Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 11: Vacation from our vacation

If I haven’t said it enough yet, I’m sure this time I’ll get my point across. I hate the Italian train system. I can count on one hand the number of hours worth of sleep I received on the overnight ride. And to think if we didn’t have a couchette…
We arrived in Venice at 5:30 in the morning, and waited around at the station until 6 when they opened up the bathroom so we could freshen up. Right after, we left to do an initial check-in at the hotel, even though it was hours before check-in time. Obviously our room wasn’t ready, but since there really wasn’t much we could do in the area, and the laundry mat didn’t open until 8am, we hung out in the hotel lounge. Well, to be more specific, my mom hung out while I slept on one of their plush sofas for an hour or two.
Washing our clothes was number 1 on our list of accomplishments for the day, and number 2 was to mail home a few things we had acquired along the way. That, in a nutshell, took up our morning. Across the street from the post office was a buffet restaurant. It was definitely not a place I normally would have chosen to eat, especially on vacation… but I was hungry, and in no mood to look any further. Thankfully my mom went along with it, even though I’m sure she would have liked to eaten at a better restaurant.

Finally ready to enjoy our day, and after making a final stop at the tourist’s office, we boarded the bus without wheels and floated down a few islands. The isle of San Marco was packed with tourists. It didn’t help that the streets were narrow, and many of the shops were the size of my cubicle at work, but it’s a great island. 

After walking through the maze of shops we found ourselves at the San Marco Square. At that point in time it really didn’t seem very impressive. The sun was blazing and we were excruciatingly hot when not covered by the shade. So, we spent a mere 2 minutes at the square before turning around and set off to discover other shops on the island.

Around 3pm we made a quick trip back to the hotel… a 2.5 hr long “quick” trip. I had often wondered why people would spend their precious hours of travelling inside a room doing absolutely nothing. 

After 11 days of my own travels, I began to understand. I was completely content when my mom said she needed to take a small nap. Our hotel room was very cute and overlooked a non-smelly canal… which is nothing new to me… but my mom enjoyed it a lot.

At 5:30 we were re-energized and ready to pull a late night-er. We sailed back over to the San Marco Island and strolled around a bit. After grabbing a quick calzone for dinner, we were off to the opera. The concert was in an amazing building built in the early 1800’s, the orchestra musicians and singers were dressed in the styles of that era and played baroque music to match. It definitely made you feel like you stepped back in time, even as we left the building after it was over, greeted by the Venetian architecture.
The food shops were about to close for the evening by the time the concert ended, so we rushed over to the nearest gelataria, and each got a scoop. Word from the (now) wise: don’t get yogurt flavored gelato- it’s quite bitter,… although they did succeed in making it taste like natural yogurt.

Not ready to call it a night, we tried to find roads we hadn’t already walked down. Once again, we ended up at the San Marco Square… and this time we absolutely loved it. There are 3 restaurants at the square, and each one had a band playing. We spent nearly 2 hours walking from one side of the square to the other listening to the music.

It was easy to understand why Venice is the city of romance. It’s definitely magical… especially in the evenings.

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