Thursday, October 15, 2015
Lido di Venezia in Italian, is where we woke up this morning.

Our hotel provides breakfast. We wandered down to the breakfast room thinking that we were going to be about the only ones down there in an empty room. I guess that foreshadows enough to let you know that the place was absolutely packed, you could barely get our food. It was so crowded that the waitress sat us at a table with only one person seated at it. This fellow was a photographer from Germany and this was his last day in the area. It was raining outside and the temperature was cool so not such pleasant weather. 

We took the hotel's shuttle up to the main part of Lido. Lido being a small island on the Venetian Lagoon. It is eleven kilometres long and not very wide, basically a sandbar, 700 meters at its widest point. 

During the hottest months Lido is very much used for its beach resorts. There are little houses on the beach in Rose. We are not sure if they are rented out as small places to stay or if they are just rented out on a daily basis while you're at the beach. When we went and want to the beach there was sand piled up, I would say about 12 feet high. Was the sand piled there to protect the small beach houses from the winter storms? Was it piled there so it could be flattened out in the spring time for a new flock of holiday makers? This was a beach facing the Adriatic Sea. 

Lido has roads as well as canals. The canals are used; boats are tied up on these waterways. The water is a nice aqua color and it has walkways over top just like you see in Venice. 

We saw wonderful homes in Lido, many of which were made of red brick. Some of the homes were trimmed in a different color of brick or they had some stonework on them. The architecture was quite different from that of Spain.  For one thing, the buildings were likely at one time single-family dwelling's but now have been divided up into homes for two or three families. Many homes had rounded windows at the top and were rounded at the tops of the doors. Most homes had balconies and and they also had yards surrounded by fences or hedges. They did not have attached garages. The roofs were red tile just like you often see in Mexico. Most of the trees were deciduous trees that still had their leaves on them, with a few evergreen trees and even less palm trees. 

After lunch we walked all the way out to where the boat San Nicolo docks. It is a car ferry that services Lido.  It is around this point that we were a bit tired and sat down on the bench in the sun. I guess I was more tired than I thought, and laid out on the bench and fell asleep for about 20 minutes. Ken was taking pictures of the area. We discovered where the old military base was, The Fort of San Nicolò, and is there still.  It dates back to the middle of the 14th century. Then we decided to take the bus home. Piazzale Santa Maria Elisabetta is the main transportation hub for Lido, it has water taxis and the bus. This is where we landed yesterday afternoon when we first arrived in Lido.

Friday, October 16, 2015
It was to be an exciting tourist day in Venice, the city of water.

There is no driving of cars in Venice you must get there by boat. There are, Of course, gondoles which will take you along the grand Canal. We, however, took the public transport called a vaporetto. It is basically a walk on ferry. It is easy to get the map and schedule by just Googling vaporetto

We left on our first vaporetto #1 ferry ride from Lido on into Venice getting off at the Zaccoria stop. Before getting there we rode past the Parco delle Rimembranze and many interesting buildings and bridges.
Out of the water we were seeing gondoles and other water traffic. The water is the most beautiful colour of aqua

Near this stop we saw the beautiful bridge called the Bridge of Sighs. It connects the palace of the Doges with its Gothic architecture, and the prisons. The prisoners were taken from the palace through to the prison. The bridge was the prisoners last chance to look at the city of Venice before they were executed. The story makes it less beautiful does it not?

Palazzo Ducale is where you actually go once you are off the water taxi. Another name for is the Doges Palace. You can go in and visit the palace should you wish to.  

 As we were walking along in this area we realized that the rain had caused flooding in the plaza. We had heard that it was worse earlier.

There were vendor selling a type of boots that you slip over top of your shoes for €10. So if you come this time of year to Venice be sure to bring your rubber boots. Very close at hand is another famous plaza, Piazza San Marco. The only way to get around in this plaza was either to have the boots, to walk across low-lying tables that were up above the water or roll your pants up, take your shoes off and walk through the water. We were a bit disappointed because we thought this was supposed to be the highlight of Venice. At least this day it was not a highlight. We walked through the portals that had interesting shops along the way. It had been raining and windy in the morning so it was lucky that we had gotten a late start. The sun has started to come out now and perhaps would dry up some of the water.  We walked past the tall red brick tower called St Mark's Campanile which is the bell tower of St Mark's Basilica. St. Mark's Basilica was really unreachable because of the water. We saw many pigeons in the area who seem very tame. We signed musicians playing at an outside café but really many of the restaurants or cafés were closed because of the water. 

