Tag Archives: Italy

06.11.16 – Day 4 – Venice

20161106_132746Our last full day in Venice and already I knew I wanted to be here longer.  A friend of mine told me that a few days would be enough but I disagree. Next time I come I want to be here for at least a week. There is so much to see and do.  I feel like I’ve barely scratched the
surface.

We’d decided to visit the Museum (museo) in St Mark’s Square in the morning.  The rain had eased off but already the square was flooded so there were raised boards for people to walk on.  I paddled in the water a bit but it got quite deep and my walking shoes were
already wet.  I wished I’d put my walking boots on!

The Museum was huge, one museum seemed to lead into another, all for one price.  I had to get used to the fact that Italian was the primary language on the display signs with English being a smaller listing.  Usually everything is written in English first.  I’d really 20161106_114510.jpglike to learn some Italian when I come back to Venice and be able to at least read it.

My favourite room by far (unsurprisingly) was the library but it was a close thing with the naval display rooms which were stunning.  Hubby wanted to look at the painting but other than the ones in the naval display, a lot of them were deeply religious and not my thing at all.

20161106_120615In the afternoon we went to the Doge’s Palace which admittedly I wasn’t top of my list but quite honestly I’d have missed out if I hadn’t gone.  The architecture is quite simply stunning.  The pictures I took don’t do it justice.  You have to see it to believe it.  Very opulent and jaw-dropping in places.  The detail in places, especially the ceilings was amazing.  20161106_134939I didn’t know where to look.  It is such a spectacular place with so much to look at.  I could happily have spent the whole day here.

 

I loved particularly loved the corridor that walked over The Bridge of Sighs.  I didn’t know it was there and provided a unique view of one of the most famous landmarks of Venice.  I don’t imagine the prisoners were as excited at me as they were led over the corridor, down into their cells into the dark and dank dungeon…

The weather had cleared up nicely so after we’d finished at the Doge’s Palace we wandered down to the Grand Canal to post my postcards.  Dinner was a fairly quiet affair in a small 20161106_141635local place then more wandering to look for tat to take home with me.  I got the pre-requisite fridge magnet but even the tat was quite expensive so I didn’t buy too much.

During the course of the day, I realised that I know very little about Venetian history so I bought a book, along with a cookery book of traditional Venetian recipes.  I like to take something of the culture home from each place I visit, especially when it comes to food.

I completely fell in love with Venice during my time here.  I hope to visit again soon and explore a bit more of Italy because if Venice is anything to go by, it’s the beginning of a lifelong love affair….

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04.11.16 – Day 2, Orient Express – Venice

The first night on the train was a mixed bag.  I got some sleep, though not as much as I would have liked.  The train stopped from about midnight until about 3am which surprised me.  I thought that the train kept going through the night.  The cabin got quite hot so we opened the window.  Hubby commented that it would have been nice to have had the noise from the train as we slept and I agreed.  By the time the train got going, the open window was blowing a gale and I couldn’t be bothered to sit up and close it!

In the morning we found out the reason that the train had stopped for so long was because the train had actually broken down in the middle of nowhere and another en20161104_082658gine had to be brought out
to the train.  As a result of that, we were running 4 hours behind schedule.  We had been due to arrive in Venice at 5:30pm but it would most likely be 9:30pm instead.  An additional ‘light’ supper would be provided for those who wanted it.  A light supper, it later transpired, meant 2 courses (main and dessert) instead of the usual 3 courses!
The Steward advised us to let him know when we were ready for breakfast then he would convert our cabins back to daytime mode and bring in a breakfast of fresh fruit salad and pastries with a delicious selection of preserves.  I discovered that I love French honey!

After breakfast we took a wander up to the on-board shop.  I was disappointed to learn that they didn’t have an20161104_103805y fridge magnets.  I did manage to get an Orient Express bear that I was absolutely delighted with! It was an expensive but very memorable souvenir.

We spent some time in the bar playing cribbage.  It was blissfully quiet compared to the night before but the piano player was still playing.  What a lovely way to pass a few hours!

20161104_122404After we’d finished we headed back to our cabin to watch the beautiful scenery.  Part o20161104_131638f the
journey was through the Swiss alps.  Some was beautiful greenery, others were more dramatic mountains, lakes and ravines.  It made us want to do a driving holiday through Switzerland at some point!

The choice of lunch sittings was either 12pm or 2pm.  We choose 2pm as we were still quite 20161104_144056full from all the food we’d been given whilst on board.  I’d have been happy with something smaller but it was a (delicious) 3 course lunch! Sole for starter, duck for main and cheesecake for dessert.  At this point I felt like I never wanted to eat again!

20161104_164336No chance!  Afternoon tea was served in the cabin and a ‘light’ supper was offered at 6pm.  We declined the light supper.

The rest of the afternoon was spent reading and packing up our suitcase ready for when we got into Venice.  We had a short stopover at the Swiss/Italian border so we could swap over the engine and train crew.  It was also an opportunity for guests to stretch their legs which was most welcome.  I’m not used to sitting still for this long!  Again, there were armed police not too far away from the train.

By about 7pm I was ready to get off the train.  It was dark outside and we were killing time until we were able to get off.  About 45 minutes before we were to disembark the Steward collected our suitcases for sending on to the hotel.  Our hand luggage was also supposed to be sent on but because our train was so delayed we had to carry it with us.  This didn’t go down too well with all of the passengers!

We were met from the train and taken down to the dock to meet the water taxi.  As we 20161104_213115came out of the station, I was struck by the beauty and atmosphere of Venice.  There was a bustling atmosphere with people everywhere.  It’s unlike anything I’ve experienced before.  I just wanted to stop, stare and take lots of pictures!

A small water taxi had been organised to take us to our hotel.  It was tiny and I had no idea how it would get 9 or us plus luggage in there but somehow it managed to.  My sea legs left something to be desired and as I got down into the boat  I had to hold onto one of the guys loading the luggage and the one on the boat.  What a good excuse to get handsy with some Italians!!

The journey to the hotel took about 10 minutes and I was mesmerised by the city.  I didn’t know where to look first.  It was so beautiful and so very, very different.  I’ve wanted to go to Venice for as long as I can remember and finally I was here, experiencing it after being on-board The Orient Express for 2 days.  It all felt rather surreal.

20161104_212936We were staying at The Gritti Palace Hotel, which from the outside looks like a club.  As we were disembarking, hotel staff descended on us to take our bags.  The hotel was quite simply stunning.  I was lost for words as we walked into the lobby.  Beautiful doesn’t quite cover it.  The architecture is amazing.  Marble everywhere and a gorgeous library area with leather chairs.  This was somewhere that I could sit for hours reading and people watching.

20161104_215533Our rooms were no less lavish.  The suite (room is too 20161104_215409small a word) was enormous with huge, high ceilings and a balcony looking out over the canal.  The bathroom was gorgeous with a deep bath, shower area and his n hers wash area.  The bed was big enough for 5 (though we contented ourselves with just the two of us!) and complementary champagne, bowls of fruit and water waiting for us.

By the time we were in and settled it was 10:30pm but we were hungry so we headed down 20161104_23092420161104_230931to the bar to get some (very expensive) food.  We sat outside in the bar area, sharing a club sandwich and cheeseburger watching the sites and listening to the sounds of Venice.  It still felt a bit unreal. I was excited to be in Venice and I couldn’t wait to get out and start exploring.

We dec20161104_223003ided to sleep with the balcony door open even though it was cold because we wanted to listen to the sounds of Venice.  We had extra blankets and I wanted to make the most of the experience.

Tomorrow the adventure was to begin anew!  I had a feeling I was going to love Venice!