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Mike's Excellent Adventure to Europe 1993

Part 10: Venice

Ah Venice!  One of the most romantic places on earth!  Just the kind of place I would like to visit with - my boss and his wife?

Hey, I'll go anyway!

So, we began by going to the airport, and we got a great parking place by the entrance to the terminal in between a Ferrari and a Mercedes.  I went in and had my ticket changed.  We came back out and got chewed out by a parking attendant who showed us a small sign that said that the parking lot was for vehicles valued at like $50 trillion lira or so, which our Vectra clearly was not.  He didn't write us a ticket, though, so we escaped yet another international parking incident.

We went to the canal district, parked in a high rise parking garage, and found a water taxi to take us out to Venice.

Parking garage
(Photo: invenicetoday.com)
The parking garage we parked on the top of at Piazzale Roma.

Everyone says that Venice stinks in the summer with all the open water.  I don't know if it was because there was a slight breeze or what, but I didn't think it smelled that bad.  We walked around for hours.

It looks like every single canal.
A gondola in a canal.

Have we been here before?
Another canal.  They all start to look the same.

The first thing we saw was the famous bridge called the "Ponte Rialto".  It is just as cool in real life as it is in the movies.

Lots of tourists at this bridge.
The Ponte Rialto.

The hard part about walking around in Venice is that every canal looks like every other canal.  We had no map, so we just kept walking in one direction until we reached a plaza or the sea.  We first went to the Piazza San Marco.

Lots of tourists...
In this case, we reached a plaza.  This is the Piazza San Marco looking at the columns of Marco and Todaro.

'Who's the dork having his picture taken?' 'Which   one?'
I am in Piazza San Marco in front of the Basilica of San Marco (wearing the same shirt as I do in all my pictures, which I call "Golden Boy" after the Seinfeld episode).  Note the scaffolding on the basilica and also on the Campanile at right.

The Campanile was under construction, like lots of other stuff in   Europe.
The Campanile San Marco, a famous bell tower (and the scaffolding proves this wasn't the one in Vegas).

This palace had lots of cool architecture.
The Ducal Palace in the Piazza San Marco.

Very beautiful, but busy.
A view of the Piazza San Marco with the Basilica ahead, the Ducal Palace on the right, and the Campanile on the left.

Can't tell what there are more of - tourists or pigeons...
The Ducal Palace and the Basilica of San Marco.

*sigh*  Does anyone know what this bridge is called? *sigh*
The Bridge of Sighs behind the Ducal Palace.

Then, we proceeded towards the Basilica della Salute, but found that we would have to go up the