Ciao to Claudia and Venezia :( and my first run in Italy :)

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June 26th 2011
Published: June 27th 2011
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1: Venezia Time-Warp! 96 secs
View from Ponto RialtoView from Ponto RialtoView from Ponto Rialto

The Canale Grande... gotta love it.
Ok, so I was right about the fact that we wouldn’t have any kind of internet service last night in Lido… so I didn’t post the little miniature entry yesterday for nothing! So here goes two days worth of blog entry for you! Buckle up, because it might be a long one… (I hope not… that means I’d have to type it all… 😊 )

So we left the house and started to drive to where Claudia was going to be dropped off for her wind-sailing camp (or something like that). I thought it was pretty cool that she gets to do that thing, and Elena tells me that she’s actually really good at it. The only sad thing about it was her camp lasts longer than 4 days… until after I return to the United States. So when we at last got there and she was taken to her lodging by the counselors, it was final goodbyes between Claudia and I. It was kind of sad… because I had a great deal of fun with her and it really started to hit me that it’s already been a month since I left the states and now I can count
View of Ponto RialtoView of Ponto RialtoView of Ponto Rialto

Not the most happy picture of it, because right now it looks a little... blue.
on one hand the number of days until I return. But she didn’t make much of a big deal out of it. Just the custom kiss-kiss on the cheek thing that the Italians do sometimes when they greet each other or say goodbye to each other. What was the last thing I told her before she left? “Ciao, pazza!” (Bye, crazy!) It was then when I kind of had the feeling that this wouldn’t be the last time I’ll see this family… because I’m set on coming back to Italy and stopping by for a visit someday! (It’s nice to dream, huh?)

Once we left the camp location, we began the long haul over to Venezia. The drive wasn’t too exciting… except for the fact that Nico has a need for speed and was passing cars that were passing other cars while another car is approaching in the opposite direction, giving me multiple strokes. That, I told myself again, is one of the reasons I WILL NOT miss Italy! (I can’t wait to drive my own car again, safely, in two-laned, wide streets)

We drove the car on the ferry and rode it all the way to Lido
Hotel DanieliHotel DanieliHotel Danieli

Beautiful architecture in the lobby of this luxurious hotel! I'd love to stay here, that's for sure!
(the same story I told the first time we came to Lido di Venezia, a couple weeks back. For the whole story, you’ll have to return to that blog entry! No need to repeat). We drove the car to the condo complex the Sasso’s have a condo in, got settled, and after snacking on white peaches and plums while reading Mickey Mouse comic books and The Jungle, I went down to join Nico at the cabana on the spiaggia (beach). I brought my running stuff down, just in case I wanted to go for a quick run, but I also knew that we were going to go into Venezia, and I didn’t want to risk them deciding not to because I was out on a run when they wanted to go. I know it sounds weird, but that’s how it feels sometimes! So, I stuck to reading my book and doing crossword puzzles and resolved to go running in the morning, when it was a tad bit cooler and with less people around to point and laugh at my highlighter-yellow running clothes.

Nico and I headed up to the condo after a while and rested there until the pizza
San MarcoSan MarcoSan Marco

I wish my camera could take better pictures and you could see all of the detail and brilliance in this basilica!
was delivered (the first pizza that I’ve had here that we’ve actually shared. The family sized pizza was, no joke, 2.5 feet in diameter.) After being all good and fed, we initiated Operation Venezia. (Ok, we didn’t really call it that, but I was going to say we began to “move out” of the condo which made me think of Mission: Impossible or something). We stopped by a lottery ticket place where we purchased tickets for the boats that would take us to and from Venezia (walking is kind of difficult) and then drove to the main station. Kind of like a main bus station or a Grand Central Station, but with boats.

We boarded a boat when it finally came and propelled ourselves to Venezia paddling with our feet and blowing into really long straws stuck into the water. (Ok, not really) We got off of the boat at the San Marco’s stop, and only stayed there a moment when we took a quick look inside “Hotel Danieli”—one of the most beautiful hotels in the world! (In my opinion). We then caught another bus-boat that took us on a ride through the Canale Grande (Grand Canal), which was
Another shot of San MarcosAnother shot of San MarcosAnother shot of San Marcos

This is a side view, as you might be able to tell. The humongous piazza is on the left, and the building with the Gutenberg Bible is on the left side facing the piazza from the side closest to us. Cool eh?
really spectacular at night, with all of the buildings lit up (and if they weren’t lit from the outside, some indoor lights would be on, allowing us to look into some of the buildings from the outside!)

When we got off again, we were right next to the Ponto Rialto (Rialto Bridge)—one of the most famous bridges in Venezia. It was originally made in wood, and there are paintings depicting the Ponto Rialto that date back hundreds and hundreds of years. Finally it was rebuilt in stone, which is what stands today. It’s really a beautiful and spectacular bridge to see, and the view from on top of it is pretty amazing as well (unfortunately my camera is an ancient brick and can’t take very good night-time photos, so sorry about that). Also, it’s a shame that vandalists think that spray paint adds to the awesomeness of the bridge. That’s probably because they’ve been sniffing too much of the paint they’re using.

