Italy Day 3

     Our next stop was Venice!  We took about a four hour train ride from Rome to Venice.  It is a elegant way to travel.  I would go by train any day over plane!  They served complimentary champagne and it gave us some time to rest and sleep a little.  We listened to music as we watched the beautiful countryside roll by.

     Once we arrived in Venice I had to make a pit stop at the restroom (too much champagne!).  Welcome to Venice, it will cost you a Euro/person to use the toilet.  Venice is expensive right down to the potty business! 
       We had heard Venice is really hard to navigate and we were the most uncertain buying our vaporetto (water bus) ticket.  I am still not sure if we paid too much, but we got to enjoy a 45 minute ride down the Grand Canal and listened to our Rick Steves audio guide along the way taking in the incredible sights.
 A beautiful canal side garden.
 Fabulous buildings with so much character.
 Our view out of our hotel room.  We got lost right off the boat!  There are 416 bridges connecting 118 islands.  I think we might have crossed half of them searching for our hotel.  Lots of fun with luggage and cobblestone streets.  Max was just starting to get grumpy when he found the hotel.
 All smiles once we got to the hotel balcony.  We made it!
 Charming water streets.
 A photographer's dream with endless beautiful images.
 We spent the afternoon just getting lost in Venice.
 With many things the hype is greater than the reality.  Not here.  It is just as you think it would be.  Half the time walking around I felt we must be in a movie because it was too perfect (minus the mobs of tourist) to be a real city.  We learned that it has a population of only 60,000 and that Venice is losing 1,000 residents a year.  The cost of living is so high that many are leaving.  Many fear Venice will become a just a museum for tourist.
 It was quite charming and romantic everywhere you gazed.
We were asked more than once if we were on our honeymoon.  It's hard not to be in love in such a lovely place.
 View of the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge.
 The Rialto Bridge was completed in 1591.  The architecture was so bold that many predicted it would collapse.  It has stood the test of time and remains a lasting image of Venice.  It is one of four pedestrian bridges that span the Grand Canal.
 After seeing a little of the market around the Grand Canal, we headed for St. Mark's Square.  
 We sat in the piazza and enjoyed the live music played by the drink bars in the square.  It was quite beautiful at twilight.
 A trip to Venice wouldn't be complete without an evening Gondola ride.  It was so romantic and peaceful as our Gondolier rowed us all around Venice.
 The Gondolas are just stunning.  This little mermaid made me think of (and miss) my ladies.
     I almost like Venice at night better than by day.  Unlike Rome that never sleeps, things got pretty quite after 8 pm.  The cruise boat tourist have all left and many of the vendors have packed up.  The lights illuminate the beautiful buildings and the lapping water soothed my tired senses.  Under the moonlight in Venice, in the arms of my man, in a Gondola.  Pinch me, I must be dreaming!

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