Venice - the best city in Italy

Time for one more blog entry with the last details of our trip...

We went for a nice dinner in Verona, getting all dressed up and ordering LOTS of food. After that, it was back to the hotel before getting up early in the morning to head over to Venice. Our train ride was uneventful, which was nice. We got a map so we could find our hotel and heading out of the train station to catch the vaporetto (the water bus.) We checked in - our room was already ready for us so we dropped our bags and headed out to Piazza San Marco. It was quite the site. Most of the one side was under water because the tide had recently come in so there were raised boardwalks for people to walk on - though, some people wadded through the puddles with rubber boots. We found the line for the basillica and headed in. It was quite the sight to see, the ceilings are all in mosaics, mostly with gold backgrounds. Sadly, no photos of the inside so you'll just have to google it. After that, it was into the Doge's Palace. It was amazing how HUGE and extravagant it was. The ceilings were absolutely amazing and it's just mindblowing to realize that it was built in the 12th century. Then it was time for some lunch and a trip up to the Rialto bridge!

Happily, Venice was pretty empty of tourists (though there were still a LOT) so it didn't take long to make our way to the front of the bridge. It was a really beautiful view, down the Grand Canal with all the gorgeous old buildings going down either side. We stood there for quite a while, just admiring the scenery and watching the gondolas and vaporettos make their way up and down the canal. After that, I wanted gelato from a place I read about in the book but we couldn't find it on the map and decided to just wander instead. The nice thing about Venice is that even though there are tonnes of little streets and it is easy to get lost, they put signs up on the buildings with directions to the major tourist attractions. After a bit of wandering, EDP decided we should follow the signs for the one attraction and we wandered through little street after little street for quite some time until we stumbled upon the gelato place I was reading about!! EDP tells me that was serendipity and that it was not fortuitous but I all I know is that I had some really good gelato (peach and panna cotta, yum...) We kept walking and finally arrived at our mystery location - the train station. Yup, we walked to the train station. While a bit disappointing, the walk was beautifuly and we now knew exactly how to get there in case we needed to walk. After that, we wandered back to the hotel and relaxed a bit before dinner. Venice has a tonne of seafood so EDP was pretty excited about the dinner prospects. Our dinner was tasty but it took forever!

The next morning, after breakfast being delivered to our room, we went out to explore again. It was FREEZING (even EDP was cold) but we went up to the Jewish Ghetto to take a look. Then, it was time for lunch and more wandering and some shopping for Murano glass! We found some really beautiful glass but you had to be really careful that were you were buying genuine Murano glass, not fake stuff from China. I had a lovely older fellow explain exactly how to tell you were getting the real stuff. He showed me how to look at the beads to see the silver inside and compare them to make sure they were all different. Then he showed me how he has to put a little tag on each piece that matches the tag on the piece with the particular location the glass was made. THEN, the piece has to be wrapped up and the package has to be sealed with a sticker. Quite the process! After our shopping explorations, we headed back up to the train station and made our way back to Rome.

The train trip to Rome was long and he had to take first class since there weren't any seats left in second class. A bit more expensive but we got snacks! Once in Rome, we found our last hotel and popped next store to have our last dinner. While at dinner, we caught a muted version of Italy's Deal or No Deal. Had a lot of similarities but a LOT of differences. No briefcases, just cardboard boxes tied with string. No models, just regular people. AND, sometimes, you have to do a crocodile dance. I'll be looking to stream it on a regular basis.

Then it was back to the hotel to get a good sleep before heading back to the airport the next morning. We caught the airport express, checked in and and waited for the plane to bring us back home. The flight was uneventful though I did get pulled into customs and had the salami EDP bought from duty free confiscated (well, we tried - he can probably order it online, anyway).

We've made it home now and I managed to sleep until 5 this morning! Time to do some laundry and pull the photos off the camera. There's a lot!

PS - here's a list of all the flavours of gelato I had...

In Verona, but I haven't seen the gents yet...