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
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
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
[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
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