ted & pamela

City of the Sea: Italy Days 11-13

July 18th, 2011 by Pamela
View from the Rialto Bridge

View from the Rialto Bridge

2011-07-10 Italy Day 11: Venice’s Santa Croce, San Polo, Cannaregio

Activities:

  • Early flight from Catania to Venice, delayed due to ash from Mt. Etna’s eruption 2 days ago.
  • Lunch. Bad pasta.
  • Long nap at the Giardini Papadopoli.
  • Wandered northern Venice. Saw some churches, ate some gelato, did some window shopping.
  • Dinner at a rude restaurant with a wonderful canal-side view.
  • Hung out on the Rialto Bridge; took pictures of the Grand Canal.
  • Did some shopping and made our way back to the hotel.

Observations:

  • We have now “experienced more Italian culture” — volcanoes, in addition to strikes, can cause delays.
  • Venice is still pretty warm at midnight. Afternoons are brutal.
  • It really is much cooler in the shade.
  • Next time, we will pick a room closer to the center of town.
  • Streets in Venice are mostly short and not straight, making a labyrinth if you are trying to go anywhere in particular.
  • Shops in Venice seem to be a bit cheaper than shops in Positano and Capri.
  • Food just doesn’t taste as good after having been spoiled by home cooking.
  • Pamela will no longer eat mozzarella cheese that does not come tied in a bow.
  • It’s not cool to try to convince people to sit down at your restaurant. Nothing you say is going to help them make up their mind when you are acting like a car salesman.
  • Our waiter for dinner was particularly rude.
  • Venice is a pretty city.
  • Yay for showers.

Doge's Palace Quad

Doge's Palace Quad, with the Basilica poking up in the background

2011-07-11 Italy Day 12: Venice’s Piazza San Marco

Activities:

  • Breakfast: Croissant at bar by hotel
  • Vaporetto to San Marco
  • Hot. Went to Basilica. Long line in sun. Got gelato instead.
  • Museums–one of Venice history/culture, one archeological, one something else.
  • Lunch in Museum Caffetteria
  • St. Mark’s Basilica
  • Doge’s Palace
  • Granita
  • Campanile
  • Dinner: Pizza
  • Vaporetto partway home. Got too hot; got off and walked rest of way.

Observations:

  • We don’t get up early enough to avoid the crowds.
  • Afternoons in Venice are too hot to be outdoors.
  • The floors in St. Mark’s Basilica are both beautifully decorated with mosaic tile work and decidedly NOT flat. We wonder why.
  • The rest of the basilica seems to have a more Byzantine style to it in comparison with the Vatican.
  • We manage to always be getting kicked out at closing time. Left the basilica as it closed at 5; got chased out of the Doge’s Palace as it closed at 7; left the campanile after it closed at 9.
  • I’m glad we didn’t take the elevator down from the campanile that we’d planned to, because right after it left, one of the bells started ringing and put on a terrific display.
  • Water taxis are only cool if they aren’t so crowded that you can’t breathe. The vaporettos along the Grand Canal need to be running at least twice as often.
  • People in Venice are rude. I definitely got clapped at like a dog by a shop keeper who tried to shoo me away from his window that I was blocking, and he had the nerve to later ask if I wanted to buy something because I dallied. I was actually blocking his window less when I was sitting down, but couldn’t seem to find the desire to leave after he made me stand up and so was now blocking it more.
  • The pigeons covering St. Mark’s Square seem to disappear sometime during the evening.
  • The water in the canals here seems to be dirtier and leave steps covered in algae, unlike the crystal-clear water that we went swimming in in Marina di Patti.
  • Granita is good for cooling off.
  • Half a bottle of wine seems to be a good amount for the both of us. We still have yet to find any amazingly good pizza in Italy.
  • Ted is fond of skirts and heels. Pamela doesn’t understand girls who walk around the city all day in horribly-uncomfortable looking heels, but is glad she was wearing a new skirt instead of pants today.
  • Too many places say no photography, for no apparent reason.
  • No one checks to see whether you paid for a ticket on the vaporettos, similar to the busses in Rome and Positano. We have no idea how they actually make money.
  • They also weren’t being to anal about enforcing the dress code at the Basilica. Perhaps they were taking pity on people due to it being so hot.
  • Pamela’s knowledge on cheese and on Catholic art and symbolism is apparently lacking, it would seem based on her lack of ability to answer Ted’s questions.
  • Pamela is undecided whether super-fancy churches should stop being used as churches due to the constant distraction of people walking in to see them, or whether it’s cool that they still can be used as churches.
  • St. Mark’s Piazza started flooding from holes in the middle at high tide. Weird. It is also decidedly NOT rectangular.

Master Glass Artisan at Work

Master Glass Artisan at Work

2011-07-12 Italy Day 13: Venice’s Murano

Activities:

  • Post Office: Mail postcard to Liz.
  • Coop: Buy carton of juice and 2 yogurts for breakfast.
  • Vaporetto to the separate island of Murano.
  • Lunch: Pizza.
  • Guided tour of Glass Museum.
  • Studio demonstration of glass sculpting.
  • Shopping for Murano glass sculptures for the house.
  • Vaporetto back to hotel.
  • Shopping & Dinner (ravioli) in neighborhood near hotel.
  • Stay up late repacking everything smaller for flight home tomorrow.

Observations:

  • “Cereal” flavored yogurt is not at all the same as having yogurt with granola in it. Yuck.
  • The default type of water seems to be carbonated. Not sure why they don’t like straight water.
  • We have never once been given a spoon with which to eat our pasta.
  • There do not appear to be any mammals living in Venice besides the humans.
  • There is a decided lack of diversity in restaurants. Not sure why no one has thought to try opening a restaurant serving international cuisine (although we’ve seen sushi once or twice).
  • Glasswork is hot. Furnace. Bad in summer. But super cool to watch.
  • Glass artisans work FAST, even with details.
  • The water surrounding Venice is not so good for dipping feet into. The steps down/anything touching it is covered in algae, and the water itself is green and dirty-looking if you look too closely.
  • We still don’t like mosquitoes, of any nationality.
  • While all the toilets in Italy seem to come with a bidet, none of them came with toilet seat covers.

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