Monday, June 8, 2009

Europe Trip: Venice

After Vernazza, we headed east to Venice. I think all of us had built up Venice as some sort of magical city as seen in the movies. Sadly, we were all a little disappointed. It was rainy, smelly and filled to the bursting point with people. Erik was perhaps the most disappointed, but I took a little more optimistic view. It was a really neat city with a lot of potential to be truly one of the most beautiful cities in the world if they cleaned it up and somehow limited the amount of people they would let in in a day. Unfortunately, it was pretty expensive as well. A gondola ride was about 150 euros, a water taxi ride was 10 euros per person (so 60 euros for all of us), and the mass transit (not very clean and cramped) water bus was 6 euros each (one time only--even if you just wanted to cross the river--which is crazy cause you can buy an all day subway pass for $7). So, we did not end up going on the water at all and just walked a lot.
The hotel where we stayed at also caused us much unnecessary stress. My Mom had booked a 4 person room and assumed that Erik could just sleep on the couch or the floor. They were so strict (and so rude) on the matter and forced us to book another room. Apparently, the hotel also needed all of our passports to check us in. Jessica, of course, left hers in the car--which was a very long walk away, as you cannot bring cars into Venice. Jessica said she did not feel well and so Tyler and I had to go get it. Fun, fun fun...
The bad hotel experience probably started us out on the wrong leg, otherwise we might have been a bit more forgiving of the city.

Our first view of the Grand Canal Tyler crossing one of the many bridges. Gondolas with the San Giorgio Maggiore Island in the background Erik, Mom, Jessica and I taking a little rest

Tyler and I in the Piazza San Marco--there were soooo many pigeons here! (The Italian Job was filmed in this famous piazza)
St. Mark's Basilica--this church was so cool on the inside--however most of the stuff in there was stolen by merchants who then gave all their stolen goods to decorate the church

Two fancy gondolas

One of the many puppet shops---I think Pinocchio was from Venice

Tyler and I with a small canal behind us

The Rialto Bridge

The view from the Rialto Bridge

Jessica wearing a Venetian mask--these were sold everywhere
There was not very much grass or even trees in Venice, so these little boys had to play soccer in an alleyway.

I think I would like to go to Venice again when it is sunny and less crowded. I think I need to give Venice a little more time than a day or two. Also it might be easier to travel with less people--or at least more than one person paying for everyone--so that a boat ride might be possible. I am glad I saw Venice and I do think it has the potential to be as beautiful as the paintings depict it (they do exclude the millions of people in the paintings).

Next up Salzburg, Austria!

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