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Day 3 - Rishikesh

The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we headed back the way we came yesterday and after crossing Rajaji National Park the road divides and one goes towards to Dehradun and one to Rishikesh. The drive was pleasant, as we opted Laxman  Jhula as our destination google map smartly took us via highway bypassing the main city.But at the end the roads started to get narrower lucky for us we found a parking lot packed yet as we early risers ;)
The weather was little cold compared to the planes of Dehradun with lots of breeze coming from Ganga. We walked to Laxman Jhula to cross it. Oh boy! We have no idea what local authority allows two-wheelers, cycle to cross the hanging bridge which is meant for a pedestrian. And top of it you even have some cows standing in the middle.
I am sure the people coming all the from abroad to Rishikesh for peace, meditation and self-purity do get a complete shock wi…

Half day at Florence and Venice

Piazza della Signoria

After spending three nights in Florence it was time to move on. We packed and checked out, keeping our luggage in the hotel. We walked towards Palazzo Vecchio (Piazza della Signoria) - city square adorned with fine arts. Basically, Florence is full of timeless beauty which can keep you captivated. Close to this square is Uffizi which we reached by 8:30 AM for our visit. Uffizi’s structure is like a long rectangle; it is not very big in structure like other top European museums. Famous paintings by Leonardo, Dante, Michelangelo & Boticelli are a sight not to be missed; a true Mecca for art lovers.

Around mid-day we were back to hotel; picked our luggage and headed to train station for next destination – Venice. Venice is only three hours away from Florence by train. An unusual city built on small islands and traversed by some 100 criss-cross canals.

St. Mark’s Basilica at evening

Reaching Venice first thing we bought 2 day-pass for Public Transport. Don’t be surprise the only way to transit in this man made city is by boat or water-taxi. We stayed at Lido across sea and there are plenty of ferries connecting St. Marco Square and Lido. On reaching hotel, to my surprise for the first time someone knew my birthplace as mentioned in passport. The manager on duty was a Bangladeshi who took refuge in my home town during 1974 war. He is been leaving in this romantic capital for a long time. After a while we departed immediately towards St. Mark’s Square which is quite lively with tourists enjoying drinks and duel orchestra. It’s the place where you can notice increase in level of tide water which shows sign of sinking Venice.

Venice is the place where one can get lost in endless mazes of backstreets, deserted squares and mysterious alleyways leading off from the city. We walked carelessly around there and explored few narrow lanes near by.

grand canal at night

Cost of dinner in the city of romance is very expensive if you are looking for fresh local sea-food. We opted for a crowded simple pizzeria. Taste of the pizza was awful; disgusted with same as we were discussing between ourselves when a mother and her teenage daughter joined from next table. They were from New Zealand on their winter vacation. It was a nice and long conversation with them as they were supposed to go to Florence from Venice.

We took some night mode picture of empty St. Marco square with our new tripod before returning to Lido.

With all said and done I found Venice like a big Disney land. There are only two kinds of people; either tourist or related to tourism. May be there is a vibrant and young Venice somewhere which we missed to figure out. In Rome, Milan or Florence we never had the same experience as there we saw local young people going to school or college or just hanging out in one of the piazza.

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