Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 36/37: Venice.

5/17 m
5/18 t

Night train #2. This one was a bit harder because it was so late (1am) and people were already sleeping in our compartment so we tried to be extra quiet. Didn't happen but we tried. Trying to manuever on the top bunks of a moving train in pitch darkness is not easy.

They woke us up after only 5 hours, 2 hours before we were due in Venice. Maybe to watch the scenery? We were served drinks and rolls and everyone gazed outside to watch Italy roll by. Sadly, we never got a glimpse of Venice really even when we pulled into the station. Once on the stations front steps though, bam, hello Grand Canal. It was very surreal.

We took a waterbus to our stop in front of St Marks Square.

Our B&b host , Lorenzo, met us and showed us the way through the maze that is Venice. Lorenzo was one of the nicest hosts we've had. Our room was large for Europe and especially Venice we thought. I was excited about having another hair dryer. Such a luxury. Our view onto the streets wasn't too shabby either. A little noisy at night though.

we headed to the famed Rialto Bridge to check out the market and then for gelato. It was very busy for so early in the morning. However we saw from the train that there were 4 cruise ships in port.

Grabbed our first Italian pizza slices too. So good.

And then there was gelato.

Saw some interesting shops a long the way. We really wanted to go into this old book store but it was by appointment only.

Everyone sold masks. Everyone. Everywhere


Strolled to St Marks Square. Kids were bring attacked by pigeons. Orchestras were playing. Gobs of people were standing in line. Sea air. Gelato eaters. Ah Venice.

Took the #1 water bus down the canal. It was almost dusk so everything had a nice glow. It was magical.

Afterwards we took a waterbus back to the Rialto to have dinner at a place Lorenzo recommended. B had the largest calzone of his life and I had the best carbonara I've ever had. We walked back to the the square to watch the dueling orchestras while eating gelato. Again.

Venice at night really is something. It felt like a fairytale and every once in awhile you could hear someone domewhere singing.

After a wonderful breakfast with Lorenzo the next morning, we headed to the north dock to do some island hopping. First stop Murano.
Murano is known for their glass making. I actually use murano glass beads in my designs.
One of their workshops was right at the boat stop.

There wasnt too much going on here. A lot seemed to be closed except a few restaurants and glass shops so after meandering a bit. ...Next island, Burano. They are known for their lacemaking and colorful houses. We wandered around here too for a bit and then headed back. Our ferry was an hour and we got a chance to see more of the islands and lido.

Back on Venice, we enjoyed some pizza (what else) and gelato (again what else) before heading to St Marks Basilica. We decided to wait until late afternoon after all of the cruising day trippers were off the island. We had seen yesterday ghastly lines.

On our walk back we saw some kids playing in a piazza. We were walking and one boy on a trike thought B was in his way so he peddled over, hit B and yelled something at him in Italian then stuck his tongue out at him. we both had our mouths open in shock but it was too cute.

After grabbing sweaters, we walked to Rialto again to take the bus to the train station. Yesterday we had grabbed tickets to Florence but our host there had just emailed that she had not written down our dates and so we were without a place the first night. We tried to exchange our tickets for the next day but too complicated so The rest of that evening was trying to find a place to stay in Florence, looking up train times, and eating more gelato.

Not too early the next morning and with a place found to stay late last night, we headed to the train station to go to Florence (with a pit stop in Bologna). The train strikes at the station caught our attention but it didn't affect our train so off we went.

Lorenzo told us he's lived in Venice his whole life and he doesn't like big cities. It was strange to us at first because Venice is a big city. But, after our time there, we get it's small town feel. The narrow alleys and hidden piazzas and the fact everyone seems to know everyone makes it more intimate. It's more like one big neighborhood.

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