Monthly Archives: May 2016

Hotel San Salvador, Venice

Hotel San Salvador, Venice

April 2016

Like most hotels near major attractions or point of interest you will unlikely be able to get any cheap accommodation. If you do find a reasonably priced hotel, chances it will be located in a renovated old building and probably without a lift. As we’ll be staying for 3 nights and with the intention of capturing night scenery of Rialto area, we choose to stay at Hotel San Salvador. The hotel fits the description stated above.

Hotel San Salvador is nearby to the Rialto Bridge and to the water bus stop thus we do not have to drag our bags a long distance. Entrance to the hotel is via an alley just besides the Disney store. You do need to climb a steep staircase up to the reception. Room No. 22 is up another flight of stairs from the reception and has a queen sized bed with ensuite bathroom. The hotel staff will assist you with your bags to your room.

This room is situated in an annex building away from the restaurant (not hotel’s) below and is reasonably quiet. The room has a small CTV, minibar, hairdryer and a cupboard. You have control over the air-conditioner/heater. The free wi-fi offered was stable and strong. Ample power sockets in the room to charge your gadgets.

It’s not a cheap hotel to stay but the location is very strategic being in walking distance to all attractions (if you have strong legs). Otherwise, walking a short distance to the water bus stop for the vaporetto is a convenient alternative. If you’ve arrived by train via Santa Lucia station, it will be step free all the way up to the front door of the hotel. Please note this hotel do not serve breakfast or any meals.

Hotel San Salvador Venice

Map to Hotel San Salvador.

Hotel San Salvador, Venice

The alley way besides Disney store to the hotel. A little turned-off by this sight.

Hotel San Salvador, Venice

A ‘bridge’ connecting the hotel rooms to the annex block. Entrance from the Disney store is at the far end. Hotel door is the red & white facade.

Hotel San Salvador

Ring the bell for the grille door to open.

Hotel San Salvador Venice

You need to climb these stairs to the reception. Rather steep but the hotel staff will assist you.

Hotel San Salvador Venice

The hotel reception.

Hotel San Salvador, Venice

The queen bed in room 22. There are two small side tables besides the bed.

Hotel San Salvador, Venice

A small dressing table with a mini bar at the bottom.

Hotel San Salvador, Venice

The cupboard with CTV above it.

Hotel San Salvador, Venice

The compact bathroom.

Hotel San Salvador, Venice

Another view of the bathroom.

ACTV water bus ticket

Getting In And Around Venice

April 2016

Coming by train from Milalo Centrale into Venice Santa Lucia takes 2 hours 35 minutes. You may opt to stop at Venice Mestre, a stop before Santa Lucia as accommodations are cheaper here compared to those in Venice island. You can then shuttle between Mestre and Santa Lucia.

Venice Mestre train station

Venice Mestre train station. Just one stop before Santa Lucia, located on the mainland. Hotels are cheaper here.

IMG_20160408_114149

Venice Santa Lucia train station located on Venice Island.

Venice Santa Lucia train station

Venice Santa Lucia train station.

Venice train stations

Mestre & Santa Lucia train stations are about 10 km and 10 minutes apart. There are train services between the two every 5-10 minutes.

Venice Santa Lucia train station

Venice Santa Lucia train station looking from the canal.

Venice

Exiting Santa Lucia station, you’ll be greeted by the grand canal. Those yellow booth are water bus stops. Across is the San Simeone Piccolo church.

Getting around on a water bus (vaporetto) in Venice is expansive. A one way ticket for 75 minutes cost €7.50. Alternatively, you can get a 24hrs (€20),48hrs (€30) or a 72hrs (€40) ticket at a reduced price. Other duration ticket are also available. You can obtain more information at UNICA website. The main water bus service is operated by ACTV.

When you purchase your on-line tickets thru UNICA, you’ll be given a voucher which you will be required to exchange for tickets at designated counters or automatic ticket machines. There’s one counter right in front of Santa Lucia train station by the canal and another at the Rialto water bus stop. Automatic ticket machines are also there.

ACTV water bus ticket

You can get a one way ACTV water bus ticket or 1 day (24 hours) ticket.

Water bus route

Water bus route displayed at the stops. You can determine which water bus no. to take.

