The emblem of the town
More then anything else we know about, gondola is the emblem of the town. When somebody says Venice, the very first association is undoubtely the gondola. It is, however, very expensive association and not all of us can afford it when visiting Venice. Although there exist fix price for a ride, which is around 60 euros (far too much as I am concerned), most of gondolieri demand 80 to 100 euros for a 45 minutes ride.
Is it why the most of Venice gondolas could be seen unoccupied?
Donna Leon's Mysteries
Before I came here, I gobbled up Donna Leon's series of mysteries set in Venice. They give a great sense of what daily life is like for people who actually live here (Leon lives here herself, but don't try to spot her, she hates being famous). You'll also get to know where lots of places are throughout the different neighborhoods as you make your way through the pages, which is very helpful once you get here. Her quirky protagonist, Guido Brunetti, is a provincial Venetian through and through, and will have you smiling and chuckling over and over. Start with the first book, Death at La Fenice. The fourth, Acqua Alta, is another one of my favorites in this series.
~ Venice Transportation ~
The transport system in Venice has not changed much, the only difference is that there are many motorised boats as well as the traditional rowing types. The famous gondolas are still recognised as the symbol of Venice, and a ride in one is very popular amongst many tourists.
Difficult for the solo traveller
I noticed that in quite a few restaurants many dishes were marked as
"minimum two orders".
This doesn't matter if you're travelling with another person who likes the same food as you do. But if you're on your own, or simply like to eat different things, this can be a problem.
I can't think of any reason for this, maybe someone from Venice can enlighten me.
For us it was no problem, since we both like the same type of food. Still, it would have
been nice to try a greater variety by ordering two different dishes and then share.
Do You Know these Guys?
I thought these masks reminded me of something I had seen somewhere--then it hit me!! Giuseppe Arcimboldo's paintings of the Four Seasons. He's a lesser-known Renaissance artist who painted portraits consisting of fruits, vegetables, and other natural objects. You can think of him as the first Surreal painter, too.