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Italy 2004 Trip Report - Venezia
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Aug 28, 2004

Dear Family,
     Here is the fifth and last installment to our report on our three week trip to Italy. I am writing this somewhere over the vast blue Atlantic Ocean as we make the long flight home. My last letter had us on the train from Florence to Venice. Venice is definitely a city unique unto itself. When we got off of the train, the only way to get around was to walk or get on a boat and go by the waterways. Luckily, we took the public waterway transportation [the Vaporetto], as we found later it would have been difficult to walk with all the luggage.
     We ended up in the nicest place we stayed in our whole trip, the Rialto Hotel. It was a great location, right on the Grand Canal and in the center of all the activity.

Ca'Rialto B&B in Venice
Sally taking a short break.

     [On Tuesday evening, we walked from our hotel near the Ponte d. Rialto to the Piazza S. Marco. We had dinner in a small restaurant near the hotel. One thing I liked at Venice restaurants were Tourist Menus. For one high price you got a complete meal with, usually, less food than if each item were ordered separately.  The most wonderful thing about Venice what that there were no motor scooters to dodge.]

Our B&B was 30 meters from the Ponte Rialto

Saint Mark's Plaza - as usual - filed with tourists and pigeons

The Bridge of Sighs

Typical Grand Canal View - I have dozen of photos like this and they all pretty much look the same.

Photo from the balcony of the building housing our B&B.
This was from the common sitting room, not our room.

     Venice is full of churches and historical buildings, which are full again of Renaissance Art. But we had seen so many insides of churches in Rome and Florence that we decided to plan our two days without going inside any historical buildings (I hope we didn’t miss anything by not going into the famous St. Mark’s Cathedral!). Our first full day, we walked and walked. We walked around a good part of the island, just seeing what was there. The “streets” were mostly alleyways winding in and out, like a maze through the buildings. We noticed that almost everyone was a tourist (in Florence and Rome, we found many local residents, but not in Venice). We finally walked out far enough and found some, but it was amazing how the whole island(s) was covered with tourists (many Germans). [We walked to the Gallerie dell’Academia, San Basilio and the Ferrovia (train station). After that, Sally went out ALONE to do some shopping while Mark rested at the hotel.] Venice emphasized seafood with their pasta, so we enjoyed pasta with fish sauce and pasta with clam sauce while we were there. In the afternoon, we bought a 90 minute ticket on the waterway transport [Vaporetto route 82]  and explored Venice by boat for one and a half hours. It is truly beautiful! [Our ride took us up the Grand Canal, past the train station, up Canale Della Giudecca, past Chiesa di S. Giorgio and to the stop near Piazza S. Marco. At that point, the boat retraced its steps. We only rode back to the Chiesa dei Gesuati where we then walked back to our hotel. On the boat, we met a woman from Chicago and a couple and daughter from Spain who are now living in Rome - Sally used her Spanish here.]

Saint Mark's Square from the Vaporetto

Another shot from the Vaporetto - One of hundreds of churches that we saw.

     The next day [Thursday], we took a boat [from Fondamenta Nuove] out to the island of Murano (also part of Venice) where glasswork is done. We watched a short demonstration of the glass blowing. We spent the rest of the day  “shopping.” (Mark’s favorite part - Ha!).

Murano was much quieter than the main Islands

We watched a glass blower make a fancy vase in a minute.

     We only had one downside to Venice - by the time we got there, we were exhausted. That probably kept us from enjoying it to the fullest.
     Yesterday, we took the train back to Rome. Our third time in Rome, are we smart now! We knew just how to get from the train station to the underground subway (Metro), how to buy the tickets from the machine, just where to get off and walk to our hotel. Just how to walk later to the square where all the action is. All things we had struggled with earlier. Now here we are on our way home - it will take a month to not feel so tired again - but with so many wonderful memories.
     [One last shopping trip to the Piazza Novana and then dinner at a pizza restaurant near the hotel.]
     Let us know when you want to see all the pictures. Mark took over one thousand pictures on his digital camera (though I know he’ll trim that down for the actual trip presentation) and I took two rolls of regular pictures.
    We are looking forward to our final destination today - home!!!
    [On Saturday, we checked out of the hotel and dragged our suitcases back down into the Metro for the trip to the train station. We found the train to the airport, bought two tickets and boarded the train. At the airport, we got through security, checked our bags and found the gate. We boarded at 10:30 but gas gauge problems delayed our departure until 12:10. We arrived in Cincinnati an hour late and I was worried that we would miss our connection. But no problem. We got through passport control and customs. Rechecked our bags and got on the plane for San Diego in time for our departure at 4:40 P.M. Well no such luck as a cracked cockpit window had to be replaced and we didn’t get off the ground until 7:04. We arrived in San Diego at 8:10 where Mary and Anna picked us up at the airport and took us home. We found, at home, that they stocked our refrigerator with food and drink and bought us a beautiful bouquet of flowers.]
    We love you and miss you!
   Sal & Mark

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Mark and Sally

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