Thursday, October 31, 2013

Arriving Into Venice- The Adventure Begins

Our flight from JFK to the Marco Polo International Airport in Venice was a smooth one.
After locating our luggage, we made our way to the bus ticket kiosk so that I could retrieve the tickets for our bus ride into Venice, which I had previously purchased online.
I gave the nice lady my 2 vouchers and she gave me two bus tickets and pointed me in the direction of the bus platforms.
Since I had done quite a bit of reading and research, I knew what bus I was looking for and how the whole system operated for the most part.
Our bus ride took us about 20 minutes to get from the airport to the Piazalle Roma...this is basically the entrance to Venice but more importantly it is as far as where cars, buses, taxis and such can go. Beyond this point, everything is done on foot, or by some sort of boat.
Our hotel was only approximately an 8-10 minute walk from the Piazalle Roma and we had to walk over just one small bridge that luckily had a few spaced out steps especially for us because we were dealing with 3 suitcases, another wheeled bag and two backpacks. The shorter the walk and less steps to navigate the better.
Our hotels location would also prove advantageous when it came to to head to the pier and board our boat. The entrance to the people mover was about a 15-20 minute walk from the hotel but proved to be a bit more challenging.  More on that later.
Upon arriving at our hotel...the Hotel Papadopoli around 1330 hours, we were able to get into our room and get settled in just a bit before heading our onto the streets of Venice.
Veronica and I were planning on getting on a gondola ride but we met this this guy with a boat that offered us a tour for 60 euro an hour. The gondola rides are usually anywhere between 80-120 euros and they last about 40 minutes and they mostly go the same route.
This guy said he would take us to all kinds of different areas and he was good to his words. We could not have asked for a better tour. We went all over the place and actually saw hardly any gondolas on our tour. We got to see things that no one in a gondola ride would ever see. It was really fantastic and we could not have asked for a better deal or tour guide. After that tour, Veronica and I decided to fore go any thoughts of a gondola ride.
After the tour, Veronica and I walked all over the place. Venice is definitely a walkers city. There are fantastic nooks and crannies and alleys everywhere to discover great things to photograph.
During our walk near one of the canals, we came upon what appeared to be the filming of a movie scene with someone trying to "row" a gondola. I am not sure who it was or what the film was but it was interesting to watch them filming on this small canal.
We ended up grabbing some pizza to take back to the hotel with us because of the long day it had become.
As it turned out, as tired as I was, this night was about to turn out to be a lot longer and one that would provide little sleep.
Our really nice 2nd floor room that faced onto a small canal. This would be a really beautiful view and a real plus if it were hot out and the windows were closed and the air conditioning was turned on in the hotel. Unfortunately none of those applied while we were there. We had to open the windows because the a/c was turned off.
Throughout the course of the night, I could hear the sounds of delivery boats...yes you heard correctly...everything is delivered by boat to a dock or pier and then hand truck basically to wherever the product needs to go. There were several delivery boats that night, along with boats that stop to pick things up and of course you have boats that drop off linens and boats that pick up garbage.
Then you have really loud voices talking or what seemed like arguing but from what I was told they are "passionate". I even heard some guy singing loudly to himself at some hour that seemed impossible for anyone to be singing at.
It seemed like every time I started dozing off a new boat would show up and then it would be banging and clanging and all kinds of noise for hours on end.
By the time the morning came, I was ready for a nap but there was no time nor any way I was going to do that...after all I was in Venice and I was going to stay awake and enjoy every moment I was there...whether I wanted to stay up all night or not.
I took lots of photographs on our latest adventure. If you double click on any photo it will enlarge it so that you can see it better.
Here are some photos as we arrived into Marco Polo Airport and from our very first day in Venice:

Just a very small part of the Venice lagoon. The posts sticking up designate a lane or channel that might be just a little deeper for a boat

 Below is the causway that leads into the Piazalle Roma, which is the last place where any car, bus, train, taxi, or anything else like that can go before you get into Venice. There is plenty of parking in the area

View as we landed at the Marco Polo International Airport, which is about a 20-25 minute bus ride into the Piazalle Roma and Venice

 Another View of the airport

From the airport we got on a bus for the 20-25 minute ride to the Piazalle Roma. We gathered up our luggage from underneath the coach bus. 

Here we are preparing ourselves for our journey over one bridge that will lead us into a park and then up to our hotel. It is about a 10 minute walk from the Piazalle Roma but when you are tired it seems longer and the steps on the bridge seem to be more of a challenge than they actually are


 There is said bridge
There is our hotel



 Outside our window was a small canal. Large enough for boats to come through with various deliveries and pickups throughout night







Box of Biscotti that the hotel gave to us
Various photos of lobby and ground level


 The stairs behind Veronica lead into the Hotels' restaurant...I believe it is called the Winter Garden...it has plants and vines growing throughout






 Just off to the right and out of sight is a Piazza with a cafe and tables with large umbrellas to sit under. Where you see this boat is at...this is just below and to the right of our 2nd floor window and it was where a majority of the boats pulled up and stopped during their late night delivery drop offs or pickups. This included the garbage boats too.
 Other room rental and small hotels and hostels were located along this small canal










 There was some foot traffic at night but not a lot. There weren't a lot of bars in the immediate area but it was a good direct way to walk back to the Piazalle Roma































 One of many bakeries that we stopped by to see what they were offering. I tried several pistachio items while in Venice. Found one particular pistachio cookie I liked and of course I liked the pistachio flavor and the chocolate flavored gelato.














While walking around, Veronica and I stumbled upon a movie scene being shot. It must have been a small production because there were not many video or lighting people on the set. If anyone recognizes the guy dressed as a gondolier, please let me know. He was having trouble "driving/steering" the gondola and had someone else in there trying to teach him how to do it. The teacher would then sit down and the actor would try as he was being filmed by the camera crew in a gondola that was in from of him





Below is the tour guide that we just happened to meet while we were walking around. He gave us a boat tour that lasted over an hour for just 60 euro and he took us all over the place. Mostly to places that the gondola rides won't take you, which is what we asked him to do...like the smaller canals and the old Jewish Ghetto. This guy was really great and was well worth every euro. After spending time with him and seeing all of the sights that we saw with him from his boat, we decided that there was no need for us to spend an additional 80-120 euros for a gondola ride. Most of the photos that look like they are taken from a water/canal view point were taken from his boat


Below is an ambulane boat on the move


























































































 Below was once the home of Marco Polo































These are ambulances parked outside of a hospital


































 You can see the Bridge of Sighs in the background














 Cafes are everywhere in Venice


Another mask shop in Venice






















Veronica gave her first tour while we were walking around in Venice...at least it kind of looks that way






















 Veronica standing in St. Marks Square. Hey....Veronica....did you ever imagine that you would be standing in St. Marks Square in Venice one day or sipping a cappucino in Cafe Florian...just like we saw on that travel show on the television???

 Proof that we have actually travelled and walked the streets of Venice but are those really are feet????


Lots of mask shops in Venice...some better than others. The artistry of some of the creations were absolutely fantastic












Each and every cafe was unique












 Kids at play in a local piazza




 Another classic photo that I could not pass up...was nice to see this older couple strolling through town together









 Sights along the Grand Canal
















 Panoramic photos of St. Marks Square and all of the famous buildings around it












 Below is the Rialto Bridge. Shops line the interior of this bridge on both sides and all around it. Very congested area though




Below is a pizza place that I had read about on Tripadvisor and really wanted to locate and try. If you ever get to Venice, you got to try the pizza at Antico Forno ....Ruga San Giovanni (Ruga Rialto) 970 | tra il Ponte di Rialto e Campo San Polo30125 VeniceItaly It is rated #9 on TripAdvisor out of all restaurants in Venice. It doesn't look like much but the pizza is fantastic. You get a huge slice for about 2.50 euro that is about the size of a dinner plate. If you go to the Rialto Bridge and start asking around, someone will lead you in the right direction. A little hard to find but so well worth looking for. If it wasn't so far from our hotel, we would have had all of our meals here.










 We found these really cool narrow alleys and walkways everywhere lined with assorted shops








Saw this big crow just hanging out on the lamppost
 This is something that Veronica and I try to do in each port of call that we visit. We try to find some kind of manhole cover or marking in the street that states where we are ant a photo of our feet with that marker showing that we we traveled there and walked the streets there.
 This was a really cool shop that carried nothing but assorted wooden models to build






















 Caught this young gondolier just hanging out

 Veronica and I were always able to get away from the usual places that the crowds and tourist go to. We visited those areas briefly but we enjoy going out on our own and seeing some of the "real" Venice. We do this in every place that we visit. If we see a crowd going one direction, we will go the opposite and head into an area where no one is going towards and we might never see another tourist for hours on end. It is then that we know we are where we should be....in and about with the true locals




I couldn't resist this classic photo. Great to see that this still exists






























Typical photographer...always a camera in hand...even when getting his own picture taken









 As you can probably tell most of these next photos are during our boat tour











What can I say...the shot always comes first then the personal photos 
























  


























 Various ambulance boats parked outside of a hospital building






































  



 



 Veronica bought a bunch of miniature mask to use in her art work. Many were only 1 euro 



















 We ate this meal outside as we watched people walk by


 More mask shops





 Various Grand Canal at night photos






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