Saturday, April 25, 2015

Italy: Venice

I don't even know where to start. It's been such a long day.

Kate's day started at 5am, when she awoke from a HARD and much needed sleep, after 30 hours of awake time. I slept until 9 or so...heh, sorry Kate. We had a lovely breakfast in (what felt like) the basement of Hotel Regina in Milan. Everything was good. We each got our own pot of coffee with our own little jugs of warmed milk, croissants with Nutella inside and fruit. The silver wear was even nice. We loved it.

Then we checked out of the hotel and took a taxi to the train station. Having 3 hours until our departure, we walked around the block and stopped for lunch. I had a tomato salad, which was basically a bowl of the best tomatoes and some fresh basil (oil and vinegar to taste). Kate ordered ravioli which was great. We took our time and enjoyed the restaurant, people watching, etc. 

At the Milano Centrale Train station, we boarded on platform number 8, carriage number 8 (lucky number 8....if we were Chinese). We had seats facing each other with a table in between, which was great. I faced forward, Kate backwards. It was only a 2 1/2 hour train ride, but we took turns napping for 10-15 minutes at a time. And then we pulled into Venice. With water on both sides of the rails, we knew we were getting close.

There are no cars in Venice. No scooters. For some reason, I was thinking we'd take a taxi to our hotel, but then realised...nope, no taxis. Well, there are water taxis but those can be expensive. Kate, being the well traveled genius that she is, took us to the visitor's information room at the train station and got directions (and water bus tickets) to the hotel.

First of all, there were people EVERYWHERE, so when we walked out of the train stations and saw The Grand Canal, I was a little overwhelmed. With people buzzing back, forth, front and behind us, we found our way to the right dock and boarded the number 1 Water Bus (it's a boat like a people ferry). Very slowly, it made it's way down the Grand Canal. We were looking for San Silvestro, but it must've skipped that stop, so we exited at S Toma and started walking through a labyrinth back towards our hotel, which we'd seen right on the water at a Gondola stand as we'd passed by on the bus.

Having had not much for lunch, and it being 6pm, my food window (my window of "must eat now or be cranky") was wide open. So, we stopped and had pizza and pasta. I had a whole plate of pasta and 1/2 of Kate's pizza. It was great. 

Finally, we checked into our hotel. Hotel Marconi (which I am calling Hotel Macaroni, for fun). Someone shows us to our room. Try to picture it:

We're in the lobby, there are stairs up to the first floor on our right. The guide takes one of our bags and leads at breakneck pace up the stairs, a right down a small ramp and a hallway, then at the end of the hall we make a right and another right again with an immediate right down a set of stairs (at this point I laugh because he is BOOKIN' it, we're barely keeping up AND because we went up a flight of stairs to go in a circle and back down a different set of stairs - I said, "The Penrose Stairs"). Then at the bottom of the stairs, he says, "The breakfast room" which is basically an empty restaurant that we walk right through the middle of and make a right at the end of the room, passed some couches and into what looks like an emergency exit or an elevator, but what is actually our room. Room number 1. It was a hilarious maze, but fits right in here in Venice.

We drop off our stuff and go for a walk over the Rialto Bridge, through some laneways. Kate has the best gelato I've ever tasted. We try to make our way logically around, but deadens surprise us and I feel like I'm in a labyrinth of epic proportion, all the while knowing the water is on our left, but how to get to it can be a mystery. Then we take pictures like these.

There are Masquerade (Mask) shops through Venice that sell cute things like this
A random alleyway in Venice at 9pm

This is a picture, from the bridge, of our hotel
Afterwards we grabbed a table on the water at the restaurant next to our hotel and had tiramisu and drinks. 

I am really looking forward to tomorrow, mostly because I can't wait to eat again. I wish I had two stomachs.