Bye bye Venezia (booo hooo)

Trip Start May 02, 2008
Trip End May 31, 2008

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

The last day has arrived way too soon!  Can't believe it's been 5 nights already - we still haven't done half the things we wanted to!  Don't know how people come here for 1-2 days then claim to have "done Venice"!

We'd definitely like to come back and Sherry is already making plans!

The hotel Sherry picked was excellent: room, view, location and staff ... all worth paying a little extra.   The friendliest was Emanuele, the night porter, who loved to chat to you each night for as long as you wanted to about what you'd done during the day, any aspect of Venice you wanted to discuss (he LOVES Venice and is so enthusiastic about it, it inspires you), try and improve our very bad Italian, and was always looking for ways to provide even more helpful information about the area.

The only time this was a problem was when we were really busting one night (there are very few public toilets in Venice and the ones that do exist cost 1 Euro to get in and ... well ... let's just say they aren't the cleanest places you've ever seen).  Hopefully, Emanuele didn't think we were rude that night.

After checking out, we headed to Piazza San Marco and went into the Basilica there.  We'd stuffed around a bit since both Lonely Planet and the signs out the front of the Basilica said it wasn't open on a Sunday ... yet when we got there, there was a big queue of people and they were going in!

The inside of the Basilica is just incredible with huge domes and beautiful carvings etc but the main feature of this one is the mosaic artwork.  This uses a background tile covered with gold leaf so the whole inside of the building's roof is covered in tiny gold tiles (about 1cm square) ... and it's a big place!  The mosaics cover over 8,000 square meters!  That's a LOT of mosaics!

We then joined the other line to get up the bell tower (the tallest building in Venice).  Fortunately, tourists are no longer allowed to use the stairs and everyone has to take the elevator to the top.

Beautiful views of the whole island and surrounding area - though very glad we weren't there on the hour as those bells looked absolutely HUGE!

Headed over to a square ("Campo") we found in the Dorsoduro area for lunch as it looked like it would be nice since it was off the beaten tourist track ... but it was a long walk and the one we selected was a bit disappointing.

It's funny but most tourists tend to stay on the Yellow Brick Road (ie follow all the yellow signs directing you from one major landmark to the other).  So as soon as you go off these routes, even just one street, you quickly get away from all the crowds.

Jeff did some tie shopping, then we spent our last 30min on a nice gondola ride.  Bit expensive but hey, it's Venice!

We then collected our bags, hauled them up and down bridges to get over to the bus station, then went off to the airport ... very sad to leave.

Waaaaaaaaaah!  WE WANT TO STAY!

Arrived in London at Gatwick airport, took the Gatwick Express into town, then after much hauling suitcases up and down more steps & rainy streets, arrived at our hotel in Kensington.

Very tired!
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