Saturday, November 3, 2012

A City Built on Water

The day started at 6:30am when we got our wake up call. We got things ready for the day and then Thomas went down for breakfast and I stayed in the room doing some research for a few things I wanted to make sure to do today.

Venice Waking Up
Then we met the group in the lobby and we all walked to the train station. We validated our tickets (the ones Christopher had already purchased for us) and then boarded a train. It was a quick ride from Mestre to Venice and we all got off the train and gathered outside the station so that Christopher could let us know the plans. We took a leisurely walk from the Ferrovia to the Rialto Bridge. It was a nice early morning walk. We got to see the locals setting up their market stands and opening their shops. The smells in the air were pungent. Bread and pastries baking, breakfast being cooked, coffee and fish permeated the air everywhere. Once we reached the bridge Christopher gave us a little break to go to the bathroom and then go to the bridge for some wonderful views.
View from our Gondola

Then our walk continued onto St. Mark’s Square. We arrived there and found our way to the gondolas. This morning we were scheduled for a ride in the canals. Thomas and I rode with Mark, Sue, Dave and Deanne. It was a pleasant thirty minute ride through the canals of Venice – I found it to be quiet and peaceful and we got to see a whole other side of the city. When the ride was done some of the group were going on a tour to see a glass blowing factory. We opted out of that and we headed off on our own. The Castello sestiere of Venice is where we headed. We had some plans to do some letterboxing and you can read about that at Letterboxing in a Maze. But we also looked in some shops and just enjoyed wandering. We found plenty of back streets and little courtyards. For lunch we stopped at a small little place called Osteria Al Pozzo Roverso and we shared a prosciutto pizza and some spaghetti with meat sauce. After a nice relaxing lunch we started our wanderings again. Along the way out of the Castello we planted a letterbox and then headed back to St. Mark’s and then back to the Rialto Bridge. It was the same here as in the Castello – we wandered back streets, did a little shopping and even found a letterbox.
Window Shopping

From the bridge we walked to Campo San Polo and then continued to the Dorsoduro sestiere headed to San Trovaso. Again we were in this area to hide a letterbox and to just wander. The area seemed to be more run down and a lot quieter than most of the places we had been today. We spent a little time here and looked for the boatyard where they make and repair gondolas. The place is closed to the public but we thought we might be able to see something from over the canal. We think we found the building but it was all closed up. After we hid the letterbox we continued our exploration of Venice.

Madonna
From San Trovaso we wandered along the streets and eventually arrived near the Accademia. We did a little shopping for postcards and then crossed the Grand Canal into the western part of the San Marco sestiere. We ended up in Campo San Samuel near the Palazzo Grassi. We debated taking the water bus up the Grand Canal to the Ferrovia but in the end decided to walk as we were enjoying navigating the streets. We backtracked to the Accademia to cross the Grand Canal (it was here or at the Rialto). Then we started following signs for the Ferrovia (sometimes they were there and sometimes they weren’t and we just made our own way). We stopped to look into shops and to explore little alleyways along the way. We also decided not to sit and have dinner so we stopped into a pastry shop and bought some snacks for the hotel room. Eventually we made our way to the Ferrovia and checked the monitor. We found a train leaving in about 10 minutes on track 11. So we validated our tickets and boarded the train. Thankfully we paid attention to Christopher and we didn’t get off the train when it stopped at the small station. Our stop was the next one and we got off the train and started our way to the hotel. We got sidetracked a little because we could see a lighted fountain up the street a little ways. So we decided to walk to the fountain. It was a pleasant evening for a little walk and it wasn’t that far. I took a couple of pictures and then we made our way to the hotel. It was 6:00pm when we got into the room and the first thing we did was shower. Then we had some snacks and I did some blogging. We had a great day in Venice and I wish we were here longer because there are so many little areas I would have liked to explore. But alas, we leave tomorrow headed to Lake Como, which means our trip will come to an end in just a couple of days.
Fountain in Mestre

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