Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lee & Sara's European Adventure Part 2: Venice, Italy

Our first stop of our European adventure was Rome, Italy. You can read about that part of our trip here. On Christmas morning we woke up in Rome, packed up our stuff, ate some lunch, and headed to the train station. This was the only train we rode this trip, but we really loved it! We were weary about booking train travel, because we couldn't book that until the month of our trip, and everything else we booked several months in advance. Now that we know how easy it is, we will probably do more train travel and less air travel next time. Getting on the train was much less chaotic than going to an airport, checking in, going through security, etc. All we had to do was find the station, get on, and find a seat! Once the train started, someone came around and checked our tickets. Easy as that!
Here are a few snapshots from the window of our train from Rome to Venice. 

Most businesses are closed on Christmas Day, so we figured this would be a good day to travel. We got to Venice that evening and had to take the Vaporetti to get to our hotel. The Vaporetti is like a water bus. Venice is a group of very small islands, and there are no real roads there. To walk around the city, you walk through small alley ways and over bridges. There are no cars there what-so-ever. Their public transportation is the Vaporetti, and they also have water taxis and of course Gondolas.

Once we got to our hotel, we were STARVING! The man working the front desk at our hotel told us that there were only a couple of places open. We chose the place closest to the hotel, and were so glad we did. This restaurant was serving 3 course meals, and this is where Lee and I had the very best lasagna we've ever tasted! It had a hint of cinnamon in it, and as strange as that sounds, it was amazing!

We're only on our second city, and Lee is already tired of me taking pictures of him! haha. This is him and his first course on Christmas night. Below is the best lasagna we've ever tasted. 

The next day was our first full day in Venice. We didn't have any excursions booked, but we knew there were a few things we wanted to see. This day we toured a small church and an art museum, did some shopping near the Rialto Bridge (Venice's most famous bridge/shopping area), then we spent some time in St. Mark's Square & St. Mark's Basilica, and toured the Doge's Palace. St Mark's Square is the main attraction in Venice, and is what you would probably see if you were to see part of Venice in a movie. The Doge's palace was the palace of the "presidents" when Venice was its own state. Now that it is part of Italy, the palace has been preserved and used as a tourist attraction.

Not sure if you can see it, but Lee and I each stood on a bridge and took each other's pictures. This is what venise is like: lots of canals and little waterways and cute little bridges. 
This is a picture of the main waterway going through Venice

Here is Lee in front of an old gondola on display. This was in the courtyard of the Doge's palace. 
Here is a picture of the front of the Doge's Palace. So many sculptures and details on the outside of the building. 

The Doge's Palace is boxed in and there is a large courtyard in the middle. This picture is taken from that courtyard. 

This is a picture from inside a window of the Doge's Palace. 
Here is a picture of Lee and I in St. Mark's Square. Of course there is scaffolding everywhere, because they happened to be doing construction on it while we were there. The ground looks wet, and it was! This area floods commonly while the tide is high, and that was something really cool we got to see while we were there. 

Our second day in Venice we went to the top of Venice's bell tower & got to see the city from the top. It was really beautiful! We could see the city, the water, and the mountains, all at once.  We think they were the Dolomite Mountains. Next we went to two small islands called Murano & Burano. Murano is the island where they specialize in glass blowing & sculpting, & Burano is known for lace making & it's pastel colored houses, both of which were really awesome! In Murano we got to see a guy sculpting & blowing glass, but we got to Burano too late to see any of the lace being made, but we did purchase a lace hankie as a wedding gift for a friend, and it was beautiful!  That evening we took a gondola ride. That was really fun too because you got to see the buildings all from a different view. This night we were about 6 days into our trip, and we caved and ate some American food: Hard Rock Cafe, and I don't know if I've never been so happy to eat hot wings and ranch haha! This is the one and only time I ate ranch on this trip, and even when I went to Spain in college, they did not have ranch...the Europeans just don't know what they're missing out on! 

This is the Hard Rock Cafe we ate at in Venice. 

Here is our view from the top of the bell tower. You can see the city, water, and mountains all in one picture. So beautiful! 

A selfie of me and my love at the top of the bell tower. 

Here is a guy melting and forming glass in Murano. 

Lee loved this old wooden boat! 

A view of the water, mountains, and sun beginning to set in Burano. 

Here is a pic of the pastel colored homes in Burano. 
One of the best things about traveling over Christmas is seeing all of the lights and decor! I LOVE Christmas and everything that goes along with it! 

We enjoyed the sights we saw, but really the best part about Venice was the city itself. Even though it was cold, we loved seeing all of the boats, and the water, etc. It was so fun just to walk around and see all of the canals & bridges, window shop, etc. Venice is such a cool place!

Here are a few pics of us eating and drinking. Ignore my make-up-less face please! 

Speaking of window shopping, Lee found some Duff beer like they serve on The Simpson''s. We tried it out. It wasn't anything amazing, but it was cool to see that product in a touristy shop in Venice! 

I can't seem to find any pics of us on our Gondola ride, but once I find those, I will add them to this post. Our next stop after Venice was Munich, Germany! Check out my next blog post to read about how fun our visit in Munich was! 

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