Hey! Our last day in Florence was nice. We relaxed all afternoon, did some shopping, and had dinner at hte same awesome restaurant where we ate the night before. We both had gnocchi with pesto sauce, and it was awesome!!! We split a plate of boiled vegetables, dressed with two kinds of salt and olive oil. Mmmmm. It was all delicious.
The next morning, we left for Venice! We had train reservations for 8:30, so we did not have to get up too early. That was nice. We had a delightful ride on the train with a family from Orlando. The Mom actually worked for the same company my dad is with! It is a small world. We arrived in Venice and checked into our hotel, which was on the mainland very close to the train station. After dropping off our cumbersome luggage, we made our way back to the train station and to the island of Venice. Rose calls it the island of mazes. It was raining, but that did not take away from the awesome feeling of being in Venice. It really is a magical place. The streets are windy, and you never know when you will end up at a dead end or a canal. They are everywhere! The streets are so narrow. It was very hard to read the map, so we gave up on that and followed signs to Rialto bridge. Venice is awesome, but I think the magic actually doesn´t come from the canals as much as from the total lack of cars and motorcycles. The lack of motor noise is so refreshing, especially after spending time in other parts of Italy where the traffic noise is terrible.
We walked slowly toward St. Mark´s square, the center of touristic events in Venice. When we got there, it was still raining, so we decided to take a tour of the Doge Palace to stay dry. The tour was fine. It was pretty long, and interesting to see a palace that had served its purpose for so long. It is too bad that Venice is sinking...it might have lasted even longer!
After that, we walked and walked and got lost in Venice (since I heard that is what you are supposed to do there.) It was a lot of fun. Then, we returned to St. Mark square at night, had the best gelato ever, and enjoyed the square as darkness fell. To truly experience the magic of Venice, you have to be there at night. After all of the cruise ships collected their passangers and sailed away, and the day trippers all left, the place really became a wonderful place to relax. There were several quartets playing outside at cafe´s around the square. The lights came on, you could hear the water, and sit outside and enjoy the gentle breeze. It was absolutely wonderful.
Yes, Venice is our favorite place so far. We thorougly enjoyed our first day there. I will write more about our second day, and hopefully post some pictures, if we can find an Internet cafe. Right now we are at our hostel, and Internet usage is very limited.
So, I´ll sign off for now!