Yesterday we arrived in Venice, and with it came the breaking of the heat wave. Venice was nice and cool with lots of breeze off the water, so walking around was comfortable and effortless for the first time this trip! Mom and I had about 2 hours to kill while waiting for dad to show up, so we just wandered the streets and got our bearings. We eventually spotted dad wandering down the main drag wheeling two suitcases and looking rather lost…it would have paid to have listened closer to directions from mom before we left, but at least we found him before he got totally lost. We unpacked into our little hotel (on the 3rd floor with no elevator and skinny marble stairs…hauling luggage is not fun) and then wandered town to find lunch. We ended up getting slices of pizza at two different shops and just sharing them as we wandered around. Perfect! And by far the best pizza we have come across anywhere in Italy so far.
We wandered through St. Marcos Square, my favorite piazza to date! It had a stunning duomo with intricate mosaic scenes in each arch. The sun was just right too, so all the gold on the building was illuminated. The square itself was HUGE and massively impressive. It was filled with pigeons and people, lots of tables to sit and listen to live music if you were willing to pay a premium for the ambiance.
We returned back to the hotel to get cleaned up and let dad take a nap before heading out for the evening entertainment: a concert of Vivaldi Four Seasons and Pachabels Cannon. The theatre was a beautiful old building and the musicians dressed like they came right out of Phantom of the Opera. It was somewhat disappointing because they looked extremely bored playing (as I am sure they were, but as a performer it is your job to not let that show). Luckily, the lead violinist that joined the group after the first song was very animated and looked like he was having a ball, and that made it much more enjoyable. The music was fantastic though, and really fit the scene of this town.
We had dinner at a pretty out of the way place from the book, but we were not particularly impressed. It was not bad food, but nothing particularly special. We shut the place down though since we went after the show, and it was pretty fun to have the place to ourselves.
This morning we slept in (till 8!) and then had breakfast at the hotel before heading off to catch a vaporetto (a ferry boat) over to a church across the water from S. Marcos. This is the first church that we have gone into in Italy. Hard to believe I know. It was beautiful, and we took the elevator to the top of the belltower to look out over Venice. I love the fact that there are no cars or bicycles here…it is all water streets! It makes it really quiet and peaceful (until you realize that there are hoards of tourists, but that is how it goes). We took the vaporetto until we came back into the grand canal, passed under the Rialto Bridge, and got off at the Academia. From there we wandered through the back streets of town and found a grocery store to buy bread, cheese and tomatoes for lunch, which we ate siting on the edge of a canal. It is hotter today, but by no means as hot as it has been. Walking around is very comfortable. We visited S. Marcos Square again for a demonstration of making Venitian glass (also called Morano glass, as that is the island where is it actually made). We had a private tour to avoid the massive cruise ship tour group (free thanks to Rick Steves!) and really learned quite a bit. It was pretty cool looking at this stuff.
Right now dad is taking a nap and I am keeping my in box under control. We are going out for dinner on the other side of the bridge, and will enjoy our last night as a family in Venice. Tomorrow morning I will get a train to Vicenza, and then spend the next two nights in Verona while mom and dad get on their cruise to the Greek Islands.