A Travellerspoint blog

Italy

Venice - so much to say about Venice!

A beautiful yet eventful two nights in this one of a kind city

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Day Nine - Travel from Dolomites to Venice

We packed up our things and began the 3+ hour drive through more of Italy's gorgeous mountains. At one point, we were stopped going through a narrow town because a bus coming the other way couldn't get through. It was entertaining and a little nerve-wracking having to back up and off to the side to create room for the giant bus. Everyone seemed calm and patient like this kind of thing happens all the time.

After most of the hairpin turns were over, we stopped for a quick coffee and cake break. I love how easy it is to find these kind of places in Italy!

Things finally flattened out for the last 45 minutes or so. We parked our car outside of Venice in a pre-arranged parking place for 5.50 Euros per night. Not bad. We trekked our things on a quick bus ride and then rode a hot and sweaty vaporetto for 45 minutes. Vaporettos are Venice's version of water buses. The ride was a little challenging with all our stuff, but we did it. Venice definitely takes more effort than most cities.
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I found a great apartment for around $140 a night. A steal considering it had three bedrooms, a common area, and most importantly, FOUR air conditioning units. Yes! We were about 10-15 minutes from the busy action and loved being in a quieter area of the city.
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Even came with antiques and interesting art.
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We didn't have much time to relax because I had made free reservations for a 15 minute viewing of this incredible balcony view from a hoity-toity mall.
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We walked around a bit more before getting hot and a little irritated. We found gelato and a bar for ciccheti (Venetian tapas) and drinks. We needed to sit and people watch at this point. We walked around a bit more before heading back to get cold drinks for our room. And yes, we let the 17.5 year old order a spritz!
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The family was worn out so I headed out and found some take-out pizza for dinner. DH and I went out for a night walk and couldn't believe the partying and masses of people. I knew Venice was busy but this seemed extreme. It turns out that we were in Venice for Festa Del Redentore. This is one of Venice's most famous events with fireworks, parties, and more. The craziest thing we saw was a man walking down a dead end street that ended in the canal. He was so involved in his phone conversation that he walked straight into the canal fully clothed! We were the only ones around so I tried to help him out. He was fine and seemed pretty embarrassed. His phone managed to stay on land. Not quite the same for tomorrow's story (foreshadowing). At 11:30pm the fireworks started and it was so loud!

Day 10 - A Very Tough Start

I was excited to wake up at 6:45am without any alarm. I knew it must be fate telling me to go for a run before Venice was mobbed with people. Everything started out fine. Sunny, not hot, and I was stopping to take pictures here and there. After 1.5 miles or so, I stepped onto a little gondola dock for a beautiful picture. My feet slipped on some wet algae and I fell hard on my butt and back. AND I DROPPED MY PHONE INTO THE CANAL. One of the saddest moments ever. I watched it sink into the murky deep water below. I think I screamed and swore. Such an awful feeling. I know it's just a thing, but a phone on vacation has proven to be the most valuable tool imaginable. I cried and got up and then had my second worry. How to get back? I had no idea where I was. Venice is a maze. Literally. I asked a few people for directions but mostly just cried and ran all the way back. I have decent navigational skills. I came back and woke everyone with my terrible news.

Once I finally calmed down and took a shower, I realized that I was actually hurt. I had the biggest bruise on my bum that I have ever seen. It was just getting started too! By evening, the colors were magnificent. My knee was scraped, my back hurt, and I had moss all over my legs and arms. What a mess! Luckily, I felt fine and found it lucky that I wasn't like the guy from the night before who fell all the way into the disgusting canal water. But then again, he still had his phone. On second thought, I'd trade places with that guy. I already miss my phone.

After DH assured me all would be OK (thank you iCloud) we went on with our day. But I was definitely shook up and sad. DD#2 deserves special credit for the extra hugs and encouragement. I will get another iPhone when we get home and will appreciate my macbook and the other three phones in our family in the meantime. It will probably be good for me to take a break from my phone. Not that I have any choice.

We made it out for coffee and croissants at the corner cafe just outside our front door. I was shocked that three pastries and two espresso drinks was 7.40 Euros. If you get off the beaten path, Venice isn't quite so expensive.
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We wandered through the touristy parts of Venice to show the kids San Marco Square and the Rialto bridge up close. So many people! We found a recommended spot for lunch and decided to splurge a bit. This would be our bigger meal of the day. The seafood spaghetti was the favorite. The total came to 58 Euros for our fancy-ish lunch. Here comes a small portion of our Venice pictures!
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DD#2 and I stayed stayed out a big longer to do a little shopping. I found a couple of pretty scarves and DD#2 scored some pretty Murano glass jewelry.
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We took a little break in the room to regroup and cool off. Venice is tiring.

We finally regrouped and decided to avoid the masses and tour the "tail" side of fish-shaped Venice. The middle part was just too busy for us. We found more gelato, a place for drinks and cichetti (for dinner) and decided to take another vaporetto ride on the canal. We lucked out and got the front seat for a sunset tour of the canal. A perfect way to end a challenging day.
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Venice is beautiful and unique but after three visits (I am spoiled!), I do believe this is my last. Thank you for the memories, Venezia! And enjoy my iPhone, if some scuba diver ever finds it. Grrrrr....
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Posted by familyineurope 20:06 Archived in Italy Tagged venice Comments (0)

Italy's Dolomites. Wow!

We hiked and took numerous lifts around these famous peaks.

85 °F

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Day Six - One remarkable and challenging drive

We awoke to our last sunny day in Fussen. I got up early and went for a fun to the nearby Forgensee Lake. A nice way to start the day.
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We reluctantly packed our things and left the pretty view at our apartment. Our next place would be significantly smaller and simpler.
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After a quick bakery stop, we hit the road and drove through scenic Austria. I made DH pull off to get a picture of this beautiful lake.
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After just over an hour, we detoured up a steep hill to our 4th luge of the trip in Imst, Austria. This one involved a small gondola ride up a mountain. The set up was amazing but we unfortunately got stuck behind some slow riders and could not go full speed like we had hoped. Still a beautiful view and nice way to break up a long drive.
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After a couple more hours, we arrived in Italy. We stopped in the town of Bressanone for a simple lunch of pizza and gelato. The best gelato I have had probably since the last time I was in Italy. So flavorful. Our pizza was simple but yummy. It was sold by weight instead of by the slice. It filled us up for around $10.
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Little did we know that the last 1.5 hour drive would be the most challenging drive DH had ever encountered. There were more hairpin turns, skinny roads, bicyclists, giant buses, than you can imagine. The dolomites were in full view and drivers of all kinds were out to enjoy. What a harrowing and gorgeous ride! We were so close to the edge that I almost picked a couple of wildflowers at one point. I went between ogling over the views to closing my eyes tight to avoid seeing drop offs below. It was truly amazing!
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We were so happy to arrive at our humble little pension. We were all sharing one simple room for the next three nights. Luckily, we aren't too sick of each other yet and the space is working out.
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Happy hour was strategically located next door to our hotel. A microbrewery of all things! They served snacks with our rare IPA and saison. We were more than happy.
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Dinner was at a family-run place called Osteria Heidi. It was delicious. I had goulash polenta, DH had some yummy steak, and the girls had spinach speatzle. We were all full and happy and ready to explore the area.
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Day Seven - day hikes and lucky weather

After a good night's sleep, we had a nice provided breakfast. I especially enjoyed the homemade cakes, yogurt and fresh fruit. We went off for a hike around our town, Campitello di Fasso. Views were beautiful and we found ourselves in the next town of Canazei.
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DH and DD#2 shared some currywurst. They both love it!

We walked back along the river and had some snacks and drinks in our room. We are missing ice and cold beverages but figure it is a pretty small complaint when we are enjoying such remarkable scenery.
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Everyone seemed to need some afternoon downtime, except me. I left the family and headed up the mountain. I wasn't exactly sure where I was headed but became very motivated as I saw other people heading up and down a well-travelled trail. Google maps was very helpful and encouraged me to keep going up. There are these amazing refugios located along most hikes in this region. The refugios have food and drink and a place to rejuvenate. I walked past two of them before deciding the third would be my end-point. DH tracked me on "find my iphone" and couldn't believe I was so far up the mountain. I was tired but excited to be discovering new terrain. I couldn't stop! I love my family but it was so nice making my own hiking decisions without anyone complaining. Ha!
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I came across a farm with sheep and goats, a man selling honey, some nifty wood art, and a pretty way to stack firewood.
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After the hike, we found a local dairy for frozen yogurt. We tried it with berries, nutella, and honey. So refreshing after that hike.

Dinner was at a traditional place with pizzas and pastas. I love that I can have wine with dinner for $4. Such a treat!
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We are hitting the sack early so for our last day riding gondolas and lifts up and down these magnificent mountains!
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Day Eight - Gondolas, Lifts, and Views. BEST DAY EVER!

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I was especially excited to wake up this morning knowing we were buying lift passes to ride eight different gondolas and chairlifts around Val Di Fassa region of the Dolomites. We explored the Belvedere, Col Rodella and the famous Sass Pordoi. I should mention that the day pass cost around $36 for adults, $22 for kids. It seemed like a very good deal considering the amount of terrain covered.

It all started with the Col Rodella lift just walking distance from our hotel.
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We were awestruck by the views at the top and could hardly stop taking pictures.
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We descended a bit by a chairlift and DD#2 found a trampoline to bounce around on.
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We took two more small gondolas before hiking about 40 minutes to the base of Sass Pordoi.
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We even saw a bunch of Porsches doing a tour through these famous and windy roads. They made a pit-stop at a refugio we happened to walk by.
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After a steep ascent, we took our sweaty bodies to the most impressive viewpoint of the day. Pordoi is also known as the Terrace of the Dolomites.
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This area is huge for both road and mountain cycling. We were impressed by the number of cyclists and history surrounding the area.
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At one point, we were on a large gondola almost to ourselves!
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We hardly heard a word of English spoken all day and enjoyed watching the variety of people enjoying the mountains all in different ways. I felt so inspired and happy to part of the action on an exquisite day. I'm so thankful the weather cooperated!
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After many hours of various hikes and lifts, we found a place for happy hour. Most people were drinking the famous orange aperol spritz cocktails. Delicious! I love that drinks come with free snacks in Italy. I ended the day with a tasty salad. (An entree salad and glass of local wine was $11.) The kids were wiped and had cheeseburgers in the room. What a memorable day and time in the Dolomites. I hope to return in the winter so I can ski some of these famous slopes. I feel like we saw so much during our three nights yet I know we barely scratched the surface.
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On to Venice in the morning. Ciao!

Posted by familyineurope 20:22 Archived in Italy Tagged col gondola lifts di dolomites sass campitello fassa pordoi rodella Comments (0)

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