Italy - Days 8-10
Day 8 - VeniceOctober 3
We had to get up real early to catch the train to Venice.
The train took a little over 3 hours and made 4 stops along the way. Here's Karrie deciding what to get on the food cart.
Finally arrived and this was the view walking out of the train station.
While waiting to buy tickets for the vaporetto (water taxi) we found out that there was a 24-hour strike. Time to panic.
But it turned out that just one boat was running, from the train station to the Rialto Bridge. So we bought a ticket and got on. It was really crowded, we sat up front.
The Grand Canal.
The Rialto Bridge.
View from on top of the bridge.
I would have to say the the theme of Venice for me was "too much for my brain to take in." There was water and buildings and docks and boats. But it was amazing.
Then we walked from the Rialto Bridge to St. Marks Square. We were a little nervous about getting there. We had planned on riding the vaporetto the entire way, but since they were on strike we had to walk.
At first we thought that if we just followed the river we would eventually make it. That didn't last long, the pathways just ended. So we decided to take the direct route and follow the signs. It turned out to be just fine, it only took 15 minutes. The map made the city look a lot bigger than it was.
I really enjoyed feeding the pigeons there.
Here's a video of Karrie feeding them.
We then walked to the church and then over to where the canal ended. The view to the islands was awesome.
I liked Venice. There were no cars or mopeds to run you over. Everyone said that Venice was really expensive, but it didn't seem any worse then the rest of Italy. Although we did stay away from the popular places while shopping so maybe that's why. We had planned on stopping at Harry's Bar to eat, but when we got there it looked very fancy so we kept going. I'm glad i did, people said that one drink was €15.
I saw this really cool music store that sold ocarina's. I would have gotten one if they weren't €35. I figured that i could make one when i got home.
Karrie and i got Canoli's for €1 each. They were alright, only slightly sweet.
Weeks ago we decided on eating at a restaurant called da Sandro. It was only around 2:00pm and we weren't that hungry but i wanted to find it anyway. So Karrie and i walked down alleys, over bridges, until we popped out of one alley and we were surprised that we were standing right next to it. So we stopped and had a drink outside.
Then we walked back to the Rialto Bridge and took the only boat back to the train station.
Riding back on the vaporetto.
We had dinner across the river from the train station, met up with the rest of the group and took the train back to Rome.
Day 9 - RomeOctober 4
We didn't have any real plans for the last day. So we decided to take our time walking to the train station, then go to the Mediterranean Sea. We stopped at a lot of shops, bought some belts from these guys.
From Termini station we took 2 metro trains then walked to the beach. I didn't like riding on the first metro, it was dark, creepy and super crowded underground. The second train was better.
Here's what the beach looked like when we finally got there.
We were kind of tired so Karrie and i took the metro back to the hotel. This pyramid was outside on of the stations in Rome.
During the trip i had collected lots of seeds. I picked up limes and palms from the Roman Ruins, seeds from a palm tree that had a €1500 price tag on it, cedar seeds from trees growing on the Appian Way, and lots more. I thought it would be "difficult" getting them through customs so i decided to mail them to myself.
So i put them in zip-lock bags, wrapped them in another plastic bag then got directions to the post office.
The guy at the desk gave me directions but said that they might be closed.
The building was difficult to find then once i got inside it was super confusing. I first bought an envelope. But the tough part was figuring out what line to be in. There was E, F, A, U, Ea... I got in the wrong line twice before i figured it out.
They charged me €14 and said "that's it." I wasn't sure if it was going to make it, but 2 weeks after i got home the seeds arrived.
I walked back to the hotel, took a rest then Karrie and i went to dinner. We ended up going to the place i was going to originally take her for her birthday, before i made reservations at Ciampini up on the high road.
It was fine, nothing real fancy though. We were both glad that i changed the reservations on her birthday.
The rest of the group walked by while we were eating, they were looking for some place nice to eat. We said Ciampini was great, so we walked there with them. When they came back to the hotel they agreed that it was super nice, but expensive.
Here's Karrie by one of her favorite mini garbage trucks.
We also made one last stop by the Trevi Fountain. As usual it looked amazing.
Day 10 - FlightOctober 5
The last day. We woke up real early, 4:30am. Again we had the van take us to the airport for €80.
We told the driver what airline we were taking and he took us to Terminal 5 and then drove off. Something didn't look right. Firstly because it was closed, the doors were locked.
When we got inside there wasn't anyone working. We finally found someone and they said this was only for international flights. It turns out that since we were flying from Rome to London we needed Terminal 3. So we hopped on the airport shuttle and went to the right place.
Here's everyone at our first layover at London Heathrow airport.
This flight wasn't bad at all, we had tv's in every seat. You could play games like tetris or watch different movies.
During the flight from London to Chicago we flew over Greenland. There was zero clouds so at 30,000 feet we had some amazing views.
We could see some huge icebergs floating in the ocean.
We came into Chicago from the north a bit and flew over the Mackinac Bridge.
The last thing we wanted to do was get on another airplane, but we took the last flight from Chicago to Flint and the trip was over. I think it was 11pm by the time i got home.
- The weather was great the entire time we were there, 80 and sunny.
- A good map is a necessity to know what streets and bus stops you want.
- Our schedule/itinerary was great, we did basically everything we had planned.
- Restaurants can't serve tap water so you have to pay for bottled water, usually €3-4.
- All hotels in Rome charge you a €2 fee City Tax for every night you are staying. We were surprised we had to pay it up front when we arrived.