May 8 - Ciao Ciao Firenze, Ciao Venezia
We woke up our last day in Florence and did some packing of main things. Eric and I set off on a walk across the Arno to Pitti Palace. It was enormous. I couldn't even fit it all in the frame (wide lens needed). We didn't pay to go inside or anything but just walk around the outside of it.
Seriously massive door
We then walked to the nearby gardens of the palace but didn't go inside those either as we knew there wouldn't be time.
Keith and Megan decided to go back to the San Lorenzo market. Eric and I had some pizza leftovers and market produce for lunch. After everyone gathered up their things and did a final check, we were off to the train station to catch a train to Venice. We had bought our train tickets the previous evening when we returned from our Tuscany tour so we could take advantage of the Mini Discount - definitely do this if you can. I read all about this here from Ron in Rome.
It was a 2 hour train ride to the San Lucia stop in Venezia. Our seats actually somehow ended up being in first class when we selected and paid for 2nd class - added bonus there!
It just so happened that the day we arrived in Venice was the day the Pope (or Papi as they call him) was leaving Venice meaning lots of extra people, no boat buses running, and tons of security around. The housekeeper met us at the train station and led us on a 20 min walk to the apt since the boats weren't running. She didn't speak English so she basically just turned the apt over to us.
|kitchen - we spent barely any time in here|
|upstairs living room area|
|Keith and Megan's room|
So let's just say the apt left much to be desired and probably should have been clearer in their descriptions of things (2 bedrooms + loft really was 1 bedroom + loft bedroom) and could have been cleaner but it definitely wasn't noisy at night and the living room area had ample room for us to sit. I would say we would not recommend staying here.... it did have great reviews so who would have known.
We then decided to go in search of a TI stand to get a map and find a vaporetto stop to get our boat bus passes from.
While doing so we ended up near San Marco where the Pope was departing from and it was pretty crazy.... so we decided to join right in with the locals in getting a glimpse.
See that red spec in the center... that's him.
We were also able to buy our passes even though the boats wouldn't open back until later in the evening.
After a trip to the corner grocery on our way back to the apt, we set out for dinner at a nearby pizza place. It looked like a hole in the wall but the pizza was very good.
We did find out that it was a tad cooler in Venice than it had been in Florence especially with the narrow streets being in the shade a lot from the buildings. Walking around was kind of like a maze at times too as streets aren't labeled well and it's not easy to determine your direction until you end up at a canal stop.
Can't wait to share our next day soon when we go to the nearby Venetian islands :)