We took a train from Innsbruck, Austria to Venice. It was a beautiful and relaxing 4 1/2 hours through the Alps. We arrived in Venice around 6pm Friday. Weaving through alleys to the Frari Church where we were to meet our next proprietor we began our new and vital skill here…dependence on the map. There are no roads, no main walkways. Just alleys. It is a constant weaving and turning, and with tall buildings all around you can never really get your bearings. But then you come to little arched bridges, quiet canals, dark paths, or sudden squares and it is really the charm of the city itself…always being a little lost but never really minding.
Davide led us to our apartment, blessedly on the first floor after our 5th floor Paris apartment. It is very nice, in a quiet courtyard by the Frari church…and with very cold A/C. That’s important because it was warm…upper 80s.
We walked around the magnificent Frari church while waiting for Davide, visited a nearby market for foodstuffs, and from Michael’s journal,
“We discovered what was to become the gravitational center of all remaining activities in Venice: gelato! I’ve had gelato before, but not like this. I’m still convinced it’s laced with something unspoken. Absolute deliciousness. We’re always looking forward to the next time we can justify another stop at one of the seemingly hundreds of gelato vendors in the city; calculating how little time we can allow between feedings and still not feel like we’re being ridiculous. With bellies full of heaven, we made our way back to our apartment for our first night in Venice.”
Everyone was tired and wanted to sleep in a bit. So Hailey, Nathan and I walked to the Rialto market. We were there around 9:30. The most amazing food market I have ever seen. Rows and rows of fruit and vegetable stands. Then at the end, the famous Rialto fish market. Whole fish, thick steaks of swordfish, clams and lobsters, piles of snails still crawling, and lots of octopus and squid covered in its own ink. Not exactly Kroger. We bought some fruits and vegetables. The language barrier didn’t exist, because although the vendors did not speak English, pointing and holding up fingers is international. It was a lot of fun.
We returned to rest and join up with Michael and Caitlyn. We meandered, heading for the less touristy neighborhood of Dorosduro. We saw Venice, happened upon 3 young musicians playing Mozart in a square, and expanded our gelato repertoire. I had prebooked time slots for St. Mark’s Basilica for 1545 to avoid standing in line, so we meandered across Venice and the Accademia bridge to St. Marks square. We have seen many churches and cathedrals, but St. Marks still amazed. Begun in 827, it is Byzantine unlike the Gothic and Baroque architecture we have seen. The walls and ceilings and floors of this enormous structure are covered in tiny 2 cm squares to make incredible mosaic pictures all around. They cover 8000 sq meters. Mind blowing.
We returned to the apt, eating more gelato on the way, to rest and fix dinner. Then we returned to the square for the evening. We bought a ticket for Caitlyn to see Venetian theater in English and the rest of us went to the square. Hoping to wander around listening to the famous dueling orchestras, we were instead met with a Venetian university graduation going on. With thousands of chairs and proud parents filling the square we retreated to the water side to sit and people watch. Hailey checked out all the souvenir stands and Michael was enjoying watching the pushy rose salesmen. Finally graduation was over and we wandered into the square. The kids played with pigeons, we listened to the orchestras, collected Caitlyn and headed home for sleep.