Venice: city on the water

Venice Travel Blog

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me & the Tekes

I’ll just start off by saying that Venice is definitely the most beautiful place that I have ever been to. Although it is very touristy (I heard nearly as much English there from Americans than I did Italian) and expensive, there is no other place like Venizia. But I’ll start the recap from the beginning.

            We spent the first day in Padua, going to the churches and exploring the small town. It was beautiful, despite being caught in an afternoon downpour. But the best thing was, we found a great restaurant right across the street from our hotel. You probably wouldn’t think it, but it is sometimes difficult to get good pasta in Italy for a cheap price.

the Grand Canal
There is pizza and panini everywhere, but pasta is generally only served in nicer restaurants under the “primi” menu (first course). At this place however, they had great pasta for about 5 euros, not to mention liter pitchers of wine for about the same price. It was also fun to go to the grocery store and get lunch, where meat, cheese, bread (or crackers), and wine won’t kill your wallet (I even found a 1 euro bottle of red wine)! We spent the next two days in Venice, and we had to get there by train since it is so difficult by bus.

            The first day was great, as we explored the city and met up at a couple of museums and churches. It is almost unfathomable that they built this city on this chain of islands; the engineering behind it must be amazing.

better view of the church
It is quite a challenge trying to navigate the city by walking, as street names change by the block, and you have to find the right bridges to cross at certain places. Many of us bought day passes for the “vaporetto,” which is like a water bus that runs down the Grand Canal and stops every so often. That day was fun, as we found nice places to eat for lunch and dinner, checked out San Marco (St. Mark’s square) with all of its pigeons, stopped at an Irish pub for a few drinks, and even rode on the famous gondola for about 100 euro a boat. Split between 6 people, it was about 17 per person, but well worth it as it was a beautiful ride at dusk through the canals. Probably the funniest thing during the day was when I found myself sitting at a street café having drinks with professor Lewcock (our 80-year old British art teacher; the dude is a badass), and Sally, one of our trip leaders.
on teh gondola
Chilling with Lewcock is so much fun, and hearing his stories (the guy is extremely well traveled) is awesome.I think I’m also picking up Italian a little faster than I did German.

            The second day started off quite interesting, as we soon found out that all trains to Venice had been blocked and would not run. Ironically enough, we have good old George Bush to thank for that. Apparently, at many stations across the nation, many Bush protesters were boarding trains to Rome, where they were going to protest Bush and his audience with the Pope and prime minister. After the police refused to let the trains of people go into Rome, the protesters got out of the trains and sat on the lines, blocking nearly all of the train traffic that afternoon.

Rachel is not enjoying this
Trains did start running again, but we were able to bus in that day. It’s pretty funny when you think of how Bush’s tour of Europe has paralleled our journey thus far. We seem to be one step ahead of him every time, as we just barely missed the protests in Prague and Berlin for the G8 summit. But anyway, back to Venice.

The second day featured a bit more exploring, but the best part was probably the concert we attended that night, which was a chamber string ensemble known as the Interpretati Veneziani. They are wonderful, and I would describe them as almost a rouge group of musicians who are dedicated to playing purely Venetian music to its fullest extent. The best part is their cellist, who looks like Johnny Depp and played perhaps the most animated cello I have ever seen. It was pretty dang funny watching him, and he did a crazy face-melting solo at the end. I also did a little bit of shopping, as there are vendor everywhere trying to haggle with you. After the bus ride back, I was definitely pleased with the city. Definitely the most beautiful thing we’ve seen so far!

Amanda says:
I was just there the week between Christmas and New Years this year - I guess it's already been about 5 months now? I loved reading this, it really took me back!!
Posted on: Jun 11, 2007
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me & the Tekes
me & the Tekes
the Grand Canal
the Grand Canal
better view of the church
better view of the church
on teh gondola
on teh gondola
Rachel is not enjoying this
Rachel is not enjoying this
on the vaporetto
on the vaporetto
a gondolier
a gondolier
the girls
the girls
a gondola
a gondola
nice pic
nice pic
me being goofy
me being goofy
goofy again
goofy again
beautiful church
beautiful church
me, Michael, and DeWitt
me, Michael, and DeWitt
floating apartments
floating apartments
St. Marks square
St. Mark's square
pigeons!
pigeons!
St. Marks
St. Mark's
the square again
the square again
more pigeons
more pigeons
some girl getting attacked
some girl getting attacked
statue of liberty in Venice?
statue of liberty in Venice?
our gondolier
our gondolier
the Rialto bridge
the Rialto bridge
nighttime ride
nighttime ride
thats me
that's me
Catholics dont play
Catholics don't play
Venice
photo by: asturjimmy