Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gondola, Murano, & Running!!! Venice, Italy - Day 5

One of the major reasons we picked the Carnival Dream was it's itinerary, especially that it spent two days in Venice. Of all the cities we were to visit on our trip, I was most excited about Venice. Debbie and so many others have been there in the past...rave reviews from all!

We arrived early in Venice thanks to one of our fellow passengers falling ill. His peril was our bonus. The ship arrives through the canal systems, and I was perched out front with camera and camcorder in hand to catch it all. Debbie eventually met me out front before we started seeing the beautiful views of the city. The ship moved very slowly through the canals and into Venice's Grand Canal where we pulled alongside Doge's Palace, St Marks Square, the Bascillica and the Bell Tower. In addition all the hundreds of canals, gondolas, and excited tourists!

First thing we did was get a Vaporetto pass, which is most like a subway pass. We bought the two day pass so that we could use it both days. Next stop, Murano. Debbie and I planned ahead, bought a Venice popout map, and were all set to take the "DM" boat "direct to Murano Island." So we got on and even had two other passengers that Debbie got acquainted with follow us. Yup...we got lost. See our map was a year old and the routes were changed. Two things then happened...we had to figure out what to do next and get on another boat...and said goodbye to those friendly Dream passengers who said in so many words "we'll get lost on our own!"

We arrived in Murano and it was gorgeous. We ate lunch there, shopped, and enjoyed the beautiful historic glass-blowing city. No big purchases here as the island was quite expensive! I got a pair of Murano glass cufflinks and we got a Christmas ornament for our tree.

Back to Venice we arrived at the Rialto Bridge. A historic bridge with shops lining the topside. Shopping commenced! We both got Venetian masks for the sailaway party back onboard the following day, Debbie got those Cameo earrings (beautiful roses!), and more shot glasses!

We navigated through the alleys to a little restaurant for dinner. I wanted tortellini, so when we finally found the place that had it...we went in! In Italy they seat people next to each other that are complete strangers. One mystery was this was our worst meal of the entire trip. This was better than nearly every Italian restaurant we've ever eaten in (aside from Little Italy and the Hill in St Louis)... The other mystery was our neighbor tablemates. I said no, Debbie said yes. She's prepared the evidence and I have since agreed...yes, they were 60+ year old lesbians. Oye. Feeding each other, holding hands, she was right...I was probably just loopy on some good Italian wine!

After dinner we strolled through St Marks Square and found ourselves a gondolier. See, it was COLD that night, probably 40s or so. We were the only ones at 930 that were up for a gondola! It was great, it was romantic, it was scenic, and very memorable. What great times!

The hike back to the ship was made more funny and dramatic (to me at least) when my new wife says while on the Vaporetto, "I have to use the bathroom." Simple task anywhere else, but not in Venice. Oye. It was midnight and we were still a mile from the ship when we got off the boat. No bathrooms in sight. The walk back to the ship turned to a brisk walk, to a power walk, to a slow jog, a jog, than a slow run! It was me chasing Debbie! As she got to the security checkpoint she pushes past some slow people and I am chasing after her. She runs past and gets back onto the ship as the security people are looking at me like some crazy man chasing her! It was quite humorous and I hope she doesn't kill me for telling the story!!

Sleep time, then another day in Venice!

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