Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ahhh Venice - The Grand Canal

The moment I walked out of the train station in Venice I felt like I'd walked onto a movie set.  I guess I've just seen so many movies showing Venice but I felt like I'd been here before.  Strange dejavu like moment. 

Here is where I went picture crazy - there is much to take when in Venice and my camera never stopped clicking as I figured I could look at them more closely when I got home.
Case point I walked by this church many times while in Venice but was looking out towards the canal and completely missed it (it was under construction as well so that might be it).  It looks incredible inside - I wished I'd noticed it sooner.  I was too intent on finding my hotel with the twisting winding road ways (more like alleys really).
Near our hotel we found a busy little square and a busy little church.  The Chiesa di San Geremia is one of the smaller churches in Venice.  It's actually a very simple little church - nothing too ornate but very busy.  There was always someone coming and going.
At this point I was out of cash and went to get more money from my account.  Turns out that while I notified my credit card company that I was going I hadn't notified my bank.  So I ended up having to take out cash advances on my card.  Not a good idea but necessary - Venice was the most expensive city by far on our trip.
Periodically you come across pretty little hidden gardens like this that seem so quite and peaceful after all the hustle and bustle of tourist season in Venice.
Our first order of business after settling into our rooms was a private water taxi trip down the Grand Canal - a must (but expensive - 120 euro or $180.00.  Seems a bit much but traveling on this beautiful wooden boats with their incredible craftsmanship was worth it.  And handsome Italian men?  Absolutely. Our driver did not let us down. 
One of the many beautiful wooden water taxi's of Venice.  I loved these and feel it's a unique experience to Venice that's worth of the cost (at least to me).
If you're in a gambling mood - this is the Ca' Vendramin Calergi Casino.
I didn't go inside because gambling is not my thing... I work way too hard for my money but I've included some shots from their site for you.

There's a lovely little courtyard just off the canal beside the casino.
The faded beauty of Venice
This is another city that I would love to have more time to really explore.  Maybe next time.
San Stae Church


The amazing architectural details in this city.
Have you seen the movie The Tourist with Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie?  Well I recommend it as it gives you a feel for Venice that mirrors how I felt.  I kept hearing the theme song playing over and over in my head while we moved down the canal.
For those who have seen the movie, this is the balcony that Johnny Depp's character jumps from to avoid the bad guys out to kill him.  The market was a bit empty that day.
A more modest residence right in the middle of everything.  I should add here that boats move with the wake of other boats and sometimes sadly just when you've got a great shot lined up - you find you end up with part of the boat in the frame.

Al Ponte Antico Hotel - a cute little hotel quite close to the Rialto Bridge.

Pictures don't do it justice when you're traveling on the water and underneath.  It needs a different perspective to do it justice.

Again for those of you familiar with The Tourist movie, this is the balcony that doubled for the Gritti Palace hotel room that Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie occupy in the movie.  It has a great view of the Rialto bridge.  Again, the boat got in the way. 



I fell in love with this one - look at all the amazing fresco's on this building façade.  I wish I knew what it was.

The guy in the white shirt standing up is singing opera at the top of his lungs.  He was really good.


The famous Gritti Palace - made famous in the movie and through it's spread in Architectural Digest.  $1500.00 a night if you can afford it.  I couldn't. 

I had to add a photo of it's famous staircase.  This an amazing and famous hotel and would have been my first choice if I could afford that price range.  Sadly it was out of my league.  I did intend to visit the famous bar (move over Hemingway), but couldn't find the hotel when we were trying to walk back.

Directly across from the Gritti hotel - I'm still working on the name of this one.

The Hotel Regina - as you can see the closer you get to St. Marks Square the more elegant and expensive the hotels become.

Approaching St. Marks Square



The Bell Tower of St. Mark Square.
Approaching St. Mark Square - it's on the left.

And here we are...

A special thanks to our taxi driver as I left a package in the taxi and when I spotted him later he recognized me and immediately went and got my package and gave it to me.  Nice man.
Up Next... St. Marks Square and a Gondola Ride.


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