Friday, February 17, 2017

Italy for the New Year {Venice & Milan- Day 7}

The last full day of my vacation was on January 5th.   I spent a few hours in Venice before my 10:50 train out of Venezia San Lucia to Milano Centrale.  I went to St. Mark's Square first thing just to take in the sights of Venice one last time without crowds...

A classic Venice scene...
The day before I made sure I could find the taxi dock where I arrived, and I even walked down there to make sure taxis were available.  The day before there were 4 or 5 docked there.  

That morning when I needed one, there were none.  Of course!

I went to the end of the dock and tried to flag down some that I saw driving by.  I guess they don't do that?  Because they all looked at me like I was deranged.  

I yelled over at some Gondoliers and asked how to get a taxi.  They suggested I walk to San Mark's Square dock.  I could do that, but I had luggage, and the streets are not great for rolling luggage, plus you factor in all the bridges, and that didn't seem like it should be Plan B.  Plan C maybe.  But not Plan B.

I walked to a very close hotel, and they were nice enough to call a taxi for me.  Turns out the taxi cost 5 euros more to go back to the train station!  Some sights along the way that I snapped with my phone...

So THIS is in fact the most expensive taxi ride ever....
The view from the train as it crosses the bridge out of Venice...
The train station in Verona...
I arrived in Milan at 1:15.  I took a cab to my hotel (a different one than I had stayed at the week before...more on it at the bottom of the post).  I honestly didn't do a ton that day.  I meandered around the streets, stopped in some shops, but my goal was to go back to the Galleria Vitorio Emanuele II and Plaza del Duomo for some nighttime pics. 

Even on the second viewing, I couldn't get over the Galleria.

 The sun was setting pretty early, but it wasn't quite dark yet.  I stopped in the Prada owned Marchesi patisserie which is located on the second floor of the Galleria.
 I got a great seat, and though I didn't see an afternoon set tea on the menu, I created my own with a pot of Earl Grey, some sandwiches...
 one of the blackberry mini-tarts...
 and one of the mini cream puffs.
 I was connected to their wifi, so I enjoyed sitting here for a good while.
Not a shabby view either!
 After I was done with my tea, I headed out to the plaza for those night photos of the Duomo...

 The Galleria exterior...
 The interior at night is breathtaking...

 Another building across from the Duomo and the Christmas market stalls...

 I went back to my hotel to try and figure out dinner.  I passed lots of fun decor on the way...
 I ended up going down to the "river" or the canal for dinner.  I wish I had remembered to bring my real camera because the lights strung over the canal were so pretty...
 Dinner was just ok, but I grabbed a final gelato to eat on the walk back to the metro stop

 One final look at the Galleria...

For my last night in Italy, I was staying at the Hotel Capitol in Milan.  Again I got this by blind booking off of Hotwire.  I had also booked the single room here, but they upgraded me!  Hooray!  After being cooped up in the small red room in Venice, and sleeping on twin beds for a week in general, I was ready for some space!
 And the TV here had CNN International.  Oh how I was having CNN withdrawals, and also, if I had to watch the same BBC stories again, I thought I was going to lose my mind!

The next day was a very long travel day.  I took the Malpensa Express again to the airport in Milan, but this time from the Cardona station instead of Centrale (because Cardona was close to this hotel).  I flew from Milan to JFK, and then on to DFW.

Thanks for following along with my New Year trip to Italy!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Italy for the New Year {Venice-Day 6}

On Day 6 of my trip, I woke up to a beautiful sunny day in Venice.  First thing I did was make my way St. Mark's Square for a tour of the Basilica.  The line had been long on the previous day, so I figured if I got there when it opened I could miss the line.  This strategy worked.

 The mosaics outside the Basilica tell stories, specifically of the theft of St. Mark's body from Alexandria, Egypt in A.D. 828.
 The detail everywhere is amazing.  They don't allow photos inside, but the gold mosaic is unlike any other Basilica you will see.  Google "St. Mark's Basilica Photos Interior" and just browse the pics if you are interested.  It's stunning and worth a look.
 The Clock Tower in St. Mark's Square (Torre dell'Orologio)
 San Marco Column
 San Marco Column on left, San Theodore Column on right

 La Fenice Opera House that was next door to my hotel
Built in 1792, it has seen the first performance of many famous Operas.
 Traffic Jam, Venice Style

 I spent a good portion of the day on a 3 island tour.  First stop was Murano.  We were whisked off the boat and immediately into a glass factory to see some glass blowing.
 We saw this vase being blown, and I purchased a similar vase at that company store.
We had a short time to walk around on our own before the boat left.

 Not enough time to explore much of the island, but enough time to hit up a few stores and take some pics.

 Looking back toward Venice

Next stop was Burano.  Here is the short video I took as we approached Burano.
Notice: (1) their bell tower leans, and (2) the tour guide has the most stereotypical Italian speaking English accent ever.

Burano is a fishing island and also famous for lace making.

 All the buildings are brightly colored and I could not have loved it more.

We had a fair amount of time there and yet, I almost missed the boat because I was so caught up in the lace shopping!

 Stopped in a bakery for some special cookies they make on Burano (they would become my dinner).

 The last stop was Torcello, which is scarcely populated, but is the oldest populated island in Venice.

 The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta on the left, and Santa Fosca on the right.
Y'all.  This was founded in 639, and first renovated in 864.  It is OLD.

 Hemingway hung out at this Cipriani hotel in 1948 when he was writing Across the River and Into the Trees.
After Torcello, it was time to head back to Venice.  Per usual, I took the name of my purse (The Neverfull) as a challenge.
I got some good pics from the water coming as we came back into Venice.

 I walked back to my hotel to unload my purse, and then set out for Rialto Bridge.  I wanted to get there before the sunset.
 The Grand Canal
Rialto Bridge

 The shops on Rialto Bridge
 Sunset over the Grand Canal
 I crossed over the bridge from San Marco to San Palo and walked through the markets a little bit.
Then I meandered back from Rialto to St. Mark's.  It was a route I hadn't been before, so there was lots to check out.  I stopped in many shops and worked to fill my purse back up.
 I like this last shot I took of the day... The Campanille with a small sliver of the moon rising.

That's almost a wrap on Venice.  Stay tuned for the last day of my trip... Venice, and back to Milan.  


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