Day 15 – Venice

Posted on July 14, 2014

If you’re stuck on a gondola, you can have a lovely punt.

Thankfully, it was clear today. It was looking a little cloudy in the morning, but cleared up quickly and we got to have our mega-day.

It started with an early breakfast (included in our hotel package) which was a buffet. Not amazing, but it was what you would normally expect. Eggs, bread, fruit, juice and (second floor!) croissants.

After breakfast, we took a little walk around and took a few photos of Venice in the (near) sunshine.

See that big bell tower? You can go up there! So we did. I was expecting to walk up hundreds of steps but turns out it only has a lift. Once at the top, you get a nice 360 view of Venice. I took a lot of photos from there – here’s only a few.

We then headed through some of the narrow backstreets to get to the Rialto Bridge (Ponte Rialto).

After looking around there for a while, we went back to St Mark’s Square (the main square with everything nearby) and went inside the Doge’s Palace. It had some interesting rooms and artworks (some quite lavish), as well as an armoury and prison. Here are some photos.

Next was lunch. As Venice is essentially a tourist city, everywhere is crowded and expensive, but we found a decent restaurant. By this point it had gotten super-hot and the sun was out in full swing. After lunch, we got some gelato to help cool down as we walked around to see a bit more of the city.

Turns out most of the action happens around St Mark’s and there isn’t otherwise too much to see. Subsequently, we went back there to go into some of the other museums in the area (our tickets from Doge’s Palace got us into everywhere). Before that though, we stopped to go into the main church.

There weren’t a lot of areas/rooms to see (they charged you to go into some of them), but there was a quite remarkable gold ceiling.

It didn’t take long to see the rest though and so we went to the other museums afterwards. Again, took a lot of photos in there, but here is a small selection.

After finishing from there, we found a nice shady spot to sit in St Mark’s and relax as we watched over the square. I took a few more photos from there as well.

Just as we were getting up to leave and head back to our hotel, a large group of what I’m guessing were (French?) college students rocked up. They walked into the square, linked hands and spread out to form a large cleared circle. They then proceeded to start singing, dancing and otherwise chanting. I’m still not quite sure what was going on, but it was interesting. One of them would go into the centre of the circle and lead the rest in some sort of chant or dance and the others would follow. Then someone else would enter and take over. Strange.

We then headed back to our hotel and rested for a little before getting hungry and wanting some dinner. No one else was really hungry, so my brother and I just went to get some takeaway pizza. We found a place, ordered it, went to pay with a card and turns out they only accept cash. Awkward.

I had to run Forrest, run! back to the hotel to get some cash and then back again. It’s actually not too bad to run around Venice near sunset. It’s cooled down a lot, scenic and not as crowded. Regardless, we got the package, successfully escorted it back to the rendezvous point and consumed it with great pleasure.

And that was our one-day-to-rule-them-all in Venice. Overall, Venice is a really nice place and has some cool things to see, but once you’ve seen them, there isn’t a whole lot left to do. So it worked out quite well only being here a short time.

We leave Venice (and Italy) tomorrow and head to Paris by plane. I’m excited to get to the next country, but will miss Italy (mostly the food). Tomorrow I expect to be a fairly mundane day of waiting and travel, but might have a bit of time to look around Paris tomorrow afternoon/night depending on when we arrive.

Day 14 – Venice

Posted on July 13, 2014

This is not a picture of Venice. It’s a picture of Lake-town.

Today started quite miserably and ended much the same. First, we got up early to get ready and packed for our train journey from Florence to Venice. It was an 11:30am train which takes 2 hours to get to Venice. We had planned on having half the day there to look around and settle in. Our plans were foiled.

Due to a misplacement of train tickets, we ended up having to re-purchase them and had to wait for the 2:30pm train. Three hours of boredom later (though I did get to spend some time training my Charmeleon), we got on the train for another two hours of waiting.

Finally we arrived in Venice! It was quite different from everywhere else we had been (mostly due to the water everywhere) and did remind me of Lake-town (hence the main photo). It was about 4:45pm at this point and we had to take a ferry to get to our hotel. By the time we got there it was close to 6:30pm. We decided we best go walk around a bit and get some dinner and not waste the limited time we have here.

Then it started to rain. A Mordor cloud swept over us and within minutes it was storming like crazy. Luckily we managed to duck into a restaurant before it got too bad and we got to have a nice dinner while watching the grey haze outside. The food was expensive too which didn’t help. It finally calmed down though, enough for us to walk back to our hotel room.

So that was our first day in Venice. A lot of waiting around, travelling and then watching the rain. We only have two nights here (a full day tomorrow and then the morning of the next day) before we fly to Paris. Hopefully it’s clear tomorrow and we can have a mega-day to make up for it.

If not… at least the hotel is nice.