Thursday, June 24, 2010

Venice! What an incredible city!!!!

Dennis figuring how the heck to get from point A to point B!

The beautiful Doge's Palace!

Going into the palace. Notice the 24K gold ceiling! This
was the only area we could photograph!

Me on one of the many balconies of the palace.

Waiting for lunch at the cafe'........

Yes, even restroom visits will cost ya' 80 cents to 1.50 euros!

Dennis resting as we wait on the tour to start..

Feeding the pigeons on the piazza will gain you many feathered friends!!!Fun!

Typical "street" in Venice. You could EASILY get lost!

One of the many waterways used to travel in Venice.....

Dennis was impressed by the Ferrari shop!

The famous Grand Canal is a very busy place!

Dinner was some yummy lasagna!

Yesterday was another busy day and I just couldn't stay up late enough to write! So it is about 8:00am here, Dennis is still asleep because we must have walked 10 miles yesterday! We had a tour scheduled at Doge's Palace, the center of the government in the 1500's city of Venice, at 11:00am. My train tickets only got us as far as the Venice Mestre station, not the Venice San Lucia station where all the people want to visit. These are local trains and you can't make reservations! So, after checking train schedules on the internet and figuring out which train we needed, we hurried to get the San Lucia train in the 15 minutes in between so we would get there in time for our tour! No stress there. While on the train, Dennis plotted a course through the walkways of Venice to get us clear to the other side of the city! He estimated it would take about 25 minutes. After arriving, that left us about 10 minutes margin for error (i.e. getting lost!). So we get of the train at 10:25am and discover these narrow, sometimes 4 foot wide sidewalks, winding in between these old buildings. Most of them are at about 5 stories tall so you feel like a rat in a maze. They twist and turn and have absolutely no rhyme nor reason to them. Also confusing, like most streets in Italy, they will change the name of a street from one "block" to another! So he's looking at his map and I'm reading the list of written directions I made from the map with all the left and right turns, we're walking and running through masses of people and 30 minutes later we get there. We got confused a couple of times but I'm sure we set some kind of speed record! There are no cars there, so taking a taxi wasn't an option. They do have water taxi's but they are very expensive. The Doge's Palace was incredible. It's a huge, massive marble building and we toured the section that had the prison and the courtrooms. The funny thing was, the interior burned several hundreds of years ago so they had ship builders rebuild this area and it looks like the inside of an actual ship! Dark wood, massive beams, and because it's constructed on the marshy land of Venice, it even has a subtle swaying motion of a ship! It kinda got to you after a while! Casanova was a prisoner here and we got to here the story about his escape ,which was cool.
After the tour, we ate lunch and wandered through the "streets" looking at the hundreds of shops and visiting some of the sights. Cruise ships arrive at about 10am and it gets so crowded you can barely get through the place! But at least we never had anyone trying to sell us stuff and there we only a couple of old ladies begging so much better than Milan in that respect.

Next we did our gondola tour with two other couples. One was from Australia and they were retired and had been in Italy two months! The other was a 19 year old couple from London. It was really fun and there was actually a traffic jam of gondolas, there were so many. Those guys are really good though at what they do and never hit anything! I wish I would have had my kayak! The weather was perfect, mid 70's with a breeze. I really loved Venice because it was so different from anyplace I'd ever seen before! And to think it's all just on the water! They take large wooden posts and drive them into the ground under the water. The salt water preserves the wood and they put the foundations on them. Amazing!

Our gondola tour was over at 5:00 and we had to navigate our way back to the train station but at least we had more time to do it this time! We got on the train back to Venice Mestre station, got the next train to Verona and Dennis fell asleep on it! He was pretty tired! It was one of my favorite days in Italy! Today it's off to Milan again and hopefully we can figure out how to get from the train station to our hotel near the Malpensa airport! Always an adventure! Ciao!

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