Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Postcards from Italy: VENEZIA {parte uno}

We hadn’t purchased our tickets for a train to Venice yet but we had checked the times the day before and made it to the station to catch the earliest train and we were there early, but it was completely sold out. But we talked to the ticket guy and he had us go on a different train that was heading towards Milan, so we changed in Bologna and then hopped on another one to Venezia (Venice). On the train I planned out our time in Venice and we got there around noon. In Venice there are no cars because there are no roads and certainly not ones big enough for cars. Venice is a manmade city that is built upon stilts in the water, and it is slowly sinking. To get anywhere you have to take a boat or foot. There are only three major bridges across the Grand Canal so mostly you take their “bus-boats” to get to the different sites. 
you get off the train...
and this is what you hop onto^

Venice is made up of hundreds of islands, waterways, and bridges and we were staying off the main island on the next little island called Lido. We took the vaporetti (bus-boat) down the Grand Canal and to get there and it was amazing as soon as you get out of the train station. You are immediately bombarded with gorgeous views of old architecture, boats, and tiny winding alley and waterways. The water is a beautiful and clear shade of blue and you can hear Italian men singing on Gondolas in the background. It doesn’t even feel like Italy but a unique breed of its own. It reminded me a lot of a mixture of Florida- where I live in Naples, Key West, and some of the cities north of where we live. But it is completely different at the same time- it has a ton of history, breathtaking architecture, and a feeling that is all its own. 
BAM. that's what venice hits you with as soon as you get there. picture perfect. 

all the men on the gondolas wear striped shirts, i guess it must be their uniform... 

We got to Lido and were hungry so we got gelato again. On Lido island they have cars and buses, so we took the bus to Malamocco Village where our “hostel” was. We got lost along the way because their bus system is different and had to ask for help but unfortunately Lauren took the Italian book with her and the women we asked got mad at us since we didn’t speak Italian. We finally made it there and checked in. Venice is really hot (not as humid as Florida) but the hottest place I had been in a while since living in England and none of the places in Italy (or Europe) have air conditioning. You just have to open your windows and hope no bugs get in because they don’t have screens either. 
GELATO #11 canteloupe and watermelon. BEST THING EVER. 
We went back into the city to check out the sites and wander through the alleyways and get lost as much as possible, because that it the best way too explore Venice. We went to San Marco Square to check out the cathedral, went into Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari church that had famous artists’ paintings in it (including Assumption by Titian), and then grabbed more gelato and then dinner. After we ate we went back to San Marco Square to enjoy the ambiance. They had live orchestras playing (around four or five) at the outdoor seating for the restaurants, the cathedral was lit up, and the full moon glittered over the water. Because Venice is sinking and so close to the water at night during high tide the water actually floods the city through the grates and covers the square (not completely though). We sat down on a little “island” that wasn’t wet and listened to the music while talking to a father and daughter from the US for a while, mostly about ourselves and when they found out we went to BYU they asked questions about Mormons and were really nice the whole time. They left us eventually, we kept talking, and by the time we left and took the boat and bus back to our place it was around midnight. 
St. Mark's Basilica 

pictures left at the saint statue's feet
Assumption by Titian in Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari church

GELATO #12 strawberry 
pizza. really good pizza too.
if you look closely you can see the water on the ground that flooded the square from high tide.
playing vivaldi of course. 
okay this is blurry but i feel it is an important piece to accomplishing the feel of venice at night. full moon, a row of gondolas, and churches in the background. venice is a magical place my friends. 

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