Grand Canals and Dirty Birds

Venice Travel Blog

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From the Rialto at night

Sorry it has taken me so long to post, I have been busy trying to get the pictures from all of these trips. Anyway, a few weeks ago, my roommates Jeff and Mitch, and their friend Bunny, and I decided to go to Venice. We didn't really have a plan but that seemed like something that we should do on a boring weekend. After arriving on an uneventful train ride we arrived in the city and proceeded to find a place to stay for the night. After calling about 25 hotels, no joke, we finally found one that had an open room for all of us. The only problem was that I had a single below the other three of my friends, and it was a smoker’s room. The smell was terrible and I asked if there was anything else that they could do. The solution was to put in a few more of the air fresheners, which actually did the trick.

Rialto in the early morning
If anything it had a pleasant aroma of mint and orange. Anyways, we had heard about a restaurant that we had to go to and so we got out our map and began to walk around the city. One of the best things that you can possibly do in Venice is getting lost. As some of you know I am not the best with directions. Walking around Venice at night without many street names began to be confusing from time to time. However, we eventually found the place we were looking for and had an amazing meal of cuttlefish in squid ink sauce with baked polenta, a local delicacy of the city. The restaurant was right on the water near the Rialto Bridge. This was an amazing spectacle at night.
Canal Grande
After our meal we went out to San Marco, where we saw a four piece orchestra playing a few songs from the Four Seasons. With a glass of wine in hand and the basilica on one side and the piazza on the other, I was a happy camper. At this point I want to point out that Venice was both the most tourist filled place and the most desolate place that I have ever visited in Italy. At 2:00 the small side walks and narrow streets are filled with people from wall to wall. After around 10:00 everyone leaves.  The city dies. Literally, there is no one to be seen, and if you do, it actually throws you off. We eventually found the only bar in the entire city that was open at this hour in the Piazza San Marco and after enjoying the night we called it a night only to wake up early the next day so we could actually see the city, during the day.
Just another Gondola
One thing that I found funny was all of the spray paint that told you the direction of San Marco or the Rialto. We watched a large number of people follow these only to return after it only led them down a dark alley that eventually dead ended. We went back to the Piazza San Marco only to find the trade mark of Venice, pigeons. They were everywhere, the highest concentration of any animal I have seen. These birds were so used to people and to being hand fed that they would land on your arms even where they was nothing in it…you would be walking along and one would land on your shoulder or on the top of your head. It was disturbing how such a disgusting could be so entertaining. Either way we had fun with our feathered friends, and eventually made our way over to the other side of the city to see the Academia.
Traffic
 Again we got lunch and decided to stop and grab lunch. Again, it was right on the water with a nice view of the industrial port a little farther down the way. By the way, the gondolas are exactly what you picture, they are on every little canal and you really can’t go more that a few “blocks” before you cross another one. After our lunch we were right next to Harry’s Bar and decided to have a drink at the home of the original belini and the hang out of Ernest Hemmingway. Not worth the cost but something that had to be done. Another thing that Venice is known for is its glass, which was sold in every window you passed. There were some amazing statues and other glass objects that were stunning to say the least. We then went back to San Marco and decided to go to the Palace of Doge.
Quartet in San Marco
By far the most extravagant place we had seen in Venice. Their private church was the San Marco basilica. The family of Doge thought that they could buy their way into heaven and that motto was evident in their private entrance to the chapel and the family’s apartment which many of the rooms had huge fireplaces or were gilded from ceiling to floor. After walking across the Bridge of Sighs (the bridge where the last ray of sunlight would be seen for many condemned prisoners, hence the sighs), we had to make our way to the train station to catch the last one out for the day. All in all, Venice was the most unique and beautiful place that I have ever seen.

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From the Rialto at night
From the Rialto at night
Rialto in the early morning
Rialto in the early morning
Canal Grande
Canal Grande
Just another Gondola
Just another Gondola
Traffic
Traffic
Quartet in San Marco
Quartet in San Marco
Our view from lunch
Our view from lunch
Birds!
Birds!
Gilded rooms galore
Gilded rooms galore
San Marco
San Marco
Best sign ever
Best sign ever
A little pit stop
A little pit stop
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photo by: asturjimmy