Day 16 – Getting lost and enjoying the local flavor

Picture on one of the bridges in Venice with the Canal to my back
Picture on one of the bridges in Venice with the Canal to my back

I am so excited to spend the whole day in Venice!! The bridges, the canals, the tiny streets and the atmosphere! It is definitely a city you can get lost in, and we did, but that is part of the charm. Going a different way and seeing new sights, it is like no where else I have ever been. It was also so very helpful to have an offline map to get back to our hotel each night. Tonight we will be on our second sleeper train of the trip, so we pack up, store our bags and head out for the day.

Rialto Market - One of my favorite spots
Rialto Market – One of my favorite spots

Our first stop was the Rialto Market, which was one of my favorite things to do! Not only was the produce fresh and delicious, but it was an experience in itself! We spent a good half hour here, and I could have likely spent the afternoon. It took me a moment to figure out what to do, but I managed to find my way. The stand I went to, was likely one of the busiest and had mainly locals with full shopping list. I had to ask someone how to say my number in Italian for fear of missing it! The vendors were quick and seemed to pick the best from the bunch they had. There was produce being throw, but I made sure not to touch anything unless I was asked. It really was so fun just to watch, never mind participating in the experience, and the fruit was soo good!

San Marco Basilica
San Marco Basilica

We went through San Marco Piazza to find a gondola ride. The basilica was quite impressive and the buildings all around were just incredible. I took a quick snap as we had already seen it yesterday. When we arrived here in the morning, it was completely dry, when we arrived back after our ride, the square was flooded and we had to use bridges set up to cross over the square, or take our shoes off and walk as some other people decided to do. We were told which gondola service to use and so a group of us head over to share the experience.

Gondola Ride in high waters
Gondola Ride in high waters

Don’t judge to harshly on the pictures… given the bathroom/shower situation, I did my best!

The gondola ride was fairly relaxing, but I am not sure it is something I would necessarily recommend for the money. The canal was busy and there was a lot of time of waiting in lines to get under the bridges. The canals were higher than normal, so we had the added adventure of trying to make it through some of these bridges on a bit of our side, and our gondolier had to duck to get under most of them.

The high waters of the canals made for some tricky passes under the bridges
The high waters of the canals made for some tricky passes under the bridges

We also saw and walked over the Rialto bridge, something we also had done yesterday.

Rialto Bridge
Rialto Bridge

The last sight of the day was the Bridge of Sighs. There are two legends to this bridge, one has to do with lover under the bridge, but the one I prefer is the one with the prisoners. It is said, that this was the last view of freedom and the outside world between a prisoner being sentenced and put into prison. Regardless of what you believe, it is a pretty cool bridge!

Bridge of Sighs
Bridge of Sighs

Not only the square was flooded, all along the main canal, water was coming up onto the streets, it was kind of neat, but I am sure for the locals, it is not ideal.

High waters in Venice after the rain from the day before
High waters in Venice after the rain from the day before

The last stop of the day was the island of Murano. It is here where they have beautiful glass blown art and jewelry made on the island. It is also here where I have my only regret from Italy, a piece of art with a blown glass sea turtle encased in clear glass. This piece was amazing, and I walked back and forth from it many times. Unfortunately, I could not justify the price. One day, I will be back and hopefully then I will buy it!

Headed to Murano Island on the water bus
Headed to Murano Island on the water bus

We spent the rest of our time here, going to a glass blowing demonstration, eating and shopping. I must say, even though I have done glass blowing myself, it is still so fascinating for me to watch. Especially since the gentleman made a horse!

We started as a group of 4 coming onto the island, but broke up into pairs, and myself and my partner in crime had a really great lunch of fresh brick over Italian pizza. Funny enough, while waiting to be seated, I met two sisters and their spousesĀ from Boston. It is one thing to meet people from the US but entirely different when they come from your city. One of the women even taught in Medford! We had a great lunch both with my friend, and chatting with the Boston ladies, as I told them about our travels so far and what the travel plans for the future, and they told us about theirs! I have said this before, but I really enjoy a conversation with new people, and with these ladies, I could have spoken with for hours.

Once back on the main land, we met up with the rest of our group for some pre-train cocktails and some snacks for the night, before we packed up to pack in to our overnight train. Tonight, we are sleeping 6 to a cabin, so it should be quite interesting how this works!

Tomorrow we wake up in Vienna, Austria!

One thought on “Day 16 – Getting lost and enjoying the local flavor”

  1. Keep these coming Lauren! D and I have been to Venice a few times and never taken a gondola ride. We took the Vaporettos a lot. The water does look very high. We saw the boards out one day we were there too in the afternoon. I have to say the pictures add to your blog. I also can’t imagine having to repack each night, that is tough. The struggle is real for sure.

    Did you get a card from the place with the turtle so you can go back someday and find it? Or a picture of the store front?

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