Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Venice during the Carnevale
My wife and I spent 5 nights in Venice during the Carnevale festival, that is somewhat like the one in Rio; except that everyone is dressed up for the cold weather. So there were no skimpily dressed revellers to be expected.
We left London via Stansted Airport as we were flying via Ryanair. That was our first time using the airport and luckily we allowed enough time for travel and security clearance.
Some advice for a new airport - make sure you get through security earlier so you can find the gate in good time. Stansted is a fairly busy airport and security is tight, as I soon found out.
There were many written warnings about placing liquids in a clear plastic bag but I just placed 3 items loosely on the tray and the items were held back for more checking. After almost 10 minutes, the guy got the tray and said he would put the items in the plastic bag and pass it through again. It passed.
Whilst waiting, I observed that the tray-handling system was quite modern but the system required the security staff to manhandle the trays each time the conveyor was full and the tray stacking system could not re-cycle the trays. What a shame for a modern airport!
We rushed to the gate and found a long queue there. In fact, there were 2 queues merged as our queue had overlapped another gate and there was some confusion and frayed tempers.
We arrived in Venice during a minor storm and quickly took shelter in a small bus stop at Piazzale Roma, the end point of the bus transfer from Venice Treviso airport as we got used to the location. When the bus arrived at PR, a few passengers were not sure if we had reached the final destination, so I remarked that they would shoo us off the bus if we had reached the end point.
Sure enough, the driver came back and gestured to us "finito".
When we were at the shelter, we were approached by a street peddler selling some practical items like raincoats and umbrellas for €7 but we did not buy any.
We crossed the road and headed for the tobacco shop with a capital T in blue and purchased the 7-day vaporetta pass for €50 as that gave us unlimited travel on the small water ferries that essentially was the transport system in Venice for 95% of residents.
The other options were private water taxi, traghetto or your two legs.
I had done some research earlier on a private transfer from PR to the hotel and the rate was €50-so the 7-day pass was a no-brainer.
We got on the ferry that would take us about 400 meters to our hotel, the Boscolo Venezia but the lagoon was so rough with the boat pitching at least 25cm while docked, we had to be careful to step off at the right moment.
Luckily we both had rain gear but we did not have rubber boots in the blustering rain. We managed to find our hotel quite easily as there were street lights. What a stormy welcome to Venice.