Europe 2012: Day 66, Venice to Vienna


View of the Grand Canal (Venice, Italy).

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Woke at 7am.   It is sunny and as I press my hand against the window, it is already hot.   I just have to endure this heat just one more day.

Today is our last day in Venice and we have a small problem — we have to check out of our air conditioned hotel room by noon, but our train does not leave for Vienna until 9pm.  This means that we have nowhere to rest and wait out the heat of the day like we did so brilliantly yesterday.   I can feel that this is going to be a long day and it has barely started.

We take our time at the hotel.   We shower and enjoy our last breakfast here.   With our bag packed and safely stowed away in the hotel office, we enter the heat of that day around 11am.   We get on the boat and make our way to St. Mark’s Square to see the Doge Palace.   I know, I know – the square is going to be a sea of hot sweaty cruise-people and pigeons…

This time we take the slow vaporetto from the train station stop to St. Mark’s square.  This really is the only way to see the Grand Canal.  Here are some pictures:

Just going through the neighborhood.

The colors of the palaces are wonderful!

Pink is one of my favorite colors (and it works in Venice).

I believe this palace is a popular screensaver.

Venice is just so darn pretty!

This is our stop!

When we get to St. Mark’s Square, it is wall to wall people just as we expected it to be.   However, the line for tickets into the Doge Palace is in the shade and it is moving!   Within 15 minutes, we are in the cool courtyard of the Doge Palace.   As always, photographs are not permitted in the palace and ya-da, ya-da, ya-da — click on the link to see what this place is all about.  Best In can tell, the Venetian Doge is something like our US President.   Unlike a prospective US President, a prospective Doge does not require campaign contributions.  He only needs to convince  a few key people that he would make the best Doge.  In the end, what was good for the Doge was usually good for the people too – the jobs and trade fostered by the Doge made Venice one of the riches cities in Europe!

The line at the Doge Palace, Venice, Italy.

The interior courtyard of the Doge Palace (Venice, Italy).

The Bridge of Sighs passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace.  The bridge name comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells.

We spend almost 3 hours here!    We had the audio guide that gave a nice detailed history of the place.  We also followed the posted signs and took a quick walk through the palace prison over the Bridge of Sighs.

After the Doge Palace, we boarded a vaporetto for our next destination of the day, the Ca’ Racizzo Musuem which offers a very interesting collection of antique furniture and paintings and contemporary art.   But first, we stop off to get something to eat since it is way past our lunch time.  We find a nice place far from the maddening crowd and in the cool shade of an old building.  We share a menu of the day (pasta and roasted pork) and yet another cold bottle of water.  After lunch, it is still hot and we have no where to rest so we do the next best thing — we  find a shady table and get a gelato!  Nice!

A shady table next to the gelato shop!

Chocolate and Caramel!

We finally make it to the Ca’Racizzo Musuem around 5pm.   It closes at 6pm so we have to hurry – there are three floors to see!   For this museum, there is no audio guide.   We wander from room to room, floor to floor, looking at frescoes and paintings.   We admire the artistry, but we learn nothing about their significance.   Still, we linger here until closing time.  No pictures allowed so click on the link.

Around 6:30pm, we went back to the hotel lobby to check the internet.  We want to find a nice dinner place for our last night inVenice.  Ideally we would like pizza but there are no good sit-down pizza places near the train station.  We finally decide on a small restaurant across the street from the hotel.  Here, we share another daily menu (pasta and roast chicken) and a bottle of ice cold water.   Around 8pm, we pick up our bags at the hotel and weave our way through the hot streets to the train station.  We pick up a bottle of water and a package of cookies along the way.   We meet our train with 20 minutes to spare!

It is 13 hours from Venice to Vienna, so we booked passage on a private sleeper car.  A “private” sleeper car has two bunk beds and a sink in a single cabin (as opposed to a “general” sleeper car with six beds that you share with strangers).    We found our train and cabin without problems.

But until the train moved out of the station, there was no air conditioning.   The cabin was hot!   I immediately opened the small window in our tiny private cabin and hung my head out the window like a dog in an attempt to get a breeze.  The only thing I got were two mosquito bites, one on each arm.

It is going to be a long night.

Quote of the day:   “It is going to be a long day.”  — DH to Anna as we check out of our air-conditioned room.

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