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Europe » Italy » Veneto » Venice
May 15th 2012
Published: May 15th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Goodbye Verona. My parents had purchased a package of several train passes for all of us, and there was some stress to make sure they were activated correctly, and so we hustled and bustled to get to the station in time for the complications and rudeness one associates with public service employees. After a hitch or two we were actually able to catch an earlier train. Our first class ticket included a weensie little espresso and a bag of cookies. I love train travel. Much more humane than planes. No one in a cheap polyester suit ever paws my abdomen to see if I'm wearing a seatbelt while I'm sleeping on a train.



After an hour we arrived in Venice and it was hard to see the city with the rolling waves of obese Americans spilling out of the cruise ships. Within minutes though the crowds had thinned out and we rumbled along with our rolly suitcases to our apartment. The owner gave us a tour and the apartment proves to be top notch, including a bathroom door that actually makes patrons less visible and audible. I also have my own room in this one, which is delightful. Our house is situated next to a beautiful church and a rose garden, and is a nice quiet part of town, where bloated Americans dare not stray.



Out for a 15km day-long walk to see the sites. And churches. We actually bought church punch cards that give us access to 16 churches for 10 euro (most of the churches charge 3-6 euros per visit). If I fill up my church punch card, I get a pony.



Venice is incredible. There are little areas dense with dense tourists, but for the most part it's peaceful. It's particularly peaceful because there aren't any traveling machines here. Everyone walks or takes human powered boats, so it's very quiet, and you don't have to worry about your elbow getting shattered by some Italian stallion on a Vespa. The modes of transport in Venice are thus: The classical Venetian boat is the gondola, although it is now mostly used for tourists, or for weddings, funerals, or other ceremonies. Many gondolas are lushly appointed with crushed velvet seats and Persian rugs. Less well-known is the smaller sandolo. The main transportation means are motorised waterbuses (vaporetti), which ply regular routes along the major canals and between the city's islands, and private boats. The only gondolas still in common use by Venetians are the traghetti, foot passenger ferries crossing the Grand Canal at certain points without bridges. Azienda Consorzio Trasporti Veneziano (ACTV) is the name of the public transport system in Venice. It combines land transportation, with buses, and canal travel, with water buses (vaporetti). In total, there are 25 routes that connect the city. This is almost as many routes as churches.



There are also many beautiful flowers, which were thoroughly smelled. I spotted a flowering tree I really liked but I wasn't tall enough to smell it so I jumped. This is risky on cobblestones and wedge saddles, but I was rewarded by a delightful fragrance that turns out after laborious research to be a type of mock orange. Googling to try to figure out flowers is like googling to try and figure out a rash. Color, size, shape, distribution, smell, presence or absence of pustules.



Lunch was lasagna at "the only decent restaurant in Venice". My mother lived in Venice for one week for school, and this is her fourth trip, so fortunately
Gelato!!!  Gelato!!!  Gelato!!!

I had the one third from the left on the top, dad had top left
we had the inside scoop that Venice is one of the few places in Italy where you can't go somewhere and assume the food will be cheap and good. So that you have the inside scoop too, the restaurant is called Osteria da Ribola. The appetizer fish sample was heaven.



I really like how Italian people, at least the ones in Verona and Venice, come out in the evening before dinner and frolic in the public squares. It was really nice to sit in the sun, sip wine and eat pizza and watch children kick soccer balls into each other's faces.



A few notable counts from today:

1 gelato

3 churches

3 punch priests. Punch Priest is a game I invented where I get to punch my father every time I spot a priest (other than in a church). Haven't though of one for nuns yet. No sister to punch. My father is baffled and annoyed by this game.



My parents have walked their old weary bones to nubs today, so we're treating our evening pizza/dodging of soccer balls as dinner. Tomorrow it's supposed to rain, and you know what has really good shelter from rain? CHURCHES.


Additional photos below
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16th May 2012

Wow!
Your trip sounds amazing so far. Given how busy life is, I think this is the closest I will get to a European vacation, so I appreciate your detailed writing (think descriptive video for the blind). Your pictures are lovely too, it's hard to imagine that this actually exists outside of art books and Dan Brown novels. Thank you for writing, I will eagerly await my next vicarious adventure!
18th May 2012

Good luck fitting the pony in your carry-on!

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