Venice - The truly unique and romantic City of Water

Posted by ~Summer~ on November 11, 2011

Venice, one of Italy's top travel cities, is indeed a beautiful and one-of-a-kind destination.

Technically, I've been to Venice twice. Unfortunately, my photos from the first visit were gone, all thanks to the thief whom I had pledged to use a voodoo doll on. Well, the good thing was, during our summer road trip this year, we had the opportunity to stop by Venice for lunch! Yar yar, people stop by Food Republic or kopitiams for makan, we lunch on the floating city. That's the good thing about staying in Europe, you get to go on road trips and set foot in so many beautiful cities.

Venice actually consists of 117 bodies of land connected by more than 400 bridges over its 150 canals. The Grand Canal is like its main street which cuts through the centre of the city. It is unique in having remained a fairly huge functioning city in the 21st century entirely without motorcars or trucks.

Yes, that means if you don't want to spend a fortune on the gondolas which are lined with velvet seats and Persian rugs, and you also do not wish to squeeze onto a waterbus crammed full of tourists, then you'd better be prepared with a tube of Counterpain rub for your aching calves at the end of the day.

To be frank, I didn't really mind, nor even realise previously, all the rather dreadful flights of stairs we had to climb just in order to move around Venice. This time round, I did. All thanks to a 10kg toddler and a 6kg pram. I swore I carried Angel for at least one hour (jw departed first to get the car, leaving me with our friends, and the pram, and the toddler) and let's just say my girl totally gave up on walking and wanted no one else to carry her but mummy. Bring on the Counterpain.

I loved to walk around in Venice and look at the array of souvenirs because they are exquisite, pretty and very much different compared to those we see in other cities. From the handmade masks to Murano glass jewellery to gondola keychains, there is something about them that is hugely appealing to me. Of course, the fact that they were cheap, plus the part where you could bargain and make them even cheaper, was a bonus too.

For lunch, we dined in a random restaurant which was on the way. There is a sense of indescribable satisfaction in eating pasta and pizzas in Italy. Like how curry is delicious in India and dim sum is mouth-watering in Chinese countries. If you could try the hor fun or tikka masala in Karlskrona, you'll know what I mean. They're not bad bad, just not authentic enough. So, even if we didn't dine in a posh or famous restaurant in Venice, I still thought we had a pretty good lunch!

Another word to describe Venice: It is simply a M-A-Z-E. Honestly, if you are not a Venetian, you definitely need a map with you so that you won't get lost. Wait, I did get lost even with a map. Thankfully for all these hand drawn directional signs which you could find all over the city, we could at least make our way to Piazza San Marco (St Mark's Square) even if I realised eventually that I had held the map upside down. Phew.

This was the St Mark's Clock Tower which was dated back to the 15th century.  Just above the great clock face, there is a semi-circular gallery with statues of the Virgin and Child. Twice a year, at Epiphany (6 January) and on Ascension Day (the Thursday 40 days after Easter) the three Magi, led by an angel with a trumpet, emerge and pass in procession round the gallery, bowing to the Virgin and child.

This was the entrance to St Mark's Basilica, the most famous of the all city's churches, which is located on the eastern side of St Mark's Square. It is recognised as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, thus from the 11th century onwards, it has been nicknamed as Chiesa d'Oro (Church of Gold).

The Procuratie refers to the three prominent historical buildings which are connected in Piazza San Marco. The above shows the Procuratie Vecchie on the northern side of the Square, which was built in 12th century and is the oldest of them all.

Guess what we were most looking forward to in re-visiting Venice? 

The pigeons!

I was telling Angel that she could go and feed birds, thinking that we could easily buy a pack of birdseeds from the vendors (like what we did in 2007) and let her experience the feeling of having pigeons perching on her arms. To my dismay, the first thing I exclaimed when I was at the Square was:


I mean, I saw a few of them, but not in the hundreds that I was expecting. I'm serious, there used to be 100 of them fluttering in 1m² of area, now you would be lucky to see more than two.

Well, I realised that pigeon feeding had since been banned in 2008. That was because of the significant pigeon population and the authorities had to act before they caused severe damage. Yes, by right pigeons are hazardous to human health, they produce a lot of guano and they somehow have a weird taste for marble - which means that the historical buildings had to suffer, including the delicate mosaics on the facade of St. Mark's Basilica.

The locals may view pigeons as "rats with wings", but for tourists, it is like a tradition to feed the pigeons and to take that power away from us, well, it is sad but there is nothing we can do about it.

Hold on a second, maybe we could do something about it. We saw some sneaky tourists, avoiding the eyes of the local police, who were tearing pieces of bread from their bags and handing them over to the birds. It worked! Why not, I bet those pigeons were famished. 

So since we were bread-less, our strategy was simple: Stand near to the people who have bread and whistle like you do.

Within minutes, jw succeeded into luring a pigeon onto his arm! Yippee!

Well, the thing was he couldn't do it for long before the smart pigeon saw through our trick and tried to take revenge.

Actually, Angel had a ball of a time even though we didn't get to feed pigeons. That's the one thing I love about kids - they are so much more easily satisfied and it really doesn't take much to make them happy. In this case, you just have to have lots of stamina and keep up with them in chasing after the birds. And pray that the bird droppings do not land on their heads.

Me: Hey, check out my new hair accessory! I didn't know my head was so attractive. To birds.
Bird: Wow, this lady probably hasn't washed her hair for days.

A family shot, plus a pigeon, taken with the St Mark's Campanile, which is the bell tower of St Mark's Basilica and probably the most famous symbol of Venice.

On our way back, we passed by the Rialto Bridge which was one of the four bridges crossing the Grand Canal and the oldest of them all. This was when I was carrying my toddler up and down the endless stream of bridges and countless flights of stairs. I need my hubby!!

There you have it, our short little trip in Venice! Despite that Paris is still the most special city to me, and Switzerland remains as the most beautiful, I have to say that Venice possesses its own unique charm and allure that no other city in Europe can parallel.

After all, not that many cities are floating on water, right?

To see more of the world, visit my Travelogue page here.


  1. I liked those comics. How did u know those were my thoughts?? amazing... i actually told the one who tried to poke me that i am engaged oredi despite her loving me. thats why she was furious. and her parents came onto us after that to check us out and luckily we showed them angel and they were convinced. Phew... if not the mum would have shitted on u...

    1. Ha. Ha. Ha. That would have been a smelly but classic memory. :)

  2. I'm a year late finding this, but I'm so glad I did! What a great write up and fabulous pictures too!! Venice is on our must-do list. We were going to go this Spring Break but opted for another destination at the last second of our planning to plan phase. :)

    If I lived in Europe for a bit I would be so happy to hop on those super inexpensive flights and go from place to place, what a dream!

    1. Venice is a must see! It is a very unique and pretty city. Yesh, living in europe made many dreams come true and I am so thankful we got that chance. Thanks for reading!


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