St Mark's Square
Jackie above the square one last time. This is from balcony of the Basilica
Monday, May 26, 2008
Venice to Florence, Italy
We woke up Monday ready to see one more site in Venice and then hit the road for Florence. After a nice breakfast on the patio of our hotel, we headed for St. Mark’s Basilica, a short walk from our hotel. This cathedral is full of mosaics, St. Mark’s bones, a treasury full of valuables taken over the years by Venetian raiders, a set of bronze horses and views of the Grand Canal and the plaza.
Also, in the church was the Golden Altarpiece. It was stunning with 15 huge rubies, 300 emeralds, 1500 pearls, and other jewels. We were not allowed to take photos, but we will remember this for a long time.
That completed our tour of Venice. We checked out and took the ferry back to the train station. We took the train across the causeway to the parking lot where we left our car. We had found a secure lot at the Best Western Hotel Bologna, in Mestre. It cost us 10 euro/day, a bargain over the rates on Venice. The train across the causeway was only 2 euros/each.
We got in and programmed the car’s GPS for Florence.
St Mark's Square
Tom says goodbye to the square
It immediately announced that the location we had programmed was in a restricted zone. We knew that but figured that we would just drive to the hotel and find out if we could leave it at the hotel or have to drive out to a non-restricted area. We found once we arrived that we were okay to leave the car in the lot while we were here. Hooray!
Now it was time to leave for Florence. Fortunately, we have a very nice GPS in the new car. We programmed the device for our Best Western hotel in Florence and took off. It took us a little over three hours to make the trip from Mestre. The GPS brought us right to the front door. That’s the good news. The bad news is the hotel is in a restricted area for cars and hefty fines can be issued for entering without a permit. We chose to ignore the warnings from the GPS and went ahead. Then, upon arrival, we could see no parking. Jackie went inside to find out what to do. She returned and said we are to enter the ‘blue gate,’ which I did. It took us to
View from Basilica
This view is back towards the Grand Canal
an underground garage…not a parking lot. She returned and found another blue gate nearby with the Best Western sign. So, we got out and parked in a good spot just below our sixth story room.
As with everyday so far, we were beat when we finally settled into our room. But we were also in need of clean clothes. Jackie asked where we could wash them and got directions. It appeared on the map that she was provided to be just around the corner. Wrong! It was about ½ mile, well beyond what we thought. Then it gets better. There is a guy inside mopping the floor. We start trying to read the directions, which were there in four languages, including English. Not our English, but some form of it.
The smallest bill that I had was a 20 euro. Jackie found that she had a 10. The machine needed 3.5 euros to wash and another to dry. So, we found the pay box and entered the 10 euros, before reading the fine print. That’s right; it said use “Correct Amount Only!” We were expecting to have change paid out. Thus we paid $16US to wash and dry our white
Our last view from the balcony
underwear. Well, it still turned out to be cheaper than having it done by the hotel.
After this lesson in Italian, we returned had a short nap and then went for dinner. We found one of Rick Steve’s recommendations and were very pleased. It was a nice outdoor setting. We had about a thirty minute delay getting a table. In fact, I almost had a fight with an Englishman that arrived just as a party was leaving the table we wanted. The man told the waiter that he had reservations and wanted that table. I said wait a minute, you told us we could have the table if we waited. The man’s wife yelled, “We had a reservation” again. Without moving from the table, I stared at the waiter and then at the Englishman, then they both agreed that Jackie and I could sit wherever we wanted. They were so nice.
We got to sleep late again. I had purchased some time on the internet but did not have time to use until the next morning.
Cheers, Tom and Jackie
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