Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Venice: Days 1-3... Rome: Last Day!

Fasten your seatbelts… this is going to be a looooong post! I have four days of updates for you!! Finally, wireless internet!


Well, we were off to the train station mighty early this morning. Our train to Venice left Florence at 8:37 am and we arrived with plenty of time to spare…

We arrived in Venice at 11:15 am and headed straight for the bus. But, it was a special kind of bus… it’s a waterbus. As I’m sure most of you know, the streets in Venice are actually canals. Now, of course there are small streets and alleyways (not the scary kind), but I have not seen a single car.


Our waterbus took us down the Grand Canal. It was so beautiful. I fell in love with Venice immediately. And would you believe it?! There are more window boxes here than in Florence!! 

After we reached the stop for our hotel, we made our way to Hotel Locanda Canal. Again, the beauty of Venice amazed me. Once we walked inside, we were greeted by the hotel staff and we saddled up to go to our room. Ummm, teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy problem… There was no lift. In our previous hotels we had to lug our bags up maybe 10 stairs before reaching the lift… but this hotel had none. Okay, don’t judge… there was a chair lift for handicapped patrons… the perfect suitcase trolley… so we loaded our bags on the chair and slowly made our way up to our hotel room!!


The best part was riding it down to return the chair to the lobby!


After we unpacked a bit, we set out to explore this floating city. OMG, so beautiful.


It started to sprinkle (ever so slightly) so we determined it was the perfect time to explore Doge’s Palace and the San Marco Basilica. I’ve picked up some decorating tips while in Italy:

1. Cover your ceiling in gold… lots and lots of gold

2. Cover your walls with paintings… floor to ceiling paintings

3. And my favorite… Columns are an absolute MUST

After we finished our tours, we grabbed the first real meal of the day. And what did we order? Pizza and Pasta of course! And boy it was yummy!! After dinner, we did a little bit of shopping. Momma bought a gorgeous oil painting of Venice (complete with beautiful window boxes), and I got a beautiful ring made from Murano glass (it’s a small Island right off the coast of Venice). 

Okay, I must share this. We have had fabulous “luck” with our hotels. Beautiful, clean, air conditioned, comfortable, spacious (by European standards)… However, the shower in Venice is a trip!! Indulge me for a moment: Place your palms on top of your head with your elbows in front of your face, now turn in a circle. That is exactly how much room there is in our shower. Not exaggerating one bit! So, that part I could deal with, not gracefully mind you, but it was okay. The part that simply killed me was that this shower is a spa shower. What do I mean? It has six power jet sprayers. I’m sorry… I have barely enough room to bend down to pick up my razor… Why in the world would I want six power sprayers shooting water (in my face no less) while I’m trying to shower?!?! I do not know anyone that would find that relaxing. Luckily, I figured out which knob to turn to shut them off… bliss, LOL 

All in all, it was a great first day in Venice! Ciao! –E



Today we took our day-trip to Milan. We caught the water bus at 7:15 am for our 8:50 am train. It was so much fun to be out on the Grand Canal early in the morning.


Once we arrived in Milan, we got our map and headed straight for the Golden Triangle, the high-end shopping district. We meandered through the shops and decided we would move on to the sightseeing portion of our trip. (sidenote: we were bummed that we didn’t get to see “The Last Supper” while in Milan. It’s closed on Mondays… boo… someone didn’t do their research… silly me!)

First, we went to La Scala, the opera house. Momma flexed her golden pipes outside…

In the middle of the square there is a statue dedicated to Leonardo DeVinci.

Next, we happened to stumble upon Milan’s Duomo. It is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world. This church differed from the others that we had seen. There were few, if any, paintings inside. 


However, the windows were all stained glass and of course, the detail on the outside was outstanding.

We took another bus tour through Milan.


I have decided that Milan is the NYC of Italy:

1. There are beautiful residences like NYC… 

Even one that reminded me of The Plaza…


2. There are skyscrapers (lol, this is Milan’s first skyscraper… there are plans to build bigger ones)


3. Fashion plays a huge role in the city’s popularity (and they have a sculpture to represent the importance: Milan with the needle and thread. NYC with the button and needle)

4. Their main vehicle of mass-transit is a trolley/subway. The main difference is that it is above ground in Milan and they follow the original tracks that were laid out many, many, many years ago… (it's the orange trolley... I had a hard time getting a pic while we were on the bus. sorry!)


After 5 hours on a train and 7 hours in the city, we are exhausted. Turning in now and not setting the alarm for tomorrow morning! Hopefully we will get some good sleep for our last full day in Venice!! Ciao! –E



Well, today was our last full day in Venice. We take a train back to Rome tomorrow and then fly out on Thursday… sad day… But to be honest, I’m looking forward to a couple of days in Charlotte before I head back to LA. Whew, a 9 hour time change in a matter of 4 days… pray for me!! LOL

First, we went to Santa Maria Formosa. The church’s interior is said to have a “unique blend of Renaissance decoration and ersatz Byzantine cupolas.” To be honest, we didn’t even make it inside the church. We went to see this guy!!


See any resemblance?

Next, we took our gondola ride!! We had the NICEST gondolier. He gave us a history lesson as we rode. And he was pretty easy on the eyes as well!!


He took us through the Grand Canal, as well as the smaller canals.

First, we went under the Bridge of Sighs (named this because the prisoners would walk across it and sigh; they knew they would not be returning alive).


We also learned the symbolism of the metal piece at the front of the gondola. It is S-shaped like the Grand Canal, and the six pokes represent the six districts of Venice.


We also rode by Casanova’s house.


All in all, we had a great time on our gondola tour of Venice.


We then hopped on the water bus to Murano. This is the island where the glass masters work to create the famous Venetian glass. We were able to sit-in on the production of a few items. Momma and I were so grateful we had seen glass blowing done once before at the gallery opening in OKC. We knew what was going on!! It was so exciting!


Ciao for now! –E



Today was our last full day in Italy… sad. First, we took our last ride on the water boat in Venice.


We arrived at Termini station in Rome at 1:00 pm and took two trains and a bus to our hotel out by the airport. Whew, that was ROUGH!

After checking in we took three trains and a bus to the Vatican area to go to Old Bridge Gelato one last time before flying home. Yes… we spent an hour on the various forms of public transportation in Rome for gelato (and dinner, lol). After trying gelato in every city (except Venice) it is safe to say that Old Bridge has the BEST. If you ever get the chance to visit, it is a MUST. Today, Momma got Nutella and Banana (which tastes like banana pudding) and I got Crème and Strawberry… yummy!!!


We are back at our hotel now after three trains and a bus again and are getting everything ready to fly out tomorrow morning. We are west bound!!

Ciao! (for the last time from Italia!) -E

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