August 25, 2015





Florence in the morning and Venice in the afternoon


When we woke up it was overcast, but the rain had stopped. I got ready and while Tom was taking a shower I went to the little bakery to pick up some Panini for breakfast. Once I was back we laid the table and had a long and nice breakfast.

Then it was time to clean up the kitchen and pack up the rest of our stuff which we took down to the car before checking out at around 10am. We had talked about heading to the Piazzale Michelangelo if the weather was fine that day and so we started our drive to that viewpoint above the city. When we arrived we were shocked to see the parking lot shock full. We drove all around the parking area, but there was nowhere to park our car. So we drove along the street until we found a spot to turn around and started a new search with the same results. Tom suggested that I got out and took photos while he drove around one more time, but I wanted both of us to enjoy the view.

So after a third round around the parking area we decided to try and find a spot to park the car a little further away. And while we were slowly driving along the street we saw the beautiful church on top of the hill and there was a street leading up to it. We turned around at the next possible spot and there was ample parking space halfway up to the church. We parked and enjoyed the view from up there and then headed up to the church itself. There was a small cemetery with lots of marble tombs which we visited before climbing the next few steps up to the church itself. We entered and it was beautiful. The artwork was stunning and we spent some time checking out the whole building and the crypt.

I think we must have spent at least 20 minutes exploring. Once we were done we left, slowly walked down the steps and were amazed that you could even see the old city walls from up here. It was just a short walk to the Piazzale Michelangelo and we soon arrived and the view we were rewarded with was stunning. We spent quite some time walking up and down and taking photos before we decided that it was time to walk back to the car and get going. But before we left the Piazzale we stopped one more time to pick up some ice-cream. There was a small ice-cream stand that offered something I wanted to try, Crema Florentina.

So we picked up a small cup and I tasted it while we walked uphill, back to our car. Hm, that first spoonful was not really the nicest I ever had, but some ice-creams get better the more you try. I tried a second spoonful and it did not get any better, it just tasted horrible. So it was put into the next bin we came across. It took us a little longer to walk up to the church and our car again and when we had finally made it there we had a drink out of our ice-box before we left. It took about half an hour more until we had left Florence behind us and we were now on our way to the last stop of our journey, Venice. The drive on the motorway was uneventful and we were happy to have ordered a Telepass, which let us drive through all the toll stations without stopping.

We arrived in Mestre shortly before 3pm and only had to cross the long bridge to get into Venice. When we came close to the end of the bridge we hit the traffic jam.

There are several parking garages when you first arrive in Venice and they are kind of the end of the road. So now we were stuck as it can take quite some time until the cars are parked around that time of day. It took us about 25 minutes and we had reached our destination, the hotel Ca Doge, which even offered a reduced parking rate for hotel guests. There were two cars in front of us trying to get into their parking area, so I got out and headed over to the hotel entrance. And it was closed. So I rang the bell, but nothing happened. I tried the door again and no, it would not open. Rang the bell again and nothing happened. By now, Tom was sitting in the entrance of the parking area and I walked over and finally someone arrived and told us that check in was closed for a few minutes as someone had fainted in the parking area and they were taking care of the emergency. Okay, thatís fine with me. Didnít take more than a few minutes and a very friendly receptionist arrived and told me to follow her to check in. And another few minutes later all the paper work was done and we were just waiting for a maid to separate the beds in our room. The only thing that bugged me a bit was that you had to hand over your car keys and we had planned on leaving all our stuff in the car and only take the carry-ons and computers with us.

So, while we had to wait anyway we talked to one of the parking attendants and they told us that cars that were parked here overnight would be put up on the upper level of the stack garage, there was CCTV and the doors would be closed overnight, needless to say that cars on upper levels would be locked and the keys be put in the office. Okay, that worked fine for us and we removed everything we would need for the nightís stay and took it up to the room with us. It was a beautiful room. There were heavy beams on the ceiling and the furniture fit in perfectly.

The room itself was pretty small but we were in awe when we found out that our room even had a tiny balcony. The bathroom had a huge shower with a large rainshower head and all different nozzles all around the sides. The whole room was done in marble and looked like it was taken right out of a magazine. So after exploring the room we freshened up a little bit and then headed out into Venice. It was an absolutely beautiful day and we followed our usual route into Venice.

There were lots of people in the streets and we even ran into a few newly wed couples. About 20 minutes into our walk we found a small restaurant and decided to stop for a quick lunch. We found a cozy table inside and ordered a glass of red wine for Tom and a glass of Pinot Grigio for myself and a bottle of water and some chips to share. We had a look at the menu and I decided on ordering a plate of Mozzarella and tomatoes, while Tom ordered a grilled  prosciutto sandwich. It took a while to come out, but we were very happy when our lunch was served. We sat and chilled for quite some time until we went on with our walk and soon we made it to the Rialto Bridge.

Most of it was hidden behind scaffolding but the shops were still open and we did a bit of window shopping. We did a bit more than window shopping once we had reached the other end of the bridge and the Disney Store. And after picking up a few more items we walked all the way to St. Markís Square.

There were lots of tourists around, but it was still easily manageable. Our next stop was the bridge of sighs. There is another bridge that lets you have a lovely view of it and with gondolas going through it was really a nice photo spot. We were thinking about walking back, but then decided against it and bought tickets for the vaporetto, a water-bus. Many other tourists had the same idea, so there were loads of people in line and we missed the first one. But we got onto the second one which was packed with people. The trip up the Canale Grande takes quite some time from St. Markís Square and we were lucky to finally find some seats after about 20 minutes being squished in by lots of other travelers.

Finally we made it to our destination and got off the ship. It was just a short walk over to our hotel and we rested a bit in our room. We both took showers and the marble tiles were pretty slippery. After that we watched a little TV and enjoyed some down time. Around 7pm we headed out again, this time in search of some dinner. We walked towards the same area we had been before and tried to find a restaurant that tickled our fancy. We walked past a few of them, but then we came across one that looked inviting and we asked for a table. Getting a table was not the problem, we were quickly seated at a small two top behind a wall, but the owner and only one help were doing all the service.

They worked hard, but since they had to do the salads and make the pizzas as well, it took some time for drinks and food to come out. Tom and I had ordered some Diet Cokes and were now waiting for our pizzas to get done. It took a lot longer than we had expected for them to be served. Tom had an Anchovis and Salami Pizza, while I had ordered a Capriciosa Pizza and we enjoyed them once they had reached our table. It took quite some time again to be able to pay the bill and then we headed outside again. It had started to lightly rain again and we did not waste much time heading back to our hotel. We were both tired and relaxed on the beds, watching TV until we fell asleep.