May 26, 2012


Poor Venice, it didn't stand a chance.

Not so impressed with the room
We just started out in this city on the wrong foot. First, it was cold, rainy and damp. Yuck. For that reason, and because we didn't have a map, we opted for a water taxi from the train station to the hotel. SIXTY EURO! Do you know that's $80?? And it was not a long ride. Sigh.

Then walk to the rain, find hotel, check in and be shown to our second floor room with one tiny corner window, red-and-gold padded tapestry walls and a "shower" that was merely a shower head and drain in between the toilet and sink. Sigh.

I will say though it mostly went up from there. We hunted down a reasonably priced lunch spot where I had excellent fish...a whole fish. I was scraping off scales and picking through bones but I can promise you it was fresh and tasty.

Outside wall of Doge's Palace
Then we explored Doge's Palace which was on the very top of Ross' list of things to do in Italy. It was really cool. The statues and building decor was so ornate, so much detail. And of course, much to Ross' pleasure, there was a dungeon to explore, military history to learn and ancient weapons to gawk at.

And of course when we weren't in the palace we saw lots of water ways, churches, plazas, gondolas and the like. Oh yes, and ate more gelato because when in Rome Venice...

The second day in Venice the weather cleared it and it was lovely. We took a water bus to Murano, an island just outside the main part of Venice where they specialize in fancy-schmancy hand-blown glass.

We watched a demonstration and then perused many a glass shop. I really liked the various pieces of glass art they had around the city, a neat contrast of modern art with the very old, ornate architecture.

This is also where I had my "sit at an outdoor cafe, drink wine and people watch in Italy" moment. The fact that it was waterside was even better.

In Murano
I liked this part of Venice better than the main section of town because with slightly wider waterways and sidewalks, more sunlight got in and it was easier to see the pretty buildings, boats, etc.

Back in the main section of Venice, we walked around, seeing everything in a more sunny light, shopping the Rialto Market and doing a few mundane things like finding an ATM.

Other random things about Venice:
  • Expensive: We should have thought about that beforehand, given how tough the logistics of bringing anything into the city must be but we were surprised nonetheless.
  • Gondolas: Pre-trip I was determined to ride in a gondola in Venice because that's what you do in Venice. However when we got there, it just didn't look all that fun and was frankly very expensive. (Granted if it had looked fun, cost could have been ignored.) So ultimately we did not ride in a gondola. We just couldn't see spending all that money for something because you're supposed to even if it didn't look all that enjoyable.
  • Smell: I heard Venice was stinky but I have to say, for the most part it was not. The street our hotel was on was a little stinky but otherwise, it smelled just like anywhere else.
  • Water taxis: Pretty nifty. We took one to the train station when it was time go head off on our next adventure.
  • St. Mark's Square: The best thing about the crummy weather our first day was being able to explore St. Mark's Square with few pigeons and few humans. Gray skies or not, it was very impressive.
St. Mark's Square

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