A Travellerspoint blog

16. Venice Time

Fri, Sept 27


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So today we were off to Venice - the train ride was about an hour-hour and a half. We were going to try and figure out a bus to get to the train station, but we just walked it. Finished up our juice and food at the room, then walked up to the train station. We had just under an hour to wait, so hubs got a coffee drink and we sat inside.

We noticed the train was on the track so went over and got on - about 20-25 min before departure. Chatted with a young girl in the row behind - she asked if it was the train to Venice and whatnot. After about 10 min I suddenly remembered the 'validate your ticket' which we hadn't done. Oh poop! I asked the girl behind if she did hers and she hadn't, so we both hustled off the train to punch those tickets. Phew!

It was a slower train and made some stops and started filling up. By the time we got to Padua it was pretty full, but a lot of people got off there.

When we got to Venice, then the fun began. We got out 3 day vaporetto pass then got in line for the vap. We weren't too far at the back of the line, but by the time the next one came, it was quite crowded. Vaps and luggage doesn't mix. Not many people got off at the stop, so we had to squeeze ourselves on and couldn't get over by the side or inside where there are seats, or even towards the front where we can hang on. Nope - we were basically held upright by the crush of people around us. At the next few stops, lots of people were getting off from behind us and you couldn't even move left or right as they just shoved off around both sides of you, not giving you a chance to make room - really annoying. At least we didn't loose anything over the side like the poor lady beside us. She took out what I believe was her phone and fumbled it - it hit the deck and slid right into the lagoon. She was quite upset. I think she was speaking German and was quite upset at the man with her - who I think asked her to take it out and look at something. It got me wondering how many phones or cameras are at the bottom of the lagoon! On one of our vap rides, I noticed a Birkenstock floating in the middle of the canal...lol.

We made it to the room and decided to just relax for a little while after that vap ride. After an hour we decided to venture out and get something to eat, we wandered a bit looking for a place to grab a bite and finally we ate at Al Campanile pizza and got a pizza with hot dogs. Also got some gelato - there was a small store front of a very popular gelato place very near our room (which is the same room we've stayed at on 3 of our 4 trips) - il Doge - I got their crema del Doge flavor, which is crema with orange and chocolate swirled - divine.

We decided to do some shopping - I was on the hunt for some marbled paper and had some places marked on my map. The few we visited today were a wash - either too expensive or didn't have the colours I was looking for. Luckily, I had a few more on my list - and my hubs did pick up a bookmark!

We decided to re-visit the Frari Church - my fav Venice church. Last time we went, you weren't allowed to take photos, but now it was allowed, so I got a ton. It was actually bigger than I remembered! And it is still my fav church (well, it might be tied with the Jesuitenkirche in Vienna!)

After that, we just wandered a bit more, popped into some shops. In the campo right by our room there is one of the famous mask makers so instead of gazing thru the window like on our last 4 visits, we actually went in this time. I would LOVE to have purchased one of the big masks - they were all so pretty. But had to keep it small and packable. A sun and moon mask caught my eye, so we knew we'd be back. Also new in the 'hood was a little grocery store (I can't recall what was there on our last trip, but it wasn't that) so we were able to go in and pick up some snack foods.

Supper was coming on so we went to a place we'd eaten at on the last night of our last stay and really enjoyed - All Amarone. We even found it fairly easily even tho it was down an alley (turn left at the coconut vendor!). I had a Caesar salad and hubs got Bolognese (what we had last time - still delish!).

We still had some wandering time so we were passing by an area and could hear live music. The gates to the courtyard were open, so we stuck our heads in and caught the tail end of 'Hit the Road Jack'. We sat for 5-10 min listening. Some people passed by and stopped and started talking...more Nova Scotians! I had my New Scotland shirt on and they asked if we were from Halifax. I said no - Truro - turns out the man was born in Truro (didn't live there now) and when I said my dad used to deliver milk - he said he used to work for the competition. But he didn't know my dad as he was a few years younger - but I'm sure their paths had crossed at some point.

It's a small world!

Posted by u2traveller 10:24 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

15. 24 hrs in Verona

Thur, Sept 26


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So today we had a lot to jam into our hours in Verona, as the next day it was off to Venice. We went across the street for some croissants and coffee (for my hubs - he finally will drink caffe latte!)

We headed over to the Verona Arena, just a hop skip and a jump away. There we got the 24 hr Verona card, which gave us free entry into a bunch of places, as well as discounts on some others. You couldn't walk all around inside of the area - we maybe spent 25-30 min there total. It was...ok. I guess if you were going to an event there maybe it would've been more interesting.

