Tuesday, November 08, 2016

End of the trip in Venice

When we left Lake Garda we went north and down through the mountains towards a city called Vicenza.  This was for practical reasons only.  We needed to do some laundry and we needed to be close to the Venice airport so we could return our rental car the next morning.  The city had all we needed.  The hotel we stayed at was close to the motorway so it was really a business person's hotel.  We did have a small balcony though so spent part of the afternoon out there.  The view is mostly of the apartment buildings nearby but you can see the mountains.  You can also see our little rental Renault (black with a white roof) in the parking lot.
We decided to take the car on one last mission and went up to a small town called Bassano di Grappa.  They claim to be where the grappa liquor was invented.  It was simply a small but busy city.  We had lunch at a little 'British Pub' by the side of the river.  They had pretty good food, English beer and a nice view of the river, the ancient covered bridge and the Alps.  Not a bad stop at all!
The next morning we were off to the Venice airport.  That was kind of an experience.  There are three parking garages all with the same first number; I don't remember exactly but they were like 5A, 5B and 5C.  It wasn't clear to us which one housed the rental car return so we ended up going up and down 5A and 5B before finding the return at the very top of 5C.  Well, we made it anyway! 

So now we got the bus into town, which leaves you at the railway station, and went looking for our hotel.  The hotel advertised itself as being close to the railway station and sure enough, it wasn't hard to find.  My wife had opted for what they called an 'apartment' so we were eager to find out what we'd rented.  The folks at the hotel were very nice giving us a cool drink while they hunted up someone who could take us to our new digs.  This little gal grabbed my wife's bag and off we went.  I was expecting the 'apartment' to be two or three buildings away.  Well, it was more like half a mile!  We actually measured it using my wife's pedometer!  We went along across a couple canals across a couple small piazzas and finally down this narrow passageway.
In the end it was fine but it sure wasn't where we had assumed it would be!  It was a 2 bedroom apartment with a small eat-in kitchen, living room and bath.  The bath was sketchy but it was kind of fun living there.  And, what did we do in Venice?  We walked! 

My wife and I both love boating and have owned several.  I always assumed that we'd use boats to get around Venice but we never got on board a single one.  There are plenty of boats though.  Work boats are used to carry goods all around town.

Most tourists will be using the vapparetto which is basically a boating bus or a boating taxi.  In this photo you see both.  This vaparetto isn't very crowded but most of the ones we saw were packed!  The water taxi's looked pretty cool.
Even the police use boats.  These two cops seemed to be having a fairly nice ride.

However, as I said we walked everywhere.  Did I mention that Venice is a car-free zone?  Not a car in sight when you are talking about the interior of the city.  It's just not possible.  There isn't anywhere to drive them much less park!  Delivery of things is via boat until you have to carry whatever on the 'street'.  Then you use a specialized wheel barrow.  The front forks extend a couple feet and have little steel wheels.  You then tip the barrow back so the wheels are on the next step then slide forwards until the main wheels have support then repeat until you are on top of the bridge.  Going down is just going slowly!  Those guys earn their pay for sure.

Of course everyone wants to visit St. Mark's Basilica on the Piazza San Marco.  We wandered on over there in quite a round-about manner but here's what we found.
Talk about people!  My wife and I aren't ones for crowds and this huge Piazza was filled to the brim.  As we walked along we were just weaving between tour groups each with their guide.  Some of the guides had little radios that transmitted to their group only but lots of them just yelled.  Then we saw the lines for the Basilica and the Doge's Palace.  Suddenly finding our way OUT of the Piazza sounded like a great idea.  I did take a photo of San Giorgio Maggiore church across the water.
So what we did for the remainder of our three days in Venice was to just love the city and avoid all the tourist highlights.  If we ever decide we absolutely MUST see St. Mark's, we'll go in February or sometime.  We did cross the famous Rialto Bridge.  The interior walkway was being redone and was kind of a mess but the outside is still very beautiful.  It is also very crowded both inside and out!
On the Grand Canal is where the grandest homes were built.  They are still pretty grand.  This was across from a restaraunt where we had lunch.
That lunch was kind of a special one just because the place was on the canal.  When I say special, I mean expensive.  But it wasn't too bad and every once in a while it's good to try something new. 

So that wound up our trip to Italy.  My wife's pedometer got a good workout and we saw more churches than I would have though possible.  We flew from Venice to London and London back to Las Vegas.  Where ever we have lived coming home always feels good.  Coming home to Las Vegas was no exception.  It's good to be back.  I'm sorry I've been so tardy about posting these.  I think I'm getting slower with every trip.  Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

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