Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 46: Venice (Nov 1)


We had two days and spent the time leisurely, but you could probably cram this into one. The two main things were to take the Grand Canal Vaporetto tour and to spend time in St Mark’s area (which includes the piazza, the Basilica, and the Doge’s Palace). Make sure you account for opening and closing times for the Basilica and the Palace. We bought a 24-hour vaporetto pass. My original plan: day 1 do the Grand Canal tour and stop at the various points of interest until it gets dark, then on day 2 finish the tour in the morning and do St Mark’s all afternoon and evening.


When we got to Venice from Milan, we did the stupid thing and went to our B&B, which ended up taking a couple hours on the boats and walking to get from the train station to the hotel and back. We should have left our bags in the lockers and gotten them later because that totally messed up my schedule.

We got off the train at Venice St. Lucia station around 1:30, checked in and dropped our bags off at the B&B, but it was around 4:15 by the time we got to St Mark’s and it closed at 6. That was enough time to see the Basilica, but I’d try to allow a little more time if you can. It was also low season so there were no crowds. Entry is free but there’s a strict dress code, no knees or shoulders showing. Read Rick’s tip for checking bags and skipping the line. We used his map of the Basilica and his audioguide (available on itunes in mp3 or as a free download from within the Rick Steves smartphone app – and remember to load up on the maps and audio guides at your hotel when you have internet). There are 3 separate exhibits inside that charge, it was 9 euros for all 3 per person, so we did all 3.

By the time we got done with the Basilica it was getting dark, so we walked around the Square and some of the side-streets until we found something that looked good for dinner – you really can’t go wrong. Then we took the Express Boat #2 down the Grand Canal and then took another boat towards our hotel, until we found out that for that one night, the boats were stopping early so they could change the signs and the stop numbers so we had to walk a couple miles to finish the night.

(Originally published 5/13/14 at 8:44pm, Houston)

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