ACTV water bus

The water bus no. is on the bow as well on the stern. Since there may be more than one water bus stopping at your stop, ensure you get on the correct one.                                                                         Credit : wikimedia.org

Venice water bus

Seats in the water bus. There are also open air seating at the bow and stern.

Once you’ve got your tickets, you are ready to explore Venice. With the many small and twisting alleys, getting lost in Venice is not hard to do. About the only place you want to get your bearing when you’re ‘lost’ is to return to either Rialto or St Mark’s square. Venetians has a creative way to assist us. Just look up at any corner building and you’ll see directional sign to either location. Simple and effective.

Venice directional sign

Directional sign on every corner block.

Venice directional sign

This way to Rialto.

Venice directional sign

Quite an efficient way to guide ‘lost’ tourist.

Venice directional sign

And this way to St Mark’s square.

But when you want to get back to your hotel or need to go to a certain location, an off-line navigation apps in your smart phone is all what you require. One map app I would definitely recommend is HERE Maps. It’s available for IOS and Android devices. Being an off-line navigation app, it does not require data connection to the internet. You do need to download the map of the country you intend to visit prior to using it the first time. This can be done in your home country or wherever wi-fi or internet is accessible.

Once this is done, you can search for a location without the need to be connected to the internet. Your intended route will be displayed on a map in your smart phone and voice guidance is also available. You can use HERE Maps for your walkabout or for driving. Truly a brilliant free, off-line navigation app.

Venice navigation

Free off-line ‘HERE Maps’ navigation apps.

The phone on the left is an Apple (IOS) while the other is HTC (Android). I sort of favour the Apple as your location is denoted as a ‘pear’ shape green circle while on the HTC is just a grey circle. On the IOS, the pointed green circle shows the direction you’re facing while on the Android, you’ll need to walk a little to see where the circle moves to determine your direction.

UPDATE : Oct 2016
‘HERE’ Maps is now known as ‘HERE We Go’. I’ve changed to a new Redmi 3S Android phone that has a compass and the grey direction indicator circle on my previous phone is now a green ‘pear’ just like the Apple. So a phone with or without a compass, makes that difference.

Venice navigation

‘HERE Maps’ off-line apps installed on IOS & Android.

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Train travel, Italy

Travel By Train, Italy

April 2016

Travelling by train in most European cities is very convenient, reliable and safe. The services are efficient and if booked early, you could get an inexpensive ticket on promotion. On-line booking is straight forward, easy and confirmation is almost instantaneous. About the only headache is finding the assigned platform of your train at the station. More often than not, your destination is NOT listed on the departure information board !

The reason …… the departure information board will show the station your train terminates. If your destination is in between the departure station and the station it terminates (last station), chances are, you won’t find the name of your station you’ll getting-off.  So, how do you find which platform your train will be departing from? Mind you, most main train stations have many platforms, probably more than 10.

I’ll show an example below. My departure station is Milano Centrale and I am travelling to Lugano. Looking at the departure information board, Lugano is NOT listed. You will then need to refer to your ticket to see what train you will be taking. In my case, it will be ‘EuroCity 14′ departing at 10:25. This will be your key information to finding your train and platform.

Train travel, Italy

An on-line train ticket.

You will then need to refer to the departure information board looking for ‘EuroCity 14‘ departing at 10:25. From the departure information board below, you’ll see the destination is Zurich HB instead of Lugano. This means, your train will terminate it’s service at Zurich HB (last station). You then search for the platform your train will depart. In my case, the platform number hasn’t been assigned yet.

On newer information board, a scrolling list of station stops will be displayed. This makes it a little easier and reassuring rather than the need to ask around or completely miss your train.

Train travel, Italy

Departure information board.

On the subject of choosing a front-facing or back-facing seat, this is a 50/50 chance. At most major train stations, the rail tracks terminates at the station. To continue the journey, the driver will get off the front cab and move to the back. When the train pulls out, the back of the train is now the front. Your front-facing seat now becomes a back-facing seat.

Milan Centrale, Venice Santa Lucia, Florence Santa Maria Novella and Roma Termini all has the tracks terminate at the station. In comparison, Pisa Central is a ‘pass-through’ station, so you maintain your seat configuration.

Train travel, Italy

So, front-facing or back-facing seats ?                                                                      Credit : thetrainline-europe.com