Venezia - Days 1-2
Trip Start Apr 01, 2009
70Trip End Jul 13, 2009
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Today, I woke up early to catch the train from Bologna to Venice to meet my Mom and Grandmother. I arrived in Venice around 1 PM and took one of the water shuttles or Valporetto to Via Garibaldi, where we rented an apartment for our stay. I took the Valporetto line # 1, which goes the whole length of the Grand Canal. The ride was pretty nice, but very slow. One cool thing I saw was a FedEx Valporetto were the "captain" was actually holding up a package to be scanned. After about 45 minutes on the Valporetto, I decided to hop off and walk the rest of the way. After a nice 15 minute stroll, I came to Via Garibaldi where I found the entrance to the apartment where we were staying. Via Garibaldi is a very interesting part of Venice because many local Venetians live there. The area is much different and more interesting than the rest of Venice in my opinion because it lacks many of the tourist trap restaurants and shops you encounter all over Venice. Unfortunately, my Mom and Grandmother had not arrived, so I headed to a cafe for some food and beers while I waited for them. There was a massive storm cloud sitting over Venice, so I assumed that their plane had been delayed. After about an hour, the sky over Venice turned black and hail started to pour down. The hail storm lasted for about 20 minutes, but the sky cleared shortly after. Two hours had passed, so I decided to go back to the apartment, where I found my Mom and Grandmother.
After many hugs and kisses, my Mom and Grandmother told me a hilarious story of my Grandmother's bargaining tactics with the water taxi drivers and the very unique taxi ride through the "Venetian hail storm."
After settling into our wonderful apartment we were invited by Deborah and Alberto (the owners of the apartment) for drinks at one of their favorite bars, which was right across the street from the apartment. After drinks, we headed to a restaurant right down the road. The food an wine were excellent, but everyone was exhausted from their day of travel and we had to wake up early in the morning, so we all crashed shortly after dinner!
April 30 - Venice - Day 2
Today, we woke up very early to meet our private tour guide, Howard, at 9 am. We started our day off by strolling along the boardwalk on the Bacino Di San Marco. We then turned into Piazza San Marco passed the Palazzo Ducale and into the Basilica Di San Marco. After admiring the beautiful interior, we made our way towards Santa Maria del Fari. On our way, we stopped in a small square for a cafe while admiring a very interesting statue that the local Venetians refer to as "book shits" (see the picture). We then took our first Traghetto gondole ride across the Grande Canal before we made it into the Fari. The Fari is amazing church and boast an excellent altar painting by the famous Titian. After about an hour in the Fari, we headed to another square where we had a cafe and some prosecco. We then took the Traghetto back across the Grande Canal and strolled past the zoo that is the Ponte di Rialto or Rialto Bridge. After weaving our way through the massive crowed, we strolled to the northern end of the island to Ex Scuola Grande di San Marco and passed the Campo SS Giovanni E. Paolo. We learned an interesting tid bit about statues of people on horses in Venice. If a horse has both front feet off the ground, then the individual was killed in combat, but if only one leg is off the ground, then the individual died a natural death. After cruising around most of the highlights of the island, Howard took us back to Piazza San Marco and we walked back to the apartment to rest and explore our neighborhood.
After an hour or so of relaxation, we headed out from the apartment and strolled down Via Garibaldi. Roughly two-hundred yards from our apartment was a small store that was selling what I refer to as "jug wine" to all the local. We decided to get some empty two liter bottles and fill them up and headed to the water to watch the sun go down. When we were walking back from the "jug wine store," we bumped into Deborah and Alberto who both joined us to watch the sunset. The sunset was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen, so beautiful, we stayed for almost two hours!
After the wonderful sunset, we set out for pizza at one of Debroah and Alberto's favorite spots. On the way, Alberto, who is a native Venetian, pointed out a bridge that he used to jump off as a child. The bridge was infront of the Torri dell Arsenalle were Alberto told us two amazing stories from World War II. Alberto told us that when he was young, he was outside of his house and witnessed a German soldier fire his rifle from one of the Arsenalle towers towards a British fighter plane. He said that in response, the British fighter circle around and dove at the tower while shooting and blasted the German soldier out of the tower. He also told us a sad story of witnessing German solder murder a women in front of his house for being outside after curfew! The stories were amazing to listen too!
After an excellent pizza dinner, we headed back to slumber before another big day in Venice.