I think I have fallen in love with Italy...Venice is AMAZING! I.absolutely.love.it. Not much else to say. I should just post tons of pictures!! It is by far my favorite city in Italy.
We stayed at the wonderful Hilton Molino Stucky (thanks to Priceline). It was off the main island so the hotel had a shuttle that would take us over into San Marco Square. It was really nice to get away from the main island and all the people. It also had a Skyline Bar where you could have drinks looking towards the Grand Canal and San Marco. Nick and I both had a great sangria (thanks to Adean :) - who had one while she was there and said it was a must). And I agree.
View from the bar
The first day we spent seeing the normal tourist spots. We went to the Rialto Bridge and took some pictures. Spent some time in San Marco square. It was really, really crowded...apparently there were two cruise ships docked that day and it just added to the masses of people. We also went inside the Palazzo Ducale (i.e. Doge's Palace)...the residence to the doge of Venice. Impressive building. Extremely large and decadant. Nick and I both agreed that we liked the inside of Doge's Palace the best but still liked the outside of Madrid's Royal Palace - both impressive buildings in their own way.
On the Rialto Bridge
Typical view in Venice
Inside Doge's Palace
Really neat picture with the shadow of the buildings
We took a stroll down the waterway where we saw all the gondolas. Nick and I, for some reason, had no interest in taking one. They were way overpriced anyways! Before we started the trip I knew my souvenirs would be artwork - it's just what I wanted. The best gift Nick ever gave me was a watercolor painting from Venice. It's just really breathtaking - you feel like you are in Venice when looking at it. So I knew when I went to Venice I wanted another painting. I even thought it would be pretty cool if we found the same artist. Not likely considering that was 5 years ago...
Would you know - we did! Can you believe it?! We were walking down the waterway looking at all of the artist paintings and came across this one stand with beautiful watercolor paintings. Nick and took a closer look and realized that one of his paintings looked an awful lot like the one I had. And then Nick says, "he looks really familiar - I think that's him." And it was. Unbelievable! His paintings are gorgeous and he is just the nicest man. He has been in Venice selling his artwork for 37 years! We told him our story and he actually said that the same thing had happened twice that day. He has a following that's for sure. We ended up taking a look at the paintings for a while and walked away with TWO! Nick keeps saying he has no idea where we are going to put all this artwork in our tiny NYC apartment...but I will find a way!
Picture with the artist (will have to post the photo Nick has with him 5 years ago as well as the paintings when we get home)
The next day we had a tour with a American guide, Mike, who took us on a "Backstreet Tour" of Venice. It really was a great tour. It got you off the tourist path and into everyday Venetian life. Which was practically deserted...there were hardly any people on the streets. But the streets were beautiful and all the bridges/waterways were fascinating. It really is hard to believe there are no cars, bikes, roller blades, scooters, etc. It's all boats/gondolas. A really different way of living.
One of the many cute streets in Venice - beautiful wood bridge that led to a private home
Another great picture...
The last day we took a tour of the clock tower - really neat. The clock tower showed the time, date, and the moon phase. We were actually inside when it changed times and were able to see the gears shifting. Pretty cool. And there was a great view from the top of San Marco square and the Grand Canal.
The mechanics of the Clock Tower
At the top of the Clock Tower (with the Bell Tower in the background)
We also spent some time on the outer islands of Venice - Burano and Murano. Both amazing in their own right. We first visited Burano - all the wonderful colored houses. Quite the picturesque town. We were able to get some great photos of the town. It's also where the Italian lace is made. You could watch the old ladies sitting in their chair outside the shop just knitting away. We took a bus over to Murano and saw all the hand blown glass. Quite impressive what they can do with that. Some beautiful pieces. Nick and I just spent and hour or two walking around the town visiting all the shops.
Loved all the colorful houses!
Aren't we cute :)!
Murano glass - pretty amazing
Venice was everything we could have asked for. It really was the highlight in Italy for us. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there. Definitely a place we will be back to visit again!
Italy is now completed...we had a great time! There have been some wonderful memories made. Now it's on to the next country....Switzerland. Somewhere Nick hasn't been. We are both really excited because we have heard great things about Lucerne.
The trip is nearing it's end so we are just trying to enjoy every minute we can!
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