Back to Rome we go!

Today we are heading back to Rome. After yesterday’s busy train and today being a Sunday we decided to buy our ticket online yesterday, so we have a train time and are ready to go at 126pm. So, after breakfast we headed out to take the water bus down the grand canal.

It took WAY longer than I thought, so we turned around after St Marks and headed back – sadly we ran out of time to get mom some of that yummy pizza from the night before. We loaded up our stuff from the hotel and crossed the bridge to the train station. We did some people watching outside before heading inside to grab a snack before the train ride.

The train ride is about 4 hours so I upgraded us to premium cabin with leather chairs and they are supposed to be a little nicer. I havent quite figured it out why, but you do get drink service. Mom of course just asks for more drinks (just water) but they give it to her.

We made it to Rome and had a nice 10 minute walk to our hotel. We are staying at the ever so fancy, Double Tree by Hilton. In reality, it is very fancy by European standards, big bathroom, big beds (twin, but big twin), mini fridge, etc.

Once we settled into our room we headed out for dinner – and boy did we strike gold! Crazy enough it was like the first place we came upon, but it was sooooooo good!! We got caprese salad, 4 cheese pizza and 4 cheese gnocchi. It may have been the best gnocchi and pizza that we (ok me for sure) have had this trip.

After our super yummy dinner we walked up the street for gelato before heading back to the hotel for the night.

The place of liquid roads

Today we headed to Venice! This was top of mom’s list to see. Originally we were going to day trip from Rome via flight – but they had canceled it a while back. At the last minute I swapped around a couple things and added it back in via bullet train.

We decided to take the 1120 train so we could enjoy your room as long as possible (really the only downside to the room was the fact we got eaten alive by mosquitos). Mom has been carrying my Nike backpack and her pink purse and I have been carrying both big backpacks. It has been working for us! I would much rather carry a backpack any day than help move a suitcase. Anyway, its a nice 10 minute walk over to the train station from our room so we headed out a little early since I had to buy tickets.

We havent been planning anything other than our hotels in advance and we ran into an issue of having to sit across the aisle from each other on this train, but that still wasnt a big deal because we were still at least close. This train to Venice was busy, probably because it was a Saturday. After two hours we had made it to Venice, the city of water!

We had a quick walk, over the grand canal to our hotel. Thankfully we keep getting lucky and getting rooms only one flight up so we arent stuck lugging our bags up lots of stairs. We got a corner room with THREE windows (one of them was in our shower). The front of the building is being redone so one of the windows didnt open, but the other two did and we had a view of a couple bridges and the grand canal. It is awesome!

We unloaded our stuff and headed out on foot to St. Marks Square so we could go to the basilica and see the wavy floors. After about 15 minutes we stopped at what ended up being our favorite meal so far on the trip – by far! We started with bruschetta, mom had lasagna and I had 4 cheese gnocchi. It was just wonderful.

After lunch we headed on our way to St Marks square. We crossed over so many little bridges, saw so many narrow passage ways. Its just so cool wandering through Venice. When we made it, we took a little break next to the church. I got up to try and figure out where to buy tickets because online it said you had to buy them off site on Saturdays and Sundays. (it should be noted, this was a lie.) I got online and there were no tickets left for the day so I thought for sure we couldnt get in. I was so bummed. We had given up and were walking away towards the water when I saw a long line. I realized this line was for the tickets you could buy IN THE CHURCH!!

So, we waited. We had 45 minutes until they stopped letting people in, I thought it would be close, we may not make it. But luckily WE DID!! While we were in line there, we bought tickets to the bell tower, because they have a lift you can take to the top (the only way I can get mom to go up anything now).

We got into the church after a vaccine check and a temp check. The floors werent as wavy as I remember – but it was still cool to see. I also forgot how beautiful the ceilings were decorated. In November of 2019 – they had a major flood that did some damage to the floors so they raised money to have them worked on. Shockingly – the work has already started. Not shockingly, its not even close to being done. Italians are known for taking FOREVER to get anything done.

After St Marks we walked around the square until it was our turn to go up in the bell tower. The sights from the top were just amazing. It was a clear day and we could see forever.

After the bell tower we went to take the boat/bus back to the hotel. We went on the outside of the islands. Basically the boat just bounces from shoreline to shoreline stopping at each stop like a bus would.

We got off a stop earlier than we intended because I saw a grocery store and we have been on the lookout for these Nutella biscuit things. And guess what – we FOUND them!! Then we had to figure out how to check out haha. That took longer than finding them!! Once we checked out we walked back towards our hotel, but by then I was hungry so we sat down at a pizza place and had some of the best pizza!! It was Naples style but it was so good!! Four cheese of course!

