Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Our Italian weekend - Part 2

On Sunday morning we headed to Venice! We drove a little over an hour to the Venice Mestre train station located on the mainland of Venice. (Did you know Venice is made up of many islands?) We bought train tickets for 1 Euro each and hopped on the train to the St Lucia station right along the Grand Canal. The second we exited the doors of the train station Luke was in heaven. Not only were we right along the water but there were boats everywhere. Brian got in line to purchase an unlimited water taxi ticket and once we had them in our hands, we were off. We rode down the entire 2 miles of the canal, stopping at 4 or 5 of the many stops along the way. We stopped at the Rialto Bridge (which is the bridge you are supposed to kiss under as your gondola glides on the water) and walked up and over the bridge to the market along the side streets. Brian stayed with Luke as he chased pigeons in the small square and I browsed the many, many street vendors along the way. I ended up purchasing 2 small Murano glass bowls from a vendor who got his selection of glass right from Venice's own Murano island. (All glass making was banished to the island of Murano hundreds of years ago to prevent fires from breaking out - they wanted to contain all the glass makers on 1 island and that is where they remain today.) We wandered up and down the streets of some of the other stops and eventually made our way, by water taxi, to San Marco Square, where the views are gorgeous, the lines and long for all attractions and the prices are ridiculous. It was gorgeous though and we got a few pictures of the square and historical St. Mark's Basillica along with their astronomical clock tower. We roamed through the back streets and found a restaurant that wasn't as expensive as the others and had lunch. After lunch we cut through the streets back up to the Rialto Bridge (along with hundreds of other people) and passed cute shops, amazing window displays, small canal crossings with bridges, statues, gondoliers, artists and more pigeons.

Venice is amazingly beautiful and provides you with an endless amount of things to see and do. We enjoyed our ride down the Grand Canal and left satisfied about what we accomplished. The chaos and crowds made it near impossible to do a lot of historical site seeing with a 2 year old in tow. But we were happy with our trip and thrilled that we were able to see Venice on a gorgeous Sunday with the temperatures in the 60s and the sun shining the entire time.

Here are pictures of Venice. Enjoy!

The Grand Canal

Rialto Bridge
Brian and Luke on the bridge

It's me!
Little gondola

Chili pepper bouquets! How cool!
Luke chasing pigeons

The Murano glass vendor - I bought 2 of the bowls on the 3rd shelf down - the multi colored ones
Luke and I along the Grand Canal. Me, 25 weeks pregnant. Luke, digging through my purse looking for a snack.
Some of the private boats zipping along the canal
On the vaporetto (water taxi)
Luke and I on the water taxi

Approaching San Marco Square
The chaos of the square!

San Marco Basillica - this building dates back to 826 AD when it was first built. A fire destroyed it twice, once in the 900s and once in the early 1000s. This building that you see here is original from the early 1000s.
Luke and I in front of the basillica

Astronomical clock tower. Remember the legend I told you behind the clock tower in Prague? Well, this clock has the exact same legend. Hmmmm...
One of the side canals and more gondola rides. The Italian government set prices for gondola rides so all gondaliers have to charge the same - no one can beat another ones prices. For the standard 6 seat gondola it costs 73 euros (about $105 USD) no matter if 1 person or 6 people take the ride.

An oil painting vendor
One of the many shops along the streets of Venice
Side street
Hiking up the stairs to get back to the Rialto Bridge

Waiting at the water taxi stop for our ride

Four hours later, on the train back to the VE Mestre station


Homemade Zen said...

Beautiful! I always wanted to go there... maybe one day I will... said...

I loved was one of my favorite cities....
All of you look like you were having a great time.

When Will We Cry? said...

awesome photos - makes me which we had such a rich and historic culture here!

Anonymous said...

Oops... I was signed in under another blog - it's a blog that I'm swapping over from an old website for my old youth minister. But it was me that said the previous comment ;)