Thursday, April 23, 2009

Venice

Our last stop on our Italian vacation was Venice. We traveled via train from Florence and joked that as soon as we arrived in Venice, we all emptied our pockets and let the canals have ALL of our money for our stay in this city. Venice is beautiful in a physical sense, but it is EXPENSIVE and we found the food to be disappointing on this leg of our trip. 
We were in Italy for goodness sake, so how could it have been bad? We were not sure how such terrible food could be possible either, but it was not good and it was severely overpriced to boot! In the end, we were glad we did not have more time allocated to Venice and now that we have been, we probably will not need to go back. 
Jonathan & Sarah traveling on the train to Venice. 
Upon arrival at the Venice train station, we went outside to hail a water taxi, only to find great commotion in the area. A man was attempting to get into a water taxi boat, and he fell into the canal instead! Jonathan is spotted here in the navy blue shirt as he went out onto a boat to help pull this man out of the water (the man who fell in couldn't swim as well!). 
We finally caught a water taxi and negotiated a small (large) sum of Euros for a transfer to the stop nearest our hotel by San Marco Square.  Scott enjoyed the ride.
I survived the boat ride too! 
The sights along the way of all of the buildings up on the canals were amazing.
Jonathan & Scott standing at the back of our water taxi en route to our hotel. 
More sights of Venice.
Once we checked into our hotel, we toured the city of canals on foot. We had no museums on our agenda for this part of the trip. We spent our days taking in the sights and thought we were going to enjoy good food at a few cafes....at least we enjoying taking in the sights! 
This man was sitting near a marketplace in Venice, peeling artichoke hearts, and then selling them. 
A view of Venice as the afternoon sun light perfectly reflected the buildings. 
Scott & Jonathan make friends with a Carnivale mask mannequin in front of a mask shop. The Venetian Carnivale is a long standing tradition for the city, which was first recorded as an event in 1268. Masks are a central tradition to the carnivale and so many shops in the area sell elaborate ones. 
A typical sight on a side canal - a gondola. 
A pretty side canal along our walk. 
Venice at sunset. It was quite a view to see the sun gently reflecting off of the water and onto the buildings.
After dinner, we of course tried the local gelato! 
In San Marco square, we sat at a bistro table and enjoyed a performance by local classical musical artists. The square is so huge in size, there were at least three different performances going on and the sounds did not even overlap. 
Scott & Cassie at night in San Marco (St. Mark's) Square - with the basilica in the background all lit up. 
The next day, we took a 45 minute ferry ride to the island of Murano. Murano is the most famous of the Venetian Islands because of its glass works that produce the popular "Murano glass." The people of Venice have been making glass since the 10th century when the Venetian merchants brought back the secrets of production from the East. The industry moved to the island of Murano in the 13th century because of the fear that the furnaces might cause a fire in the tight and confined spaces of Venice itself. 
The island of Murano. It was quite similar to Venice in its building appeal, but the streets were much less crowded and the island seemed overall a bit cleaner than Venice. (The food was actually better too!)
While walking around the island, we wandered by this house with its door wide open. As I peered inside, I saw this sight of a kitchen just lined with homemade bottles of tomato sauce and lots of bottles of olive oil. What a terrific Italian sight!
We walked all the way to the end of this pier and it was foggy enough that it was hard to tell where the water met the sky...
One of the beautiful estate homes on the island of Murano. Many wealthy Venetians purchased second homes on this island to escape the smog and fumes of Venice. 
One of the striking and large glass sculptures on display in a public spot on the island. 
Another public glass sculpture - those are all glass birds! 
And of course we made another stop for an afternoon snack of gelato! 
Sarah & Jonathan taking a break on the island.
Just a few of the beautiful Murano Glass items for sale. This store had so many glass light fixtures and I though the entrance with all of them hanging together was quite pretty! 
A few other things about Venice....
The algea was everywhere on the sides of steps, buildings, and all around the canals. It was a bit gross at times.
We noticed these wooded planks with metal legs all around the city, just sitting in stacks like they are seen here. After a few inquiries, we learned these are the temporary "sidewalks" the city puts up for when the canals overflow. Apparently the canals overflow every winter when the canals swell up and so the locals and tourist then use these temporary planks to get around the city. I am surely glad we did not face these planks in use!

We had a great Italian vacation and couldn't have been more thrilled to spend such a wonderful week with our dear friends Sarah & Jonathan...

1 comment:

Iota said...

Beautiful pictures