Here is what you do in Venice. You take a gondola ride. AND you get lost!
This city is a MAZE of streets that end suddenly, many times at a dead end. HA.
As soon as we got off the train, it was POURING so we waited a bit to get our vaporetto tickets and rode this (ferry-like boat) to our stop where our host was waiting for us. We followed her to the apartment, meanwhile I’m thinking I could NEVER find my way back, or find my way here again! And I consider myself to have a pretty good sense of direction! HA!
The place was BEAUTIFUL. 2 bedrooms, one modernly decorated and furnished, one with antiques. There was a small stool in the kitchen which was petrified wood. So pretty. It was very well equipped as far as the kitchen and everything. We stopped out at the grocery store (right around the corner – we found it AND found our way back). After that, it was time for our first DINNER IN ITALY! YAY! Food and WINE!
We ate at a small place not far from our apartment. The food was amazing. This was the start of Laney’s Italy obsession with Carpaccio. HA. Dessert was even better. Its been a few weeks since then, and it’s still Laney’s favourite dessert.
The next day, we wandered the ‘streets’ (which are really more like alleys) saw some beautiful piazza’s (plaza’s, like platz in Germany), churches and in the afternoon got ready for our gondola ride. Our gondolier (is that a word?) was Massimo. He didn’t speak much english but he smiled a lot. And laughed when I high-fives the gondolier of another gondola passing by. Yes, I’m that person. HA.
After that, we did some shopping near the Rialto bridge, which is just gorgeous. The girls bought some journals, Laney got a custom-made phone case (with a cartoon version of the Grim Reaper engraved on it). Shocker. HA. It was pretty cool, though, you could look up any image on the internet and this guy would load it into the computer and it would be engraved on the aluminium (I think it’s aluminium) case that you picked out. All for 15 Euro.
Of course, we also saw lots of cool masks and other fun stuff!
We also climbed the Bolovo staircase.
Of course we also bought some limoncello. But not in this bottle (insert eye-roll here)
After that, we rested a bit at home and got ready to go out. We just HAD to do the dinner on the grand canal. It was a little cheesy but incredible!
The next day, we left our bags in our apartment and headed to see the Doges Palace in the San Marco section of Venice. It was beautiful and the tour was really interesting. We learned about Casanova, and other people who were jailed there. We learned about history of Venice, including the fact (?) that Venice was the first city to abolish torture and capital punishment. There were a few prisons in the Doges palace. One was under water for 6+ hours a day for 6 months of the year. This prison housed the prisoners who were sentenced to death. Many died before they were executed, for obvious reasons.
This ‘clock’ (above) I think, is an astrological clock. With the 12 signs
Saint Mark’s Basilica
Between the palace and the other prison (the lead prison, as the roof is lead) is the Bridge of Sigh’s. So named because, once sentenced in the palace, the prisoners walked the bridge to the prison and saw, perhaps, their last view of the canal’s and freedom. One of the leaders of the city spent a night in the lead prison and heard the prisoners sigh as they crossed the bridge to serve their sentence. And so named it the bridge of sighs.
Some other pictures from the San Marco section (district) of Venice.
Later that day, sadly, we had to go. Back on the vaporetto to the apartment, collect our belongings and a torturous walk back to the vaporetto to get to the train station Torture because of the difficulty of walking through Venice with bags, considering the narrow walkways, the cobblestone pavement, and ALL THE STEPS over each and every little canal!! HA! And in the HEAT! OMG it was so hot. We made it though. But it wasn’t pretty.
Onward! Time to hit Desenzano del Garda. A little town on the south end of Lake Garda, which is in northern Italy. We needed a break and some beach/swim time after Venice!!