Next we headed over to Castelvecchio - we actually spent over an hour here - there were lots of pieces of 'things' - statues, gravemarkers, stone 'stuff' - and also some beautiful paintings as well. Plus the views over the river - it was actually nice to walk thru.

Then we went over to San Zeno church - we thought to try and take a bus but couldn't figure out where the proper stop was, so we ended up walking (our card also included transport). The church was quite beautiful with alternating colours of brick outside and in. It is huge inside, and maybe a little empty. Didn't have the over the top feel of some of the other cathedrals we've been in. I was quite fascinated in a few spots on the stairs you could see seashell fossils in the marble. We picked up a sheet with the layout of the church and information about each part. It was getting on past lunch (and another hot day) so we found a restaurant nearby and split a pizza.

After lunch we went over to the bell tower - the Torre dei Lamberti. Our Verona pass gave us a free ride on the elevator (I think, or we might have paid a few euro extra for the elevator). I cannot believe the people who were opting to walk up the tower! I'm not sure how many stories it is, but I would never had made it. The views over the city were amazing. It was a nice clear day with deep blue skies and you could see for miles.

Then it was time for more churches - first was Santa Anastasia - another tall church but with a bit more decoration than in San Zeno. I won't go into descriptions...it had some nice paintings on the walls and ceiling and inlaid floor. Next was the Verona Cathedral - again - a lovely tall church. Beautifully decorated alcoves on the sides. But it being our 3rd church that day, I was getting all churched out.

After that we walked across the river to the Roman Theatre, which wasn't far away. There is a bit of a museum, then we were outside thru the arena (where they were setting up for a performance) then took an elevator up 4 stories or so to another museum where they had displays of excavated items - stone work, some glass bottles, wood carvings - and again - some lovely views across the river. I think we spent an hour here.

Then it was back over towards the arena as I was interested in doing the road train ride. I thought we had missed the last one as I thought they finished at 6pm, and it was about 5:45. Hubs and I got separated trying to find where you loaded on and I ended up sitting for 10 min waiting for him to find me. He had found where you get on. And we saw the road train afterwards as we were having supper, so not sure why I thought the last one was at 6. We loaded ourselves into the back and paid the extra fee. OK, this thing was crazy! I can't quite recall where it went (past many of the places we'd seen) but man - the driver was driving rather fast (tho probably only 20-25 kmh) over some extremely bumpy roads and taking corners like he was in Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift! It was scary and exhilarating and rather painful - as my hips would attest when we got off 25 min later!

Then time for supper. There are a ton of restaurants right near the arena and we roamed up and down trying to find one with food we wanted that wasn't outrageously priced. We ended up at a spot called Mamma Mia - we had pasta and gnocchi and I splurged on a 'fancy' drink (as opposed to water for the 50th time) - not alcoholic - more like a Shirley Temple. I seem to recall it being black cherry something - a little more sour than I expected, but I drank it all up.

Then it was back to the room for my hips to recover from the road train and to get ready for our onward journey the next day.

And we did get great use out of our Verona card - we packed a LOT into our day and saved a little $ by getting the card.

Posted by u2traveller 06:18 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

14. Off to Verona

Wed, Sept 25


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So today was another travel day - we were off to Verona - our first visit there. The train ride was a little over 2 hours and we arrived probably after lunch. We tried to figure out how to catch a bus to the area we were staying, but there was such a crowd around the bus stops, we couldn't figure it out, so we just decided to walk. It didn't look that far on the map, and it probably took us about 20-25 min or so, even tho it felt like an hour. Especially when dragging suitcases. Our hotel/B&B was only few streets over from the Arena, and there were tons of restaurants nearby. It was a little hard to find, but we only passed by it by half a block. The fellow who signed us in told us about the Verona City Card, which we picked up the next day - a 24 hr pass.

After getting settled, we were quite hungry as we hadn't really had any lunch and it was getting close to 4pm or so. They had a few things set out in the B&B reception, but not much (we opted out of the breakfast, tho the next morning the lady there kindly offered us a leftover pastry). We headed back to the main street and stopped at one of the nearby restaurants, having some chicken with grilled potato and lasagna. After eating, we decided to just wander and familiarize ourselves with the city. We walked over to the Castelvecchio and poked our heads in. We walked along the street nearby and came across a little grocery store - it seemed more of a bulk type store, as it didn't really have the traditional veggies/meat/canned goods/dairy sections - we picked up some crackers and chips and apple juice (we had a small fridge in the room), some yogurt and muffins for breakfast and some soda. And they had a great deal on some Ritter chocolate bars!

