What I had seen and read about Venice, while growing up, was enough to convince me that the manner in which the city was brought to existence was spectacular and worth analysing. It is even more mind-boggling to see the way it continues to function in perfect harmony to all the needs of the modern lifestyle.
The railway station of Venice is right adjacent to the Grand Canal. So as soon as you step outside the railway terminal your eyes are greeted with the scenic and breath-taking view of graceful aging buildings that, strangely enough, seem to emerge from a body of water. The buildings have been resting on wooden piles for centuries and continue to withstand the forceful impact of water waves. That very moment one is propelled to take a second and recognise the intellect of the people who created this magnificent spectacle. As I went around the city and discovered more intricate and hidden aspects of Venice my admiration for the city grew more profound .
The streets of Venice are narrow and radiate the image of a classical European setting. One can observe the hairline cracks on surface of the walls and the streets, showing years of weathering that they have gone through. This just weighed heavily on my mind and heart as I realised what a piece of history and a unique piece of architectural beauty I am roaming through. The romanticism of the city is vivid and obvious as you stroll around and see the ever so narrow channels of water, weaving through the houses. The restaurants set up alongside the water channels just add more feeling to the already heartening and warm back drop. Having a meal at one of these restaurants, is a must to get a complete experience. You will observe numerous tourists taking a boat tour of the city, and some hiring a trained singer within the boat, to keep them entertained during the trip. As we continued to walk around, we saw road side shops flooded with finely designed varieties of masquerades, which is a typical feature of this city. Venice is an absolutely gem of a city to walk around , so for the first time visitors it is a strong suggestion to go around by foot to have an enriching experience. The hostel we stayed in looked like a decaying mass from the outside, but from the inside it was laced with all the latest furnishings and facilities which was great to see. The owner was an Italian lady, who did not know English, so all our conversations with her comprised of only hand gestures -which we often exaggerated to make sure she got our point- or failed attempts of finding easy to explain English phrases. A memorable interaction nonetheless.
Since there are no cars and motorbikes, you can feel yourself set free into a world void of any traffic noise. The sense of calmness that it brings is unparalleled, and a blissful break for our modern day high-pace, ‘time-is-money’ mindsets. It is fascinating to see how every day small tasks like delivering electrical appliances to removing garbage are carried out by purpose built boats that function as smoothly as cars or trucks would have if metalled roads were there. The city brings back the feeling of yester years, where people had more time for real human connection, when cut throat competition was non-existent and one could afford to sit back to do nothing but gaze at the stars and take in the essence and beauty of the moment. Another appreciable aspect, is the old layout of the city and facade of buildings has been kept the way it is; none of it has fallen prey to modern techniques of preservation and lost is originality.
In my limited range of endeavours so far while travelling in Europe, Venice by some distance leads the list of the best cities I have been to. There is a lot of authenticity and uniqueness to the feel of this place and is difficult to accurately pour it into words. That is why it should be high up in the bucket list of any aspiring tourist planning to travel Europe.