We boarded another bus-boat which we took all the way back to San Marco’s, which is an extremely famous church that has an enormous, breathtaking piazza right outside. Everything about this structure is unique… both within
Me and Lido di VeneziaMe and Lido di VeneziaMe and Lido di Venezia

Elena took this decent photo of me and the beach. I'm pretty hot in this photo. I would know. I was there. And the sun was blazing.
itself and compared to anything else I’ve seen. Every column seemed to be made of different types of rock, and every type of marble you could think of was used to build it as well. Even the buildings that surrounded the other three sides of the piazza were a wonder, with one containing a museum that holds the first printed book in the world—the Gutenberg Bible. Unfortunately, San Marco’s can only been looked at during the day and with either reservations (I think is what Elena was trying to convey) or a really long wait in line. Also, the museum seemed to be closed. So, all the more reasons to come back someday!

(By the way, Ernest Hemingway used to live in Venezia, and he wrote many of his books in a certain café along the Canale Grande… and I was thrilled when Elena told me which one it was right when we were passing it! It’s amazing how much history any place has here in Italy… if only one knew every single crazy and interesting fact about every single building…)

We did a bit more walking and just taking in the sights (me taking it in a

This was inside the Hotel Excelsior... I had to take a photo because it looks just like me as Truffaldino!(except the mask and hat). He's got the slapstick and everything! (see the photo in the first blog entry to compare)
lot more than the other three. It’s not terribly new to them) until we boarded the bus-boat once more and headed for Lido. It was a nice ride with a pleasant breeze… but ruined by the unfortunate luck of us having right next to us bending over the railing of the boat a guy whose stomach didn’t handle the motion of the water well, if you know what I mean.

Day 2 in Lido di Venezia—the 26th of June.

So I ended up waking up later that I wanted to to go on my run… around 9 o’clock. Actually I woke up a few times before that, looked outside, thought “eh.” and got back in bed. Then finally I convinced myself, hey, I’m in Italy, I’m getting fat, and how often are you going to get to run on a beach in Venice? So I dragged my butt out of bed, put on some running clothes and worked my way down to the beach, and began to run along the water… barefoot. It. Was. Awesome. Despite the fact it was getting hot out and there were shells I was running on occasionally, it was totally worth it. Besides,
Garden in Hotel ExcelsiorGarden in Hotel ExcelsiorGarden in Hotel Excelsior

I thought this was a really awesome garden setting...
at least if I was dying of heat, there was only a sea directly to the right of me… I ended up running about 5.5 miles in the sand in about half an hour’s time. I’d call that a good start to the day! (And boy, I can really feel it now… especially in my calves.)

The whole rest of the day we spend going back and forth between the beach and the condo. I swam for a while in the sea, then sprawled out on the padded chair thing and soaked up some sun. (I was so relaxed I ended up falling asleep, and when I woke up, everyone was gone…. They had gone up to eat lunch and Nico wanted to let me rest! Well, thankfully I awoke before I was burnt to a crisp like a Pringle or something. Elena had gone up to prepare lunch earlier and wasn’t too happy when he came back up without me 😊 ) I also read a few chapters of my book (I only have 3 or 4 chapters left! I have to save them for the plane…) and worked on some crossword puzzles, and ate peaches and other
The Queue o' CarsThe Queue o' CarsThe Queue o' Cars

If you squint hard enough, you might be able to see the end of the line of cars while waiting for the ferry to get off Lido!
food too.

One lady at the beach was talking to Nico and Elena about America (in Italian) and I actually kind of followed when she talked about Las Vegas. Then she asked me in an impressive American English accent if I’ve ever been to the Venetian hotel there. I said that I’ve walked past it but not in it. She then proceeded to tell me I should go there, and then I’ll understand why every American who comes to Venice thinks it’s like a Disney World. Apparently that’s what the Venetian hotel makes it to be! So lesson to us dumb Americans, Venezia is NOT a Disney World! People actually live in Venezia. So let’s not upset the locals! 😱

Elena took me next door to a luxury hotel called “Hotel Excelsior Venice” and showed me around a little bit… It wasn’t as cool as the hotel we walked into yesterday in Venice, but what was pretty cool to hear was that during the film festival in Venice every year, celebrities tend to stay at this hotel quite often! Elena always tells me how she and the family get to see a ton of celebrities… George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, etc. (She told me that Claudia doesn’t want George Clooney’s autograph. “Why?” I asked. She said “she already has three!” Hm. Can I have one?) I wish I were here during the film festival, because that would be awesome! Maybe in years to come…

After a long day of beach-going and whatnot, we decided to head back to Rovigo. So we got all packed up and drove towards where the ferry is, discovering that the line of cars waiting to board the ferry practically extended from one side of the island to the other (I’d say a good half a mile length in cars). So, we waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. I watched a whole house episode on my laptop and still had tons of time left over. So I played games like FreeCell on my computer. Still had time. Went and bought myself a drink. Still had time left over. Finally, after probably 3 hours, we got on the ferry, and rode back to the port. I savored that ferry ride, looking at Venezia for the last time before I visit again at some unforeseen point in time in the future.

And I slept the whole car-ride home. The End.

I told you it’s a long entry. 2081 words to be exact! That’s all I’ve got! So you know what that means!



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