We bid farewell to Florence, hopped on yet another train, and arrived at our last stop on our Italian adventure. Venice.
Venice was one of the more enchanting towns I've ever been to. It's a a region built on more than 100 small islands in a marshy lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. This city was far different from any other that we traveled. There are no cars or roads, just canals and boats. We had to take a "bus" (read boat) from the train station to our hotel and it literally stopped all along the Grand Canal. We traveled mostly on foot, due to the cost of taking one of the stereotypical, but awesome, gondolas. There were many a street that we found to be a dead end, with no way to cross, and were forced to turn around. We finally accepted that stealing a boat wasn't our best option, and it was far to cold to swim, so we ditched the useless tourist map and decided to wander about and see as much of the city as we could.
Our hotel was directly on the water. You could actually pay a singing gondola boatman, in his striped shirt and ribboned hat (well not all of them, but quite a few), to pick you up at the hotel on the water. Luckily, we had a bridge that lead into St. Marco's Square to see some of the city's most notable attractions.
I make it sound like there were no bridges to be found. There truly were, and it was certainly possible to get to most everything. We just may not have taken the most direct of routes. But because of that, we ended up with views like this.
All of these colors and architecture have me dreaming. Even in February, everything was beautiful. If someone could loan me some money to paint my house and create a garden to even attempt to replicate this, it would be much appreciated.
Every great city seems to be filled with churches, and the more ornate the better. Well depending on the time period. But they certainly were impressive. At one point we gave up on trying to navigate the streets, and for a good long stretch just walked along the canal and into the shops and such along it.
I understand that it is not exactly the same thing, but I am officially getting a kayak this year. I've been talking about it forever, and this city has convinced me. I'm sure it is most unfortunate on rainy days, and watching the shop dealers wheel their carts up in the mornings looked less than fun, but I'm still convinced. Plus maybe I'll get awesome arms.
In Venice we were able to see Piazzo San Marco, St. Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace, the Rialto Bridge and the Bridge of Sighs, Santa Maria della Salute, and I'm sure several other places we happened upon that we may not have even realized. It was a quaint, small town that was calm and cold, and a great way to end our tour of Italy. Then we headed off to Rachael's little corner of France for the last leg of our travels! Until then, Ciao!