Day 7 - Florence to Venice

12:03 AM AirplaneFoodCritic 0 Comments

Me in Venice, Italy.

The shutters on the windows of our room blocked all light from getting in so when my alarm woke me up at my usual 8:30am I had no idea who or where I was. We got up and walked down to the breakfast place. It was a little better today. There was a table on the ground floor that we actually fit at so that was already better than the day before. We had our cappuccinos and pastries. I made my usual cold cut sandwich. We feasted on breakfast then checked out of the hotel. We waited at the scary stumps for the man to bring us the car. We drove the convoluted path that got us out of the city of Florence and headed to Venice. The drive is going to be a long one. I think about 4 hours of driving. We hit the highway and immediately stopped. The traffic was so bad that we had to shut the car off. People were getting out of their cars and walking around. We couldn't get internet or English speaking radio so we had no idea how long the wait would be or what was going on. Finally, two cop cars went zooming past on the shoulder. That is when we figured it was an accident. What ever had happened got cleared and we were on our way again after about a half hour. As soon as we began to move again we saw all these cars pulled over at this stretch of road with an extra wide shoulder. People were jumping out of their cars and running up the hillside. They all had to pee. I looked over to my right as we passed and one woman didn't care, she didn't have the time to go into the bushes, she just dropped trou and mooned all of us passing by. I feel for her. We all know what it is like. When you gotta go you gotta go. We, however, made it to the rest stop. We got gas. I was a bit worried we might run out of gas in the traffic but we made it just fine and got some gas, diesel, actually, since it is a diesel car. Then we pulled into the parking lot so we could get some groceries for lunch.
Random side street in Venice.

We picked up some sliced cheese, some potato chips and a couple drinks. I found these awesome Vespa key chains so I got one for me and my friend. We got in line and when we got to the counter the lady rang me up. I handed her my credit card and she got all confused. I guess this massive rest stop, full of people from all over does not take credit cards. I did not have enough cash so I said, well can you just take the drinks off? She said no. She looked so put out by this. She walked away and I was like...well now what do I do?? I am standing there, holding up the line when I hear "HEY!". There was the lady, across the store at some other register that she opened apparently just for me. She rang me up and I paid with the credit card. We found some shade near our car and ate some food. We were excited to have some crazy new drink. It is fun to have sodas that are not familiar to us while we are in another country. This time we had some sort fo lemon drink. It looked refreshing. I could tell from the ingredient list that there was carbonated water and sugar and there was a photo of a lemon on the front so I figured how could we go wrong? Turned out we were drinking tonic water. Husband spit it out and choked on it. I laughed. It certainly wasn't the refreshing drink we had hoped and I would have preferred to have some gin with it but I drank it anyways. Back in the car we munched on chips and cheese while we drove on.

We got to the general area of Venice and drove across a long bridge to where people park their cars. There are zero cars in the city of Venice because there are no streets. Everything is done by boat here. The hotel gave us suggestions of which parking lot to use so we followed signs to Tronchetto and parked the car. The instructions told us to find the water taxi called the Vaporetti and take it to the Rialto stop. We had a lot of trouble finding the Vaporetti station but after a lot of walking around we did find it. A ticket is 7.50 euro and we dragged our luggage and ourselves aboard. What a fun way to get to your hotel! We were near the front of the boat. We got a great tour of the city as we cruised from stop to stop. Our stop was called Rialto. We passed all sorts of boats along the way. UPS has their delivery boats that look just like the trucks. There were construction boats, boats lugging piles of dirt. There were fancy, shiny wooden boats with rich people driving them. There was one boat that had parents driving while their sleepy kid slept all passed out at the bow. And of course there were gondolas. We talked to an Irish couple the whole way over. They are from Dingle. I told them about my last name being Irish and they told us he was going to college to be a pastry chef.
Venice, Italy

I followed the map given to us by our hotel and we found where we were going really easily. Our hotel, Hotel Serrisima, is located right between the Rialto Bridge and St Mark's Square. We checked in, freshened up and took a walk to the square. It was so crowded in the square you could hardly see across. The church was easy to see though, it is so massive and ornate. It is made up of all kinds and colors of marble. We walked around the square looking at all the shops. Glass is very popular here. Glass and carnival masks. I don't know how many carnivals they have here in Venice but they sure love selling masks. The weather is totally bearable today so walking around has been quite pleasant. We saw a sign that said gondola rides are 80 euros. That is less than half of what I thought they were going to be. If we can split the ride with other people, it would actually be affordable. We stopped in a sweets shop and bought some crazy candy. I got some nougat and he got a marzipan pomegranate. They were kind of expensive but we were so curious what these items were like we just did it. We wandered around the streets and bridges of Venice for a few hours then went back to the hotel to rest a while and eat our goodies. Boy were they sweet. The nougat I got was a caramel flavored one. They had all sorts of flavors. The pomegranate was the sweetest of all. It was a dense marzipan and the little seeds were like gummy bears. We took a little lie down after that
Crazy pomegranate marzipan half

We got hungry around 6:30 so we headed back out to find an outdoor place to eat dinner. We chose a place just a little off the main square. I could see the square if I leaned back in my chair. All the cafes on the actual square are only for coffee, drinks and pastries so we thought we had a pretty good spot. I had spaghetti and meatballs. The pasta was a bit al dente but the meatballs were killer good. They were dense and huge. I want some right now actually. Yum! Husband had a pizza that sucked. It had a bunch of olives with pits on it. Who makes a pizza with olives that still have the pits in them? Meanwhile the waiters were harassing the people passing by to come sit at the place for dinner. It was all a bit rude. We could see more of those street vendors out there selling their weird glowy things. At one point a cop came up to one of them and they just fled. They left most of their stuff there and ran away being chased by the police. We didn't realize that it was such an illegal operation. After that we noticed that they had watchers at the corners of the squares looking out for police. If they saw anyone they would message the guys and they would all pack up and run. Crazy. After dinner we were tired and just walked back to the hotel.

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