Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Venice! Oh my!

We arrived at the Venezia St Lucia train station, got our luggage and met my parents off the train. We were anxious to see what Venice would be like! We had prebooked a water taxi to take us to our hotel. The Al Ponte Mocenigo. We are staying here for two nights, which gives us this afternoon and one full day to take in this city. Not a lot of time, but we’ve gotten used to making the most of what time we do have. This is the first we’re really on our own though in a city we haven’t been to. How would we handle it?

We walked outside the train station and even though I’d seen pictures, for me, nothing could really prepare me for “Venice” until I set foot on the island. I immediately had that magical feeling! In case you didn’t notice, traveling is in my blood! The water, the sounds of the water taxis and the gondoliers. The tourists. It was all just what it was supposed to be. And we were only there for 5 minutes! 

Here we go - I just had to say it...I'll say it again many times this trip, but that won't take away from the meaning "I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!!"  It's a feeling I get when I'm somewhere that I feel like I belong.  This was one of those places.  I felt it immediately!  I got the - "we know mom..." from Megan and Alex...they know me well.  They're afraid I'm going to pack us up and move them to one of these places I love so much!  Hmmm....someday maybe!  

Anyway, back to the journey....

So, now we had to find “our” water taxi. This was a little confusing at first, and maybe we had instructions, but I had no idea where to go to find the right one.  No need to panic...I asked at the first taxi stand and they pointed me in the right direction. After a few docks, we found someone who knew where to go. They made a call and before we knew it, our water taxi arrived.

As soon as we saw the crowded Vaparettos we knew we made the right decision. At this time of day, I can’t imagine we could have fit the six of us with our luggage on a vaparetto – and if we could have, it would not have been quite the introduction to Venice that we had. 

The water taxi ride was short, but it was comfortable and we didn’t have to manage our own luggage. We pulled right up to our hotel, which had a water entrance.

Our luggage was put right into the lobby for us and we confirmed our early morning pick up for two days later.

We were taken to our rooms, which were up a pretty large flight of steps, but we knew that would be the case. Our group had a quad room that was very RED! Very traditional and large enough for the four of us. Two sleeper chairs I’d call them, for the kids, but they were fine. They pulled out to twin like beds and both slept like logs. Anything would be fine as long as they didn’t have to share a bed! We had a queen bed I believe. And a very nice, modern bathroom. My parents had a classic double room.

We got our stuff settled in and went out to explore Venice. We had a gondola ride set up for 6:30 and had plenty of time to get to our meeting point. We asked at the front desk for some recommendations for dinner on our way back for later and off we went, map in hand.

This is the front entrance of Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo. They have a really nice open air courtyard beyond that shorter wall where breakfast is served each morning.

We were barely out of the hotel and on our way ...but it I could already tell what a truly amazing experience for someone who loves to take photographs this next 24 hours was going to be! I could have spent hours upon hours just shooting around every turn. But alas...I had the family with me and they were anxious to move along!  

We had a very leisurely walk to San Marco square, which is near where our Gondola ride would be. We stopped for a snack of pizza for Alex and my dad.

We stopped and looked at many of the masks that are handcrafted there in Venice.

Now this was a different take on the masks!

We just took it all in. This was truly a unique place! I chose our hotel in an area was a bit of a distance from the main tourist area of San Marco square which was nice. This meant every time we went out we had a nice walk!  We were away from the crowds and got to "get lost in Venice" just a bit - which is what I've been told is the best way to explore the city!

We may have never been totally lost, but we certainly got to walk along some great canal side streets!  It was fantastic!

Next up....the rest of our first day in Venice!

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