Monday, August 19, 2019

The mystique of the Venetian Lagoon

I SLIPPED in and out of consciousness while travelling through the rustic Italian countryside. Too weary from restlessness, I couldn’t stay awake, much less attempt to keep my eyes open. The rhythm of the rumbling train lulled me to sleep.

I was stirred by hissing and screeching brakes. Roused, I looked around as the train was pulling into Venezia Santa Lucia Station. I walked out of the terminus, and for a moment, my heart was filled with wonder.

Salve Venice

Everything I laid my eyes on was captivating - the green dome of San Simeone Piccolo, the vaporetti (water buses) cruising the winding canals, the buzzing atmosphere and the warm summer weather. It was imperative to soak it all up, or simply people-watch. The floating wonderland of Venice, built entirely on marshy water, was mesmerizing. With heavy luggage in tow, I took a vaporetto in front of the station to Hotel Serenissima, near the world-renowned Rialto Bridge, about 20 minutes away.

Deciding on a whim which way to explore on foot was surprisingly exhilarating. Not only did the intricate maze of narrow alleyways seem mystifying, but some signs to St. Mark’s Square pointed in opposing directions. Nonetheless, I did not feel fear going off track. Carpe diem. Where else can you wander about and get lost cheerily?

While the City of Bridges invites throngs of visitors, the perfect antidote to avoid congestion is to go island hopping within the three visually striking towns of the lagoon, each known for its distinctive character. I wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the charming city center and head over to the uncrowded and peaceful suburbs. Usually overlooked by tourists in favour of the major tourist hub that is Venice, they are also attracting their own share of the crowd.

Murano is teeming with glamour worth seeing, luring a number of tourists now. This place sounds familiar because the original Murano Glass comes from here. I enjoyed a delightful walk in the sun in this unique spot and admired local artisans’ craftsmanship and their glassblowing tradition. Those with a penchant for glass figurines may find perfect gift items to give away, or order for themselves quality décor to ship home.


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