We’re off! Hi-speed train 1st class 9418 leaves Florence 12:30 arrives Venice 14:30. 35C much cooler!
Once more packed and ready to leave for the train station at 11:30am after one last walkabout and grabing a sandwich for the train (Gerda gets one too). The departure taxi to the train station took 1/2 the time required to arrive from station to hotel but cost twice as much – go figure. The train wait this time was much shorter but it left on time. We were prepared for the airpressure changes so it didn’t bother us as much – in fact Gerda slept a lot of the way.
Well one thing we found out is our phone works for calling and texting out but not for receiving. It’s some technical glitch that I hope to figure out before our trip is done (most likely on the plane back).
Got into Venice around 2:30pm and dragged our bags around the canal, up and down the grand bridge, over to our hotel “The Carlton on the Grand Canal” – 100m directly across the water (which we haven’t learned to walk on yet), but 400m on land and over the main foot bridge!
Beautiful hotel with a lovely room (smaller than Florence, larger than Rome) overlooking the canal. We got settled in and then wandered for 3 hours before taking a gondola ride. Our gondolier was quite good looking according to Gerda (very Italian) and he even sang while we travelled the backwater and bye ways of the many canals.
Just like in the movies – only better!! Afterwards we had a very nice dinner somewhere in the back “alleys” of Venice (still lost). When the waiters started to batten down the hatches, we decided it was time to “fly the coup” even if we didn’t know where the coup was nor where to fly …….. and it rained – followed by some pouring – and then the cats & dogs fell.
45 minutes later we finally found our hotel ….. soaken wet! We had forgot our umbrella we bought in Rome when it had rained cats & dogs (lots of thunder storms here in late afternoon – early evening). It’s okay, Gerda always wanted to do a “wet t-shirt contest”.
The next day after a fabulous breakfast, we were offered (by the hotel staff) a “free” tour of the Murano Glass Works. We accepted and were taken by water taxi to the island of Murano north of the main island. When we arrived we were greeted by a guide whose name was
Guiseppi but is known as “Happy Pepi” …… he described the origins of the island and glass works. He then introduced us to the master glass artisan. As a demonstration he heated a chunk of silica to 1150C spun, rolled, pinched, pulled and shaped a beautiful glass horse in under three minutes – I have a video of the process,
unfortunately it’s too large to load on this blog. As I mentioned at the beginning of this tour, it was free, but we all know nothing is free …….. so the tour continued through 10 display rooms, each with more stunning glass then the previous. Several hundred euros later and Gerda had three beautiful pieces of jewery – it really was impractical to buy the €5,000 chandelier, it wouldn’t fit in Gerda’s extra bag!
The water taxi picked us up and dropped us off half way between Realto Bridge and San Marco Open Market. Perfect for a small stroll. After several wrong turns we finally found San Marco – what an enormous open air market – anything and everything you could possible want (that you can carry on your person).
The walk back to the hotel went much smoother than the previous night, although we had to watch where we walked.
There are a numerous nooks and crannies one is tempted to explore, just to see what is really down those narrow, dark passages.
A short rest, freshen the pictures & blog and then out again for another stroll, followed with
dinner by the canal at a small restaurant called “ca Leon” was the best we’ve had here in Venice. Superb! such simple ingredients yet so tasteful.
Well early to bed – after watching an italian version of “Mama Mia” – for Gerda. Brian went down to the bar to have a beer and to finish the blog, cause the wifi works better there (yeah right says Gerda).
More to follow ……… tomorrow’s another day.