We were not gonna let this spoil our fun and decided to keep walking west of Saint Mark's Plaza. We walked through many small alleyways, perhaps streets, we walked over many bridges which were built over canals. What we saw had not been built recently it was all likely over hundreds of years old. Some of the buildings were not fancy, with perhaps only wooden shutters on the windows. Other buildings were architecturally significant. Some having Moorish arches as the windows, others, rounded arches on the windows, many had flower boxes. Often the buildings were made of brick. In some cases the brick had been plastered over, and in some cases the brick was showing through especially near the bottom of the building. Perhaps this was due to flooding. 

We came to two different small chapels that were both made into music museums. They housed violins etc. from, for example, the 17th century. One museum had displays showing the various steps in making a violin, including the staining process.

Arcobaleno - Pigmenti was a shop the particularly interested in me as an artist. Is an interesting array of colors showing pigments for paint. They also had the makings of incense from Africa which made the entire shop an olfactory experience as well as a treat for the eyes. 

The other visual treat in Venice was that Murano glass beads and artwork. The glass of been formed into shapes of animals, vases, beads etc.

Contini Galleria D'Arte was curating a show for Carla Tolomeo. She did pieces such as huge horses, pigs, furniture pieces also integrating the animal form. These pieces were made out of bright, velvety fabric's, almost having a patchwork effect.  They were very eye-catching and beautiful. 

We had cannoli at a little bakery. The bakery was like a 1940s diner and it had a small Venetian tiles decorating the walls. 

We walked through the Rialto Bridge. It is a real marketplace for Venice. Murano glass and Italian leather goods are two of the big sellers. It is a totally covered in shopping area over top of the Grand Canal. We walked under the roofs of portales that were painted with frescos

While in this area we saw the San Giacomo di Rialto church. It could be the oldest church in the city, from around the year 400. We also found a market selling vegetables, rice and it had been selling fish but it was closing up for the day.

We continued walking past the Grand Canal to Rio Delle Beccarie. We walked over a charming wooden bridge and we also saw a small marina in the area. We also walked passed the Rio Delle Due Torri. In around that time I've really noticed the beautiful colors of the bricks. The age of the brick and the wear on the bricks made them very photogenic to me. We also walked along the Rio di San Stae with its weathered brick buildings.

As the sun began to slowly fade away we found ourselves on the Grand Canal headed towards Lido. We went back to eat checking on several restaurants.

The restaurant we decided on had many locals inside. Ken thoroughly enjoyed his spaghetti Bolognese, he says best ever. I completely enjoyed my egg plant Parmesane. I had I had an orange drink simply because I saw most every other client in the restaurant having that orange drink. According to Wikipedia, it was a, the Spritz Veneziano is a wine-based cocktail  commonly served as an aperitif in Northeast Italy. The drink is prepared with  prosecco wine, a dash of some bitter liqueur such as Aperol, Campari, Cynar, or, especially in Venice, with Select. The glass is then topped off with sparkling mineral water. It was served with ice an olive and a slice of orange.


Saturday, October 17, 2015
Today we took the boat to Venice.

We slept well in the big cozy bed, looking forward to the sites of Florence, Italy tomorrow.

Sunday, October 18, 2015
We had another great breakfast at our hotel Ca Hotel De Moro in Lido, Italy.

We have been noticing that there are people from all over the world eating breakfast at our little hotel - Germany, China, Japan, France, Eastern Europe, Etc. We really rushed out of our room but didn't really have to. We actually made it onto the hotel shuttle with time to spare.

The 5.1 vaporetto, or ferry was the one we were to take out to the train big station, Venice Santa Lucia

We waited there about an hour and a half, and had pizza for lunch. Even though it was relatively sunny outside it was still pretty cold, relatively speaking.

We were happy to get onto the train in our reserved seats. We were lucky there was Internet on the train.  I was able to do Spanish and Ken was able to be on Quora. The countryside whooshed by us quite quickly as the train who is going speeds up to 300 km/h. We did drive by a lot of really good looking farm country with authentic looking Italian farm houses. As we got closer to Florence the landscape turn to lush looking hills. We did seem to spend a lot of time in tunnels under the ground, so we did not see as much of the countryside is we would have liked to.

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