Sunday, August 21, 2011

Italy/Greece : Day 8 - Florence -> Venice

We are now half way through our vacation!

We got our wake up call a little late today. There was a little mix up with bags and rooms yesterday. I think they put us in the wrong room and forgot about us. So, we were a little rushed. At least Cheryl is feeling better today.

We boarded the bus. We left minus 4 people and had to go back to find them.

We finally arrived at the Gallery of Accademia where our local docent took us in to see the original statue of David. It was much more impressive than its copy; standing in its own special built alcove!

Now, it's back on the bus for the 3 hour ride to Venice! We had lunch along the way and it was wild! So far we hadn't met any people who didn't speak English. The place where Fabrizio usually takes his groups for lunch was closed, so the bus driver took us to a truck stop... and they didn't speak English. People PANICKED! It was so funny to watch! Since Fabrizio was busy translating everyone's sandwich order, that left the Aus-talian (Australian-Italian) lady to resolve the bathroom problem. The lady who cleaned the room didn't want to open all the stalls... if no one uses the stalls she doesn't have to clean them. Well, she still charged 50 cents per person to use the bathroom AND there was NO paper!

The optional excursion for the day was a gondola ride in Venice. It cost 60 euro per person... which is around $90. We saw that and thought it was outrageous for riding a little boat through the canals, so we decided to skip it. When Fabrizio did the reservation for the boats, he ended up with two extra seats (each gondola holds 6 people). Well, it turned out that we were the only family that didn't sign up for the gondola ride, so he let the kids go along for free.

So we went our separate ways... the kids took the water taxi into Venice...

... to Saint Marks Square...

... for a gondola ride....

AND Jim and I went across the ferry with the bus. Taking a tour bus on a ferry is wild! It's a good thing that Samual is such good driver. He and the ferrymen had to work to get the bus in the exact middle of the ferry for balance, and then pack all the cars in around it.

Speaking of Samual... He doesn't speak English... You know when they say that Italian and Spanish are not far off, they are right. I could actually figure out what Samual was saying. For example, "Piccola borsa nel bus?" is very close to "Pequeña bolsa en el bús?"; which I translated to Jim, "Do you have a carry-on bag under the bus that you want to get out?"

Back to the kids... They weren't on your everyday gondola ride. They were on a gondola ride with a singer and accordion player. There were 8 gondolas and the singer and accordion player were on their gondola. Cheryl said it was very weird how people kept taking their picture and video-ing them from the bridges. TAKE a LOOK!

I thought we were going to Venice too and would meet the kids there, but it turns out that our hotel is on an outer island, Lido Island. So Jim and I set out to explore Lido Island. Which has it's own canals and a beach.

Remember how I told you that the mini-cooper is considered a big car here? Look at this!

And how about this one! LOL!

After messing around, we met up with the rest of the group at the hotel.

We had a nice dinner on the patio; enjoying the sunset with Mario and Carol from San Marcos. That's Venice there off in the distance...

We ended up closing the place down... and Chris found out what it feels like to drink too much wine.

Wisdom of the day: When crossing the street in Italy, be agressive and never show fear...


Mary said...

WOW!!! Love the pictures and the video. It looks like a lovely place and you were right about the people.

BethieJ said...

GREAT GREAT photos Joni! Love the video too!!! So enjoying seeing your trip!! :) WISHING I was there! LOL!