We went back to the room to deposit our goods then headed back out to one of the gelato places I had pinned on my map - along the way we passed some gals handing out free Lime Diet Coke and Mango Diet Coke - promoting the new flavours - it was pretty good (the lime). I recall the gelato being good, unfortunately, I deleted the spot off my map so I can't recall the name of it. We then walked along the busy shopping street, past Juliet's balcony then headed back to the room to plan the next day and have some snacks.

And the other thing about Verona - it was HOT! After the lovely temps in Prague and Vienna, the cool rain in Innsbruck and the comfortable temps in Bolzano - Verona was downright steamy!

Posted by u2traveller 07:39 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

13. Cable Car above Bolzano

Tues, Sept 24


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A big reason we went to Bolzano was to see Otzi the Ice Man. So in the morning we headed out after breakfast and hubs got some coffee at McD's, then we went into the Central Church which has an amazing roof (very colourful) and was quite nice inside. We then wandered thru the street market we had seen the evening before - lots of fresh food there. Then we just meandered a bit until we found our way to the museum that houses Otzi.

It was quite comprehensive, but I guess the best part was you could peer thru a window into a special chamber to see the actual Ice Man. I felt a little hurried as there were people behind me, but I did a second loop when my husband finally caught up and we both had another look. They had all the things found with him, and theories about his life and death and what he looked like. It was a nice way to spend an hour or two. There was another part of the museum with a different exhibition, but I was getting a little tired. We decided to grab some lunch and go back to the room - so we stopped at a restaurant just a minute down the road and ordered a pizza. It took awhile and I went back to the room while hubs waited for the order.

After eating and resting, we walked over to the Renon cable car that takes you up to Soprabolzano. The views were breathtaking on the ride up. At the top, we wandered a little and got a gelato - there isn't a whole lot up there. We sat and rested for 10 min, then took the little tourist train to (I believe) Collalbo. It was crowded but we managed to be at the head of the line going and coming back, so we were able to get a seat. At Collalbo - again, not a lot to see, so we just enjoyed the view and walked a bit, before jumping back on the train and heading back to the cable car and down to Bolzano.

We had seen some interesting looking shops, so we picked up some gifts for my mom and some items for us, then wandered around trying to find somewhere to have supper. We stopped at one place but left (can't recall why - maybe nothing on the menu, or people were smoking) then found another spot - we had pork and chicken but for the price it wasn't really that great. Ah well, I should have cooked again. Popped into the Lindt store for some sweets then back to the room to prepare for the next day as we were moving on to Verona. Overall - we really liked Bolzano - probably my fav spot of all the new spots we visited - it wasn't very crowded/touristy and the views of the mountains were lovely.

Posted by u2traveller 06:09 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

12. Innsbruck morning and Bolzano

Mon, Sept 23


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Woke up to rain this morning - I ran next door to the grocery to grab some breakfast (juice and some pastries) just as it began. It wasn't a hard rain, but steady. After breakfast we packed up and got the bus (after almost 10 min wait) and went to the train station, where we stored our bags then walked back around the downtown a little, hoping to go into some of the things we missed the day before. I think the rain def put a damper on things, as it's hard walking around a historical part of town which is busy with people whilst trying to hold an umbrella over your head and not get poked in the eye.

We decided to get out of the rain and went into the Innsbruck Hofburg Museum, which is a former palace. I don't think we got the tickets for the whole museum, but did walk thru some splendid rooms - it's honestly mostly a blur - we had less than 24 hrs in Innsbruck and it looked like it would be a great place to spend a few nights so you can have a whole day to explore. After the palace we walked around a little more, but decided just to get to Bolzano.

After grabbing some McD's (yes - again) it was a 2 hr train ride to Bolzano. Luckily, the clouds cleared on the way and it was sunshine and blue skies. Our airbnb apartment was less than a 10 min walk from the train station. It was a nice little spot - when you came in, there was the bedroom and bathroom, then upstairs was a kitchen/dining/living room and a lovely little balcony with views of the mountains. We were right in the historic downtown, so we wandered around a bit, then found a grocery store where I got some chicken, milk, pasta sauce (there was pasta in the kitchen), cheese, bread, small packs of jam, carrots, pop and chips and breakfast fixings. We had to go back twice more - once for salt (there was sugar in the kitchen but no salt) and hubs bought what we thought was small cubes of butter but was actually yeast (?!) so had to run back for butter. It was nice to make a home cooked meal after nothing but eating out - chicken breast and pasta with carrots on the side. There was also a small washing machine in the bathroom, so once I figured out how to work it (thanks YouTube videos) I got some laundry done as well.

After supper we went and just had a wander around to see what we should look at the next day.

Posted by u2traveller 05:45 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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