Friday, December 9, 2011

Europe Day 6 - Venice (September 27th)

Today was another early morning. We were only spending one day in Venice, so we needed to get there early in the day to fully enjoy the city. That means we had to miss our breakfast in bed today. We headed back to the train station around 7:15am and were there by 7:30am.

We had planned on taking the 8:30am train to Venice, so we figured we had plenty of time. We got to the train station and the ticket line was super long and not moving. There were only two stations open, so we split up and each went in a different line hoping one would move much faster than the other. After what seemed like forever I finally got to the front of my line. I asked for two tickets to Venice on the 8:30am train and the cashier told me there were no tickets available, he said the next train was at 11:00am. That meant it would be afternoon by the time we got there, so I asked if there were any other options. There was a train at 8:00am that stopped in Brussels and arrived in Venice at a reasonable time. The problem was it was 7:50am and we only had 10 minutes to find our train. At this point our last train experience was still fresh in our mind, so we panicked a little but what choice did we have. I shouted to Patrick who was still in the other line about this option and we bought the tickets for the 8am train. We ended up finding the train fairly quickly and found our seats and got on. The first leg of the ride was successful.

We then arrived in Brussels and had to switch trains. We had no idea where we were supposed to be. We almost ended up going to the other end of the train station looking for our track, but luckily I saw a sign that we had to take some stairs down to the underground subway get to our train track. We got to the track and the train hadn't arrived yet, but we did have to go back downstairs to get our ticket validated before we got on the train. Again somehow we managed to get back up to the track before the train arrived. This train did not have assigned seats and was much less nice than the previous two trains, but we were able to rest easy knowing that we didn't have any more Italian train rides the rest of our trip.

Venice Train Station

We arrived in Venice and as is expected on this trip it was sweltering hot and we were in a new place not knowing exactly where we were going. We had done some research the night before on how we were going to get to the hotel, but we didn't have a good map of Venice so we thought it may end up being tricky to find. The water bus station is right outside the train station so at least that was easy to find. The line to get tickets for the bus was really long, so we waited in line quite a while before we were actually able to purchase our tickets. The boat ride was really enjoyable and I wish our hotel would have been farther away because it was so cool to see Venice from the water.

Venice Canal

Venice

In Venice we stayed at the Alloggi Santa Sofia. We had looked at the website the night before and the directions seemed pretty simple. Get off at this specific stop and then make a couple turns and you are there. Oh man, it was not that simple at all. First we got off and we weren't sure which direction we were supposed to be headed. We walked around for at least 20 minutes trying to find the street the hotel was on. It is pretty tucked away and even after being there all day we still missed it a couple times on the way back to the hotel.

After a frustrating check in experience, where the maid checked us in, we were off to find lunch. Here we are at the hotel before lunch.

Patrick & Sara at Hotel

When Patrick had gone to Venice in college they had gone to the grocery store and bought salami, provolone and fresh bread to make sandwiches for lunch. It sounded awesome to me. We had seen a grocery store on our hunt for the hotel so we headed back there.

Sausage at Grocery Store

We found all the stuff we were looking for in the deli area of the grocery store. In between the store and our hotel was the perfect little spot to sit and eat our sandwiches. It was an awesome lunch and really relaxing sitting by the canal in the shade watching the boats go by.

Lunch View

Lunch in a Venice Canal

Venice Canals

Venice

After lunch we went back to the hotel to see if we could figure out the walking route to the airport shuttle boat. Our flight to London left at 9:30am the next morning, so we knew we had to figure it out now in the daylight so we wouldn't miss the boat in the morning. From the map it looked like a straight shot, but when you are traveling through a city built on water it may not always be so easy. We only ended up at one dead end, so I would consider it a successful adventure.

While we were on that side of the island we decided we would take a boat to Murano, a island near Venice that is known for its glass blowing. Patrick had gone here on his college trip to Venice and really enjoyed it.

Boat Ride to Murano

Once we arrived on Murano we went to look for the glass blowing demonstrations. We couldn't find the place with demonstration so we decided to just walk around the island. Here is load of glass they melt down to use for the creations.

Glass at Murano

There are tons of shops with items to buy. All of the stuff is really cool. We wanted to buy something, but we knew it had to be small so we went on a mission to find an ornament for our Christmas tree.

Glass Balloons

The island was filled with beautiful sculptures and awesome scenery.

Glass Sculpture

Glass Sculpture

Island of Murano

Island of Murano

We ended up finding a really cute skiing Santa and a glass bulb. Since I have taken forever to write these posts, its almost Christmas and our ornaments have found a nice home on our tree. The bulb is much prettier in person, but I can't seem to get a decent picture of it.

Christmas Decorating 2011

After we found our ornaments we went back to the area the boat dropped us off at. We were not really looking for the glass blowing demonstration, but we found it anyway. We watched them create for a few minutes and then went back to Venice.

Glass Blowing Demonstration

Day 6 - Venice September 27th1

Glass Blowing Demonstration

Glass Blowing Demonstration

When we arrived back in Venice we explored the city some more.

Venice Canal

Venice Baked Goods

The sun was starting to set, so it was prime time for gondola rides. We didn't even think about seeing how much it cost to ride, but it probably would have been really cool to do if money were no object.

Day 6 - Venice September 27th

Here is the famous Rialto Bridge. It is just like the Ponte Vechio in Florence and has a ton of jewelry stores on it.

Rialto Bridge

Patrick & Sara in Venice

Venice Gondoliers

09.27.11

Venice Sunset

After walking around we went to find a place to eat dinner. Our hotel owned a restaurant and we got a discount there so we decided to eat there. We split a funghi (mushroom) pizza and I am pretty sure they weren't happy with us splitting a meal, but oh well. We were the only ones at the restaurant, so at least we were eating there.

We walked around some more after dinner. Patrick was on a mission on to find some iced coffee to drink in the morning. After searching many convenience stores we found iced espresso and called it a night. Today we walked 25,316 steps or 12.65 miles on our last day in Italy.

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