Saturday, August 1, 2009

Our Last Days in Venice (to July 23rd)

After a trip to Tally to finalize my living arrangements while in the doctoral program, I finally have a chance to write about Venice...and what a topic! It is absolutely gorgeous and the most unique destination of our travels. No cars, no motorcycles, just a few bicycles, and lots of boats. I found Venice to be the most romantic place; one definitely should come with their honey.

Some of the walkways in between the buildings are very narrow, while others are vary wide. Most of the vegetation I noticed was in window boxes or near the canals. There were a few homes or museums with lush vegetation, but this was not the norm. The buildings border canals or large shopping areas in the center of each "block". Shopping ranged from 50% off discount shops to Hermes, Chanel, LV, Valentino and Prada. One definitely should come with money.

Everyday we ventured out to see what we could see. St. Mark's Basilica was huge and the plaza was surrounded by shops. We went first up one side and back down the other so we could see all the shops. It was a very busy place, full of tourists, I'm sure. We made a point to cross the Rialto Bridge. Built in the late 1500s, it was the only way to cross the Grand Canal by foot for 300 years. We also took a day trip to the island of Murano to tour the Marco Polo Glass furnace. The artistry of these masters is quite impressive.

The canals are a flurry with boat traffic throughout the day, but tend to be quieter and calmer as the evening gets late. Gondolas are EVERYWHERE and EVERYTHING is transported via a boat. We saw a delivery of crates of fresh fruits and vegetables, construction materials, and a large wooden front entry door.

We stayed at The Hotel American Dinesen, on the San Vio Canal. Our room is in the cream building on the second floor in the middle (with the three doors). It was lavishly decorated in an old world style and I believe it was soundproof. I loved this hotel for three reasons...our room had a balcony overlooking the canal, we had a bidet, and I had all the ice I wanted! Yippee! (This was unlike the restaurants that did not serve ice. I even had one waiter say that "It's cold...what do you need ice for?" WHAT?! Hrmph! Well, when in Rome...or Venice...

When it was time for us to leave, we called for a taxi to take us to the airport and the boat picked us up right in front of our hotel. I couldn't imagine getting our heavy suitcases in the boat. I envisioned them tipping over and sinking out of sight into the water. The driver obviously had done this before, however, as the boat didn't even rock when we got in and took off in the quiet of the morning.

Be sure and view my slideshow of Venice on the right side of this page. The views are amazing!

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