Saturday, November 23, 2013

My brother's a bird...

First, I'm going to mention that I won't be uploading photos while in Venice. The internet is simply too slow. It took nearly 20 minutes to upload 50% of one image. That's just too much time. Batch uploads will have to wait until Rome. If I remember correctly they have a slightly quicker internet speed. 

Now if I remember correctly I left off at the train ride... We arrived in Venice pretty early in the afternoon, however seeing as the sun starts to set at around 4 it didn't feel like it. By the time we settled into our new dorm it was starting to get dark but that didn't stop us from venturing forth into the world. 

Our first impression of Venice? This city is absolutely breath-taking and gorgeous. It's just amazing to see the streets as rivers. There are no cars or vehicles of any kind on the streets here. It makes the town very quiet but in a good way. We went from one extreme to the other between Napoli and here. In Napoli cars constantly honked to get by and over here you can hear the water moving in the streets. It's just so.... Wow. We found our hostel with relative ease (after crossing a wrong bridge first and quickly realizing our mistake we turned around and tried again). The hostel is really, really nice. They have real beds instead of bunk beds in the rooms which is a nice treat for a hostel. I'm not too fussy for the pillows but beggars can't be choosers. I put some clothing under it and it works well enough. When we walk out of our hostel there's what looks like a church in front of it and to the right there's one of the water roads. It's really cool. 

After settling in Cory and I went out for food and to familiarizing ourselves with the streets a little first. We walked back down the Main Street and bought some fresh fruit. A bunch of grapes and two oranges. We're saving the oranges for breakfast tomorrow but we devoured the grapes. They were the biggest, juicest, bestest tasting grapes we have ever had. They were so sweet it was like biting into delicious grape juice every time. Those went rather quickly and before we knew it we were searching for a restaurant for dinner. We found this little pizzeria and went there. The pizza was better in Napoli. That is also judging by the two places we went there and the one place we went here. The pizza was more like what we're used to at home fused with what it was like in Napoli. After dinner we got lost while trying to find the Rialto Bridge. We went for dinner in the least touristy area of town so it was filled with tiny winding streets and water roads. We would walk a bit and then have to turn around because of the water road. We did eventually find the bridge. On our way back we stopped for a tiny bit of gelato. I tried a different flavor, as did Cory. I preferred my strawberry one from Napoli.  Once we were done the gelato we decided to head back and crash for the evening. 

We woke up bright and early on Saturday with the intention of going to Murano for the morning but it was raining. A lot. Instead we went to Saint Mark's Square to see the Basilica, the clock tower, and Dodge's Palace. The Basilica was... it was just as Cory put it earlier today "there is no single word in the English language that can describe how beautiful and breath taking this building is" and it's true. The ceiling was covered in mosaic designs. It glowed golden and there were various colors with religious images around. It was a sight to see for sure. Definitely worth the entrance fee. We were also able to go onto the balcony that faces the square and clock tower. We took some nice pictures and asked a Spanish couple to take a picture of the two of us up there. (Now there's proof we were both in Venice together) After simply staring out into the wonders that is the city we decided to go up the clock tower. It's a total of 100 meters and there's an elevator that takes you up 60 meters. It was really, really cold up there and very windy but it was sooo worth it. We were able to see across the entire city from that viewpoint. It was just spectacular. I thought the view from the Empire State Building was nice this was something else with equal, if not, more beauty. 

We did try to go into Dodge's Palace but the price was too much and they had a sign saying that there was a bunch of areas that was closed for maintenance. It didn't seem worth the amount to see a tiny fraction of it. Maybe next time I'm in Venice. The outside of the building is wonderful and quite lovely to see it. 

We were also there in Saint Marks Square during Aqua Alta, otherwise known in English as High Tide. We noticed the high tide first thing in the morning when we left our hostel since the water level had gone up about 2 feet in the road (but there was still dry land to walk on) and as we walked through some of the familiar streets we noticed that the water was higher. When we approached Saint Marks Square we went out for breakfast first (which was amazing. Best pastry. Ever. and it had Nutella. Who knew anything with nutella could taste so wonderfully amazing) Anyway, we saw these dorky boot covers that are popular with tourists and thought "Sure, why not?" so we each bought one, put them on and touristed up. In between the sights we waded through the flooded square with our boot covers which are hit or miss. Cory's kept his feet relatively dry and mine did at first until they stopped working. I had soaking wet feet for the rest of the day (which is a little funny that the person coming down with the cold got the wet feet - it's all good, my shoes are almost dry now). We also decided that those ponchos were just fail so we bought cheap umbrellas. Mine broke with the sheer force of the wind. There goes that. I'm just going to bundle up and hope for the best tomorrow. :) After all, it's just water. It dries up. Right?

So after the fun events of Saint Marks Square and the flooding we ventured forth for lunch. We found this upper class yet still relatively cheap restaurant and had lunch there. This was in part to escape the rain but mostly because we were hungry. I had 4 cheese gnocci and Cory had a seafood spaghetti. He had mussels/oysters and squid for the first time today in this dish and he said he loved it. They even left the shells on for the mussles/oysters so that was an experience for him. We had desert there too. Cory had tiramisu and I had some apple cake. It reminded me of a German apple cake. It was tasty. We also had some bruschetta as an appetizer. It was sooo good. Chunks of garlic were mixed in with the tomatos. Absolutely delicious. After lunch the water was nice enough to point out where we were on the map (we'd walked way further than we thought) and gave us directions on how to get back to Rialto. From there we easily made it back to the hostel where we dried off and I taught Cory how to play Scorpa! (I started to teach him in the restaurant) we played that for a while before decided to venture out once more for food. 

For dinner we had a wide variety of random stuff. We went to a local grocery store and picked up some stuff. We got a loaf of bread, some nutella, sliced chicken, salami, banana yogurt, mixed berries, and some chocolate chip muffin things, a bag of lettuce, Oh, and disposable mini spoons. We saved some of the muffins for breakfast and the nutella is for breakfast too with those oranges. But we did have the yogurt. Best yogurt ever. So creamy and delicious. The sandwiches were decent, considering there was no butter or mayo or anything. Just the bread, meat, and lettuce. Which the bread is so tiny it's adorable, and thin. It's incredibly, wonderfully thing. Just how bread oughta be. Supper was good for what it was. An assortment of random foods brought together by our hunger. 

Tomorrow will we attempt to do Murano. Rain or shine. We also have our Gondola tour booked. I hope it's not raining for that. 

As I'm getting ready to post this I realize that I forgot why the title is named the way it is... I swear it was Cory's idea. We were looking at some shops on the way to dinner on Friday and with one of them we wanted to peer into the shop. The glass was so clean it looked like there was no glass and Cory smacked his head into it. Just like a bird does when it flies into a window. The shop keeper poked her head around and looked at us concerned as Cory worked on cleaning the window. We apologized and everyone laughed about it. I have to admit that had Cory not done that with the glass I might have done that instead. It was freaky clean glass. 

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