After pizza we had a really long 10 steps back to the hotel for bed. The room is like 1950s style. Fabric padded walls, old beds, really old comforter (the views and bathroom made up for it). We were nervous we werent going to sleep. We ended up sleeping fine. But of course, we left the windows open so we had more bugs come in and bite us.

Tomorrow we head back to Rome! And we are staying at a Hilton, so hopefully we have screens on our windows?

Last Day in Venice

Well today was overcast when we first headed out, we made reservations for a Grand Canal tour in the evening, so we wanted to get to Murrano and see the glass blowing factories. But first dad had to buy more Murrano glass from the shops, for gifts. After that we headed back to the hotel to drop off the stuff then headed to the water bus. We got on the water bus, and headed over, its so cool to take boats everywhere, and not see a car in days!!

Murrano was cool, a small version of Venice, but today is a holiday, so almost everything was closed. All the big factories were closed, and we just happened to get mixed up with a tour, and get a private show! It was soo cool, the guy made a vase and a horse, all of a sudden, boom, a horse!

After Murrano we headed back to our room, because as soon as we got back to Venice it started pouring. We decided to head back to the room for a little bit, maybe 30 minutes, and clean up, then we wanted to go feed the pigeons (which they used to sell feed in the square, but now, its illegal to feed them everywhere except St. Marks). It was still raining after our break, so we sat in the hotel lobby and wished the rain to stop. I went and bought an umbrella, and as soon as I did, it stopped raining. We headed over to the tour.

The tour was cool, we got a history lesson and a beautiful photo taking oppertunities. I was able to use my self timer and take a picture of dad and I infront of the oldest bridge. It was really cool.

As soon as we got back to St. Marks we went to feed the pigeons! It was sooo cool, the birds loved dad, I got some really cool pictures of them eating out of dads hands. I had like 3 birds on my arm at once, it was sooo cool! But as soon as we got done feeding the birds it started to rain again. So dad and I headed back to the hotel to eat dinner. I had a screaming french kid kicking me most of the dinner, so that sucked, but the food was good. Now we are just watching CNN International getting ready for bed!

We go to Sorrento tomorrow! Yeah!

Venice!

Dad and I have been having a good time in Venice, not doing much at all!

Yesterday when we got here, we just people watched most of the day, we had to go to a supermarket because I left my bodywash at the last hotel (damnit!). After that, we just walked around and checked out the town. Its just so much fun here to see all the differnet “streets” whcih are really alleys, and the water that runs through the city. The water is so beautiful, nice and light green! The gondolas are EVERYWHERE, and are VERY expensive, about $150 for an hour! Geesh! We ate right on the water, and I had some salmon, changing up my pasta and pizza diet for a while. We headed to bed early again, the heat is just awful!

Today dad and I got to eat breakfast right out on the water again! Its beautiful! We headed to St. Marks Square to go see the church, thank goodness for my Rick Steves book, because we skipped the BIG, LONG line and headed to the bag check, and got to skip the line! They assume youve waited in line, and have been told you cant take it in, so they let you cut the line, so you dont have to wait again. St. Marks church is all wavey inside, the floor is all wavey and yet stays together, all because of all the flooding theyve had over all the years. Last time I was here, it was just me, Jer and Dee, but this time there were like 1000 people in there! So it was a little disapointing. After that we headed to the new bell tower (new meaning built in like 1910, because the old lighthouse fell in 1902). Dad agreed to see this tower, because it had an elevator. The pictures will be beautiful once I get them up online, it was just so amazing to see all the different views from the top! We people watched again after that, in the shade of course, its just so fun to see where everyone is from!

We headed down to the glass shops on the ‘main drag’ shopping area, kinda like Michigan Ave in Chicago. Dad got some cool vases and I bargined with this guy and got him down 1/3 in price, and I got him to through in a wine stopper! We headed back to the hotel to drop off the very heavy glass, and I feel asleep for like an hour, I was just so tired! The heat is just awful! We went to dinner around 6, again on the water, and then people watched some more! Its nice all this relaxing we are doing here! We walked to the cheap gelato place (we found a different way to get there, on accident) and then went back to St. Marks square to people watch again.

When I got back to the hotel, I realized really that it was too dangerous to go to parts of eastern Europe, so I needed to fly to Athens. I will be flying from Milan, Italy to Athens, Greece, instead of taking the train through some other countries. But this way I can see Switzerland now!

Well, off to bed, the good news is, tomorrow its going to be cooler…but rainy…but COOLER!