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Venice, Italy 10/9/2017 thru 10/12/2017

Written by Jeff Drake
11 · 18 · 17

This will be the last post I’ll make about our recent trip to Italy, unless someone has a specific related topic they would like me to cover. If not, I’m going to move on to some other topics I’ve been wanting to write about, although reminiscing about Venice is a pleasant thing to do.

Venice was probably one of the biggest surprises Lisa and I had on this trip. In 2009, when we were planning our first trip to Italy, it was certainly on our list of places we thought we had to visit. In the end we blew it off, as we had heard various accounts from people who said they went to Venice and found it sorely lacking, some said it smelled, others that it was very dirty, over-run with tourists, etc. We felt there were other more important places to see!

But when we started planning this trip, we had to deal with the question again: To go to Venice or not? All I can say is that we are so happy we decided to see it this time and to be able to share the experience with Mike and Denise!

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What an amazing place! It has many of the things that Lisa and I love about travel to Europe – medieval architecture, exotic scenery (yeah, I think I’d consider it exotic)., wonderful food, surrounded by history, (did I mention great food?), markets, city streets that twist and turn, etc. It’s just a fun place! In fact, one of the most fun things to do is to put down your map and just start walking. You will be lost in no time!

Many streets are very narrow and literally do twist and turn and you will cross bridges so many times! According to the tourist info, each bridge leads to a different island. Venice is indeed, a city built on many interconnected little islands – 118 islands, to be exact! But, not to worry! You can’t get very lost in Venice, as eventually you will meander back to where you started or to some familiar landmark. Lisa and I spent the better part of our day getting lost, it was a blast!

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Venice is an extremely old city, which for us, is a huge part of its charm. Naturally, fires are a very serious business since the underlying infrastructure contains a lot of wood. It was funny to come across the Venice fire department here:

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One of the biggest Venice surprises we had was St. Mark’s Basilica. Here, I have to admit my guilt, that while prepping for this trip, I was focused so much on Tuscany, that I just did not read up on Venice much before we arrived. Thus, although I had heard of St. Mark’s Basilica in Italy, I knew nothing about it. So when the four of us were walking around taking in the sights, nothing quite prepared me for our first sight of the basilica. Let me tell you I was stunned! Wow!

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St. Mark’s took my breath away! My first reaction was to think, “Man, someone should cover that place up, it could get damaged!” It really does look like the entire building should be in a museum someplace! Exposed the way it is, I’m glad we got to see it now. The waters are rising fast around Venice and if left unchecked, Venice will be underwater in this century. Currently they are spending billions on a plan to deal with the impending doom.

Lisa did some excellent planning for our stay in Venice. You see, technically, we didn’t stay in Venice, we stayed in the nearest city, Mestre, at the Best Western. Why? Well, for one thing, we had a painfully early departure flight to go home, and staying in Mestre meant we didn’t have to deal with finding a water taxi at 4am; and Venice is damned expensive! Like Hawaii, almost everything people need has to be brought into the area, which drives up prices. And,of course, it’s a tourist Mecca and so hotels and B&B’s up the prices significantly to stay right in Venice. Yet, Mestre is literally a 10-minute train ride from Venice and virtually every train to Venice from anywhere goes through Mestre, which means that there is a train to Mestre on average, every 5 minutes! So, this location was great and worked out for us quite well, I believe. Hats off to my wife, again!

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Author

Jeff Drake

Retired IT consultant, world-traveler, hobby photographer, and philosopher.