Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Walking Tour of Venice

 Our second day in Venice got off to a late start, purposefully this time. After a few days of traveling non stop, I suggested that we get a later start and sleep in a little bit and Mike agreed pretty easily. It was nice to sleep in and not rush off to beat the crowds. Our days are pretty packed with walking and sight seeing and we're pretty exhausted at the end of each day, so squeezing in a day or two to sleep in and relax is sometimes necessary.

We began the day with the walking tour laid out by Lonely Planet. It takes about two hours non stop, but we stopped along the way, got lunch and stretched it out a bit. I thought parts of the tour were really interesting and it gives you facts about each place, so it's more than just seeing “another church” which is extremely possible in Italy. Instead, it gives you a little blurb about each point on the tour and why it is included. I thought one of the most interesting parts of the tour was through the old Jewish ghetto. The buildings are still standing and you can see how the ceilings (and each level of the building) were low so they could fit an extra level to the building before exceeding height limits. Fascinating and not something I would have known by just looking at the buildings.

The tour also included a bunch of churches, which, unfortunately (maalesef as the Turks say), you aren't allowed to take pictures in most of them. They were ancient churches covered in beautiful artwork. A lot of them will give you a sheet of paper that will tell you what you are looking at and describe it. You can buy what they call a “chorus pass” which will get you into some of the churches.  It's only eight euros for students and twelve for non students, which is worth it since most churches charged about 2-3 euros, but we found that only about half of the churches accepted the pass. This was really our only qualm about Venice was the amount that they seemed to nickel and dimed you. Oh well. I guess that's part of traveling….

Anyways, one of the churches we went into was Basilica dei Frairi, which was near our hotel. Rick Steve does an audio tour for it, which was awesome. He was able to tell stories about the paintings and art throughout the church, as well as why the artist was chosen. He also was able to give history about the church itself, which was nice since this was probably our seventh or eighth church of the day. When we walked out of there, we both were a little churched out.

We headed to the Peggy Guggenheim museum, which is one of the top sights recommended by every travel book and website, but unfortunately they are closed on Tuesdays. We were bummed, but we figured we'd just go tomorrow. By the time we left the museum, we were ready for an apertivo. It wasn't quite that time, so we dropped off our stuff at the hotel, checked emails and did a little bit of blogging and then headed back out for dinner and drinks. We ended the day at a beer restaurant, which was actually delicious. I decided to change it up and go for a pork loin instead of pasta, which was a nice reprieve for my body which was about to explode from the pasta. Mike got wild boar sausage pizza and was very happy, as well!

That night, we found ourselves back at the world's oldest casino. Mike had won big the night before and I had so much fun watching him that we went back for round two. Usually, the luck doesn't continue for a second night, but it did for Mike and he walked away with a little bit more money in his pocket thanks to a little bit of skill and a lot of luck in BlackJack! It was a great end to a fun day!

Step count: 20,206

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