Saturday, August 27, 2011


Our original trip plans included only one stop in Italy...Venice. We instead spent our last week in Italy, and for two fantastic days, we experienced this unique city.

One little story before I begin the photos: We got to the busy train station, had directions to get a vaparetto, or public water bus to get to the apartment we were renting. We were shocked to find out it cost $6.50 each just to ride to the stop we needed. The boat was packed, we were hot and sticky, we tried to have someone text our host to let them know we were on our way so they could meet us at our stop. In all of the stress, we got off the taxi at a stop on the opposite side of the island, no one was there to meet us, and then Danny realized he left his backpack on the boat that just pulled away. (Danny has been SO careful about his backpack with our passports, all our money, eurail passes, and laptop. AND Venice is crawling with pickpockets). I started to freak out, he stayed calm on the outside, but was panicked on the inside.
The next vaparetto that stopped, we told them what happened, described the bag, and Danny jumped onto that boat as they called to the boat ahead of them. Meanwhile, I have a cell phone number (but no cell phone) for the guy that is supposed to meet us, but the address is in the backpack, no one will let me use their phone, no one speaks enough english to help me, I am feeling stranded and desperate. Tania and I huddled the kids together and we said a quick prayer. Then I left them on the dock to go find someone to help. Finally a sweet, kind lady tried to dial the number, but it was the wrong number, so I needed the internet, but there is NOTHING around us but homes. She speaks NO english, but understood internet and she motioned me to follow her to her home (what an ANGEL!!!). Finally, I look up the number on her computer, and call Pietro to let him know we are at the dock, and he said he would send someone right over. I quickly run back to the dock (after kissing my angel, Marina) and find Danny (and his backpack) safe and sound with the kids!
That was the worst hour of our whole trip, and I am grateful we were watched over and protected. We quickly prayed to thank Heavenly Father for sending helping hands our way.

And now, I present: Venice, City of Bridges, Floating City and "one of Europes most romantic cities"!

We were so happy to be in a wonderful, clean new apartment with AIR CONDITIONING! That saved us, since it was in the high 90s with humidity while we were there. We wandered around the first night and found a great little place to eat dinner. The next day, we were off to walk the 1/2 mile to Piazza San Marco.

The thing about this city is...there are NO cars, no streets, no street names. 3 story buildings built hodge podge and helter skelter. You wander and wander through the MAZE. the 1/2 mile to the square actually was 1 1/2 miles because there is no straight shot to anywhere!We found a little butcher shop that made delish salami sandwiches and had a bit of picnic on a bridge.

We were back in the residential area, and felt like we were the only tourists. It was so neat to see this part of the island before getting to the "touristy" places. That is my favorite part of travelling.
We took in the sights as we wandered. It really was incredible to think of people living here and especially running a business. Any supplies or goods has to be brought in by a delivery man with a hand truck. Even that is a feat to take that dolly up and down stairs through narrow alleys!
The locals don't have cars or bikes...there would be no where to drive them. They have boats, or good walking shoes.

About every 5 minutes of wandering, we crossed a canal like this.

We finally ended up with lots of other tourists in Piazza San Marco and St Marks Basillica. The history of this city is amazing and has stood the test of time. Slowly, though, the city is sinking and when the tide is higher in the winter, this square is sometimes covered by water!The church was neat inside. One thing that was interesting (that we found only here and at the Vatican) was that you had to be dressed modestly to enter the cathedral. You could not wear tank tops or short shorts or miniskirts. Here, they would hand you a piece of material to wrap around your shoulders or your waist to cover your immodesty!

The kids had a great time feeding the pigeons, while the adults ran for shade. We felt like we were melting in the humid heat!
Tania was SO excited to be in line for the gelato!

While we found this city unique and interesting, it is kind of decaying and old. It adds to its charm, but I wouldn't say it was beautiful.

After a short siesta in the air conditioned apartment, we went back out to watch the sunset and get some food.

I was glad our apartment was on the outskirts of the island so we were so close to the ocean (not that you are ever very far from it) but we were on the quiet back side to enjoy a beautiful sunset.
The next morning, we found a man with a private boat offering tours and we asked him how much to take us around the island to the train station. We would have had to pay 40 euro for all of us to take the public water taxi, and he only charged us 15 euro! Plus, we weren't stuck with tons of people in a vaparetto stopping at all of the stops along the way.

This was a FANTASTIC way to see the last sights of Venice and to say Ciao to the "Floating City".Coming back around to the main port by the train station.

I am so glad we got to come to Venice!ARRIVEDERCI!


Louie said...

I am so glad that Danny was able to retrieve his backpack with your passports and everything intact! I've been in that situation as I had passports, travellers checks and all our luggage stolen while we were in Seville, Spain. We had our wallets with credit cards, etc. but had to make a beeline to Madrid to the consulate (Australian at that time) to get new passports, new travellers checks, etc. What a hassle!!!

God was certainly watching over you!

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Danny and Friends Mountain Biking