This morning we woke up to a nice breakfast in our room. At 9am there was a knock at the door and this was outside. The cappuccino and the brioche were tasty.
Today we had a dilemma because the weather was supposed to be horrendous — 35-40 degrees and raining. So we wore a few layers and decided to hit the streets — er canals. We crossed the Accademia bridge and walked to San Marco square. We were going to tour the bell tower first, but the line was already too long.
Our second stop was the Doge’s Palazzo. We tried to get reservations to the “secret itineraries” tour, but couldn’t get through on the phone due to the holiday weekend. We were interested in touring the prison in the basement more than anything else. Here the line was too long also, we decided to hop on a vaporetto to Murano to see some glass factories. The weather was perfect, sunny and no rain in sight. Thank goodness!! The boat ride was terrific and Murano was very quaint. They have a lot of glass flower sculptures all over the main road. Here are a few pictures of them:
I saw a lovely pair of ladybug dangly earrings for 19 euros, but decided against it at the last minute. I probably should have bought them! We spent about an hour walking around Murano, didn’t get to see a glass blowing demo but Jose tried his best to climb into one of the factories to see a demonstration, but I was able to drag him back down.
The weather was continuing to hold out so we wanted to get back to San Marco square asap. We hopped on another vaporetto and were back in a flash.
The line for the Doge’s Palazzo (Doge was the head of the current ruling family) tour was empty, but we were starving so we ran through a maze of streets to find a pizza shop we saw the night before. It was delizioso! We had proscuitto, funghi, and formaggio and an orange Fanta (the second best selling soda in Europe – behind Coca Cola).
We got into the palazzo and headed right for the stairs to the prison. You were asked not to take photographs inside the palazzo so we didn’t. But I really wanted too! Here’s a link to a flickr site with some *illegal* pics of the prison. The prison was very creepy, dark and cold. I can’t imagine being stuck there for the rest of my life. Apparently the prison was in use through 1930 and the doge could throw anyone in there for whatever reason for as long as he liked. yikes! Here is a picture of the “Bridge of Sighs” (take from the outside) This is the walkway to the prison, where legend says that the prisoners would take their last breaths of fresh air and sigh mightily before being taken down into the depths of the prison. *shudder*
This picture was taken through a wavy glass window looking oustide the Doge’s Palazzo.
Outside, it was a little cloudier, but we got in line for the bell tower tour. We waited for about thirty minutes. The views were incredible and we made it out of there before the ear splitting bell tolls. Here are some pics of us at the top of the tower having some fun!
**Alicia — skip this paragraph if you are reading this**
There were so many pigeons in the square and they are very friendly. Vendors sell corn (laced with bird birth control to limit the population) to feed the birds. They will land on your arms if you hold them out.
On the way back to the hotel, I was walking in front of Jose down some narrow streets. I stopped to drool over some chocolate-y pastries in a shop window. From behind me he starts saying that his head feels weird, it was getting heavy and starting to hurt. I turned around and he was not behind me anymore. I could hear him calling my name and I followed his voice into a small courtyard. This is what I saw:
Now it’s about 5pm and here is where we made the mistake of the day. Last night, we were at dinner until 8:45 and there were a lot of people still milling around places eating. So we decided to go back and defrost ourselves, take a short nap and then go to dinner. We woke up around 7ish (oops!) and realized we still had a lot to do!!! We had to visit the Rialto bridge, take the full vaporetto tour and eat dinner. So we grabbed our handy Rick Steves Italy 2007 book and took off running. It was FREEZING!!! but according to the maps, the restaurants we chose to try were close to the Rialto bridge. RIIIIGHT.
We spent over one hour walking down lonely, dark, scary streets before we found one of the restaurants.
And they were not taking any more diners. Every other place was closed. Every. Other. Place. Even the really expensive, last resort places, and the cheap, nasty fast food places. When we finally gave up on dinner, we walked over the Rialto Bridge and took some pics. Did I mention it was about 35 degrees? (see photo below –that’s me AKA Rudolph). side note: While the Rick Steves book has come in handy many times, the hand drawn maps leave a lot to be desired. Be sure to pair them with a detailed map from the city you are visiting. You’ll be thankful you did.
So moral of this story, Italy may come across like a late night kinda of place, but they all pack up and go home by 10. It was now 10:15 and we had nothing to eat for dinner. All the stores were closed, the restaurants were closed. We had two pastries left over from the day before and a half of a bottle of water. Big Spenders, I know. Funny thing is that neither of us was dying from hunger, so it wasn’t too bad. This was dinner our second night in Venice — Y.U.M.!
The night ended on a great note for Jose. We have not seen a TV since we’ve been here and Jose loves to watch late night European TV. They have the most bizarre game shows and QVC-like tv. As we were settling in to eat our dinner pastries, this is what was on TV: United States Curling!!!
Curling and pastries for dinner: he was a happy man!
Tomorrow is a travel day, we are heading back to Roma to catch a train to Napoli to catch a ferry to Capri. These are photos taken early in the morning as we left Venezia. It was sunny and gorgeous! Look at this lovely city!
Rialto Bridge at 7:30am