Sorry for the lack of contact recently. We have been really busy in Italy. There is so much to see and eat and buy, and just not enough time to find internet cafes!!!!
The night train from Salzburg was not that comfortable. We were on the top bunk (3 beds up), with no guard rail to stop us falling out of the bed if the train braked sharply or turned a corner!! Needless to say, it wasn't the best nights sleep we have ever had, and so we arrived in Venice at 9 in the morning, feeling grimy and tired, to be greeted by...rain!!!! It's just typical!!
We managed to locate the shuttlebus that took us to our camping village on the outskirts of Venice. The campsite was about a 20 minute drive out of central Venice, but the campsite organises buses that take you to and from venice every hour till 10.30 at night. When we arrived at the campsite, all we wanted was a shower, so we were pleased to discover that our room had a private bathroom. We loved our room, although it was slightly tricky to get in to, as they had planted a tree outside the door, so you had to be skinny to squeeze in!!! It was a tiny twin, but as we were there 3 nights, I was able to completely unpack, and decorate it with pictures and a painting that I had bought in Salzburg! After a shower, we felt quite at home in our little room, but decided to head into Venice for the afternoon, as the rain had stopped and the sun was beginning to shine.
Venice is a maze!!! We had no idea where we were heading, except that we eventually wanted to get to St Marks Square. The bus dropped us off at the bus station near the train station, and 3 hours later, and a few coconut treats later, we found the square!!! On the way, we crossed lots of little bridges over the canals, discovered tiny cobbled streets with lots of lovely leather shops and Venetian glass shops! Venice is beautiful. Walking throught the streets of Venice is like stepping back in time. None of the buildings have been changed for hundreds of years, and the palaces and villas lining the Grand Canal are amazing. Zoe and I quite want one with our own private dock for our own gondola! It was good fun getting lost in Venice. We discovered areas well off the tourist track, and we fell in love with the city (and the shops!)
When we eventually reached St Marks Square, we sat down and had a drink (one we had bought earlier well away from the square at a much reduced price!!!) It was too late to go into the basilica or the Doges Palace, so we just enjoyed the sunshine, and people watched for awhile. We walked to the lagoon and took photos of the gondolas that we couldn't afford to go in, before trying to find a restaurant for dinner.
We found a quiet little place, where every other customer turned out to be Chinese!! We had a yummy seafood pasta and calamari. The meals here our slightly strange, as they tend to have a huge bowl of pasta as a strater before the main meal. Now, I love my food, but I don't think even I could manage that - well not often anyway!!!
After the dinner we got very lost finding our way back to the bus stop, even though we though we were following the same route we took getting to the square!! We kept reaching dead ends where the only place we could go was into a canal!! we did evnetually find our way back tho. Once back at the camp site we had an early night to catch up on some sleep.
After a well deserved lie in the next morning, we woke up, to discover that mosquitoes like Zoe!!! We had the door open for a while when we gotr in, whichj let some mossies in, although Zoe thinks they managed to sqeeze their way through the insect proof netting on the windows! Super bugs!!!!
We got a public bus into the city at about 12.30, and decided that we were going to visit the Doges (used to be ruler of Venice) Palace in St Marks Square. We got lost again, and a few hours later, and today flavoured meringues later, we arrived in the square and entered the palace. The palace was interesting, with some lovely courtyards, and an interesting history behind it. There are also some amazing jails in the palace, which were really interesting. They were just like the ones in The Man in the Iron Mask or the Count of Monte Cristo!! We were in the palace for a couple of hours, but tiredness soon got the better of us, so we left in search of a cold drink and a place to sit down. A step in St Marks Square and a can of Coke later, and we felt good as new, and we started to wander the streets and explore the shops some more.
We discovered that the national cocktail of Venice is the bellini, so deciding we had to try it, in order to completely immerse ourselves in Venecian culture we bought a couple of bottles to drink that night in our room!!! We then found another little restaurant hidden down a side alley, and enjoyed a pizza (Zoe) and a big bowl of pasta for me. We then had to run back to the bus stop to catch the shuttle bus back to the campsite as we had been talking so much, and had lost track of time!! The bus journey was rather exciting, as the driver played a selection of disco tunes including I Will Survive, YMCA and number from the Grease soudtrack!!! It was pretty special!! To top off our evening, we then cracked open the bellinis and had a toast to our brilliant holiday so far. Bellinis are yummy by the way!!!
The next day was our last day in Venice, before getting the train to Rome the following morning, so we decided to visit St Marks basilica. We found our way a lot quicker to St Marks Square this day. Ont he way, we walked through a lovely food market withthe most amazing fresh fish. The huge swordfish and the live lobster the man was trying to throw at us was the highlight!! We bought a large slice of pizza each from a stall for lunch and contiinued on our way to the sqaure, where we joined the already fairly long queue to the cathedral. However, it was fast moving, and Zoe kept herself occupied by befriending and taking pictures of the pigeons! St Marks Square is full of them. Inside, we visited the treasury and the famous altar piece made of gold and covered in precious stones. The size of some of the diamonds were quite impressive. They would have put Victoria Beckhams rings to shame!!!! We were also able to climb to the top to see the famous copper horses ont he outside of the basilica, and we also got some great views over the sqaure and the lagoon. We took quite a few photographs, and stayed at the top for quite a while.
After visiting the basilica, we found a cafe where we could buy bellinis from, so we bought a couple and sat with our feet in the lagoon having a civilised drink to pass the afternoon. However, the water got a little choppy, and we were getting quite splashed, so we got up, and walked back to the train station. Here, we got a ticket fort he vaporetto (water bus), and travelled up the Grand Canal back towards St Marks Square. It is the only was we could afford a canal trip, and it was quite good fun! Zoe took about a million pictures of the passing scenery, and sitting down for 25 minutes was very realxing.
When we arrived back at St Marks Sqaure, it was almost dinner time, so we slowly walked back, via all the lovely Venetian glass shops, towards the Grand Canal, where we wanted to eat dinner to see the sunset. We found a cheapish retaurant on the canal, and had a lovely dinner. Zoe discovered she loves gnocci, and I had pasta (again)!!! However, sunset was a long time in coming, and we were getting fairly cold and tired, so we decided to leave a little early and go back tot he campsite to pack up our room, before having to leave in the morning.
Good thing we did this, as no sooner had we got into our room, than the heavens opened. It would have been a very wet and cold sunset!!!!
Venice was amazing, and I was quite sad to leave. It was beautiful, and you could quite easily spend a whole week there just wandering the streets. We hope this gives you a taster of our 3 days in Venice.
We can't belive the trip is almost over. We'll see you all soon.
Lots of love,
Zoe and Rebecca