Day 2 – Venetian Sunshine

Venezia, Italy

So yesterday’s clouds and rain departed and today was beautiful. Nice temperature and bright sunshine all day long meant lots of walking and sunglasses.

Started with breakfast at the hotel. It’s a nice standard breakfast with lots of choices and fresh breads and pastries. While Sue tends to go for the granola and yoghurt, I found my way to the ham, salami and cheese. Small rolls, some orange juice and a cappuccino and I was buzzed and ready to roll.

Our first stop was right next door at the Church of San Simeon. Just a small little church, but very nice and spiritual feeling.

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Church of San Simeon (L) – Antiche Figure (R)

Next we zig-zagged our way over to the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (St Mary’s of the Friars). The church is very large and contains many beautiful pieces of art. The main object that most people visit to see is “The Assumption”. It is huge and it is beautiful. Some say that it is one of the most beautiful paintings of all time. In addition, there were masterpieces by Bellini and Veneziani that were also beautiful. And overall, it is quite a bargain at 3 Euro.

Back out into the sunshine as we made our way over to the Rialto Bridge area. Walking through the passageways and along the canals was very relaxing, even though the cruise people were out in full force along with the day-trippers. We were told that the crowds are nothing compared to the high season. I wouldn’t want to be here during the high season.

Finally made our way over the bridge and started winding through the small streets until we found our destination – Santa Maria dei Miracoli. If Groucho Marx was with us, he’d say “it was a miracle that we found it”, but he isn’t. It’s just a small church again dedicated to the Friars, but very beautiful. Feeling determined to become holy, our next stop would be the Basilica of San Marco.

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San Marco Cathedral

The streets are fun to walk down, very narrow, very twisty, lots of shops and signs that point to your destination in both directions. It only took about fifteen minutes to get to Piazza San Marco. Turning the corner, we could see the lines of people waiting to get into the Basilica.

Being gentle lemmings, we got in line and then noticed a much shorter line. Checking it out, we were in the line for people with reservations. When we moved to the line for people and groups without reservations, we walked right in. Good thing those people paid their fee to skip the lines.

This is a no pictures allowed inside location, but pictures would not have done it justice anyways. The ceiling is done in a Byzantine style with a gold background and mosaics that jump out at you. The domes feature the same gold background with scenes painted around the inside of the dome. Absolutely beautiful.

By now, we were a little tired of walking and decided to head to the waterfront to catch a vaporetto back to the hotel. The breeze coming off the lagoon felt great in the sunshine. The skies being clear, we were able to take some pictures across to San Giorgio and along the shore before we headed into the canal. All the boats were full to the brim with people heading towards the train station and the cruise docks.

With a few hours until dinner, we found a nice shady spot outside of the hotel and enjoyed some prosecco while people and canal watching. Nice way to spend an afternoon.

One of the guys at the hotel recommended a place for dinner – “La Rosa Dei Venti” And made reservations for us. In the meantime, we headed upstairs to clean up and relax.

Right after we left, a guy with an accordion stopped to serenade the folks outside. We ended up listening and watching from our window and leading the applause section. Sue ran a tip down to him, I thought we could have just tossed it, and told him how much we enjoyed it. Somehow, the translation was missed and he ended up playing Happy Birthday to me. Who was I to ruin it, it would eventually be my birthday.

Dinner was interesting. The restaurant looked like it was a tourist joint, especially when we were shown to a table in the back room. But the meal ended up being awesome. Fresh fish with a medley of vegetables, a liter of house wine and two very happy people strolling along the canal back to the hotel.

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