over-organised mind had been somewhat lulled. A small part of it did register that it was good I’d made it on time, because it would take me a while to tour the palace. But that part seemed to have been pushed to a tiny corner somewhere. Upon entering the palace, I was so awed by the exquisite artwork and décor, I took my time with every stroke of painting, even though I’m no art connoisseur. It was only when my tummy rumbled indignantly that I realised it was well past lunch time and that I’d be late for the Rialto Bridge if I didn’t hurry. Yet, I simply carried on, determined to see the palace in its entirety. By the time I had lunch at a small café by the palace, the sun had set.
When I hopped into the water bus to head back to the hotel, a middle-aged man asked me if I was travelling solo. My mind debated telling him the truth, but something nudged it to go for the truth after all.