Posts Tagged ‘st. marks’

I Just Got Lost, Every River That I Tried To Cross

May 12th, 2009

May 12

We awoke to street noises and the st. mark’s bell and then got our day started around 9am.  We debated heading all the way back to the train station to check the schedule for our exit the next day, but instead decided to hit the internet cafe.  I also was needing to email our next hotel as they wanted notice a few days in advance, of our approximate arrival time.

We got to the internet cafe, and it was not due to open for another 15 minutes, so we found a nearby street cafe and had an espresso and a cappichino.  It was my first attempt (I think) at an espresso and I must say it was quite bitter, I think I eventually had a bigger sugar to coffee ratio.  However, I had most of lisa’s cappichino and it was the best one yet of the trip.

The cafe opened and we took care of buisness.  At that point we decided to get on a water bus and make our way across the backside of the canal and go to a few churces across the way.  But once on the bus, we had front seats in the air, we didn’t want to get off at the 3rd stop.  So we decided to stay on for all 15 stops and then get off at the last stop and do the Accademia museum instead.  We were enjoying our cheap bus ride, in the open air.  Part of me thought we should just go round and round all day.  It was that much fun.  Though, we got off at the Accademia museum, and before going in the museum, ate some pizza at a cafe right outside.  Mike would have loved this pizza because it was not very high quality and tasted like it was frozen pizza from back home.  Lisa barely made it through a slice, and I wasn’t gonna leave it.  

There was no line for the museum and it was not very crowded.  It started with some byzantine art, but worked our way through art by Veronese, Bellini, Giogiorne, and some Tintoretto’s.  I recall from my trip in 1997, that my favorite two items from this place was The Tempest by San Giogiorne and The Feast in the House of Levi by Veronese.  I’m not sure why I included the Tempest, because on further review, there wasn’t much special to it.  Although, it had a long and complicated history, so maybe that is what I found so pleasing.  Veronese however, I think I really like.  I like many of his pieces, and The Feast I think is one of my favorites.  I also like the story and history behind it.  It takes up a giant wall and is full of details.  I think I could spend hours looking at it.

redentore_sm

Part of me wishes that there were some great museums with just one or two pieces of art.  I think I’d like to once, just sit for 2 hours in front of one piece, reflecting, praying, writing, and seeing what thoughts come to mind.  But in days of fast travel, and even quicker society, there isn’t time for that.  Maybe one day.

Speaking of speed, we made it through that museum in a mere 45 minutes.  Hopped back onto the water bus, with intentions and determinations this time of getting to the churches across the way.  The first church was called Il Redentore (the Redeemer).  This church is beautiful.  Not only is it pretty, but every nave seemed to have a great piece of art by Tintoretto.  I loved the arches, and the domes and the perked ceilings.  I snapped a couple of pictures, but then got reprimanded, albeit kindly.  Il Redentore has a cool background story.

sangiogiore_smWe walked a few blocks and then realized that we needed another water bus, and found our way to San Giogore church.  Lisa enjoyed the beauty of this one more than the last.  It is a gorgeous church with a large campinelle.  It housed great works of art, and we could take pictures more freely, and explore more depths of the choirs and main basillica.  We took the elevator up the campinelle for great views of Venice.  As Dr. Carlander would have said, “beautiful.”  Lisa must be getting at least slightly annoyed, as I keep reminicing about when I was here last, travelling with school, enjoy the friendship of Andrew.  Some things that we are doing, such as visiting these 2 churches, were things that I did and enjoyed so much before.

Along those lines, after San Giogore, we took a water bus to the San Salute church, which when I was here, was our stop.  I was attempting to find my way back to the hotel I stayed at before, so I could show her where we would climb in and out of the window, and how it was right across from where a famous poet once lived. We found the Hotel Messener, but despite going in every alley, could not find my window or the poets house.

tintoretto_smWe traversed over bridges, through alleys, across squares and then more bridges and found our way back to our room.  I did some Snide prep work and we rested.  Then, we went back to the itnernet cafe where I spent a frustrating 2 hours trying to publish my Snides.  The attempt to upload a video to youtube kept failing, I would get typed and insert a bunch of photos and tags, and then the computer or server would freeze and when I would re-enter into the right page, I’d find that I lost 20-30 minutes of work.  We kept buying 30 minute increments, and eventually I completed (all but the youtube video) of my posts up until Venice.

We then walked about 45 minutes looking for the perfect place to enjoy our last meal in Venice.  Sadly, we didn’t find the perfect place, but gave up  looking cause we were tired of walking, and energetic for food.  I had a caprese that was substandard and Lisa ate some very good minnestrone soup.  My next plate was Spaghetti Pomodoro which was very delicious, and she had a pizza Margerhita that was substandard.  All of this chased down by frizzante (Peligrino).

We made our way back to our hotel, stopping briefly to take some very nice pictures in St. Mark’s square, as the sky light was perfect.  We tried to set an alarm lisa downloaded for her computer as we were going to attempt to wake up at 5:00 am so that we could catch the 6:00 am water bus, that would get us to the train station by 6:30 so that we could catch the 7:20 train ride to the Cinque Terre.  This train ride would take approximatley 7 hours so we didn’t want to miss the early train as the next one was 2 hours later and wouldn’t get us to our destination till 6pm.

Needless to say, I was not expecting a great night of sleep, as I had my doubts on if the alarm would work.  Little did I know, that it was going to be an even worse night of sleep than I expected and would still end in failure, with slight redemption.

stmarksdusk_sm

Colorfull And Crowded

May 11th, 2009

May 11th 

We found a waterbus to the St.Mark’s stop since we knew our hotel was somewhat near there.  Boy was it crowded.  It was late morning and the crowds filled the waterways and st. mark’s square.  We tried to find our hotel, but got lost.  Store owners had no idea what hotel we were talking about.  Eventually though, we came across it, and it was right near where we had been.  I left lisa in the downstairs foye and walked upstairs to a tiny hotel reception/office that was filled with 3 people.  Their reservation system was a handy desk/notebook calendar and she was busy writing in pencil and erasing inforation.  It was a chaotic office with one young lady (our age or younger) taking our passports and writing down information, an older lady (60’s) scribbling in the calendar, and a gentleman (her husband?) grabbing the keys and getting directions from the lady.  It was 80 euro’s cash and she tried to explain that because we were paying cash and staying in the annex, that we were getting the cheapest deal.

orangecurtains_smThe gentleman took us to our room which was around the corner.  We were given a keychain with 4 keys on it:  the street-side door, the hallway door, the bedroom door and one to stick into the light socket to power the lights.  Our room was funky and colorful with bright burnt orange curtains on 3 windows that overlooked the street and would become noisy at night.  It was a cozy room and we didn’t see the landlord again.  It had a bidet, and this time I used it, but mainly as a refreshment from long days of walking and getting lost.

bolognaese_sm

We set out to walk around venice, and after about an hour, we came across a restraunt called Il Paradiso, and thus far, might rate as the best meal yet (though every meal is a slice of heaven).  We ordered a bottle of their own house wine, caprese, gnochi with bolagnese and pennecita with bolagnese.  Everything was perfect.  It was a cute, street-side cafe with lovely atmosphere.  I think I drink four glasses of wine to every one that Lisa drinks.  I was trying to get her to drink faster, cause I wasn’t able to slow myself down.  My new mantra:  Slow meals, slow living, fast drinking.

Venice is certainly a picturesque location.  Nothing like it exists in the world as far as I know.  Water that leads right up to buildings, with zero sand or gradual shore.  It’s truely breathtaking.  It is very colorful, and during the day, very crowded.  It is full of people and personality.

davidboxers_smWe came across a street vendor, and I bought a pair of joke boxers for Cameron–the statue of David’s genital area.

We jumped on a gondola ride that ended up being a much shorter trip than promised, so it wasn’t really worth the cost of the 80 euros.  However, it was really pleasurable thing to do, and was the first time I ever rode a gondola.  I found myself during this entire trip to Venice remarking that it must have been crazy back in the day when there was much less canal traffic, and more just gondolas.  Now, the canal is crazy busy between water buses, water taxi’s, gondola  boats, and private personal boats.  Our gondola ride took us thru some back waterways and was very pleasant.  However, when we exited the boat, I left the blue bag with Cam’s boxers.  Sucks.

We started walking some more, and eventually we found ourselves to have traversed most of the main island and was far from where we thought we were.  That is something you should be aware of if you ever come to Venice.  You will get lost.  There is no doubt about that.  Every street is a winding narrow street, with no views of landmarks, and they lead you from one square to the next, to a bridge, to another.  However, during our few hour trek, we happened to find ourselves again back near where we caught our gondola ride.  A few askings around, showing the picture of our gondalier to other gondaliers, and we eventually came across our lost blue bag.  So good for Cam, even though, they probably won’t fit anyway.

We found ourselves back to our hotel approximately 5:30 pm and was perfect timing for a siesta.  Our legs were beat from all the walking we have been doing, all the exploring we have accomplished while being lost.

gondola_sm

Slept for a few hours, and then forced ourselves up around 8:30 pm. Went out towards St. Mark’s square (1 block away really), and it was dusk.  It stays light late here, usually till about 9:30.  There were many cafe’s and restraunts that have chairs out in the middle of the square, and serve food, and have live bands playing contemporary favorite songs.  We sat at one that included a violinist, a clarinet, fluetist (jazz flute?), an accordian, a standing bass, and a pianist.  Shared a caprese pomodoro panini and a 12 euro bottle of coke.  Although it may have been a tourist trap of a place (high prices, cover charge etc), the atmosphere, the scenery, the music, the company, were all worth it.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5hOefbno8M

Earth To Italy

April 27th, 2009

So I have been planning a trip to Italy to travel around as well as to visit my parents.  Finding hotels has not been an easy process.  For instance, during my time in Rome, there will be a sporting event that could equate to our Super Bowl. Google Earth has this great feature where you can turn on icons to represent lodging.  But even with that great tool, almost every place I searched for in Rome ended up being unavailable.  Eventually I found a place through http://www.vrbo.com.  

I figured out general locations where I wanted to be situated in each city.  Then, when looking for a room, often the hotel would claim that they are near that location.  But Google Earth has been a great tool in this.  I would merely punch in the address of the hotel, and it would show me exactly where it was in relation to where I wanted to be.  You would be surprised at how many hotels claimed to be near the Duomo in Florence, only to be not so close.

At this point I have everywhere booked, except for 3 nights – 2 of those nights are in the Cinque Terre.  Here are the screenshots from Google Earth and websites where appropriate.

 
Here is my itinerary:

  • May 7th leave San Diego
  • 8th land in Milan
  • 8-9 Lake Como
  • 10th Milan (I am hoping to  get tickets to the soccer game or the opera as a fallback)
  • 11-12 Venice
  • 13-14 Cinque Terre
  • 15, 16, 17, 18 Florence
  • 19, 20, 21, 22 Montalcino
  • 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 Rome
  • May 28th Fly home

 

Lake Como
La Pergola

La Pergola, Hotel and Restaurant, drawn from a sixteenth century-building, lies by the lake, in a most typical fishermen’s hamlet called Pescallo, right on a shore of the promontory of Bellagio, turning south-east and facing the Lecco branch of Lake Como. The House was drawn from a building dating back to 1500, and assigned to a convent in the past centuries. The centre of Bellagio is but 10 minutes’ walk, among the luxuriant olive trees and mediterranean vegetation spread out on the Spartivento Point.

La Pergola

 

Milan
Best Western Cristoforo Colombo
About a 15 minute walk from the train station and about a 15 minute walk from the Duomo.  Im desperately hoping to get tickets to the Juve v. Milan soccer game, but am considering the opera as a backup plan.

milanhotel

Venice
Hotel Ai Do Mori
They have a crappy website.  They need Gorirra.  But it is only about 10 meters from St. Mark’s Square.  

Venice Hotel

 

Cinque Terre
Vernazza
Ivo Camere
The apartment which is also in the center of the town is accessible via a characteristic “carugio” (small side street) and is steps away from the piazza and the sea. 

vernazzahotel

 

Florence
Brunelleschi Hotel 
Hotel Brunelleschi is located in the middle, pedestrian area of the historical center of Florence, just steps away from the Cathedral and the Signoria Square, from a part overlooking the Via Calzaiuoli.

Florence Hotel

 

Montalcino
With My Parents
Next time I get the address from my parents, I’ll take a Google Earth pic.

montalcino

 

Rome
Private Apartment
its perfect location. From there the most important sights of the City can be reached with a short walk. You are just in the heart of the centre. 200 metres from Piazza Navona and Pantheon, 300 metres from Spanish Steps or Trevi Fountain and, in the opposite direction, just crossing the Tiber, you can reach Sant’Angelo Castel and St.Peter Cathedral (400 metres).

Rome Apartment

Fun Fact #5,033

April 18th, 2009

I recently started messing around with a vhs to dvd converter.  I have been practicing with an old vhs tape from a trip I took with school through Europe.  It was the best time of my life.  Here is Andrew dropping dimes of knowledge on us from St. Mark’s in Venice.

This Week I'm Thinking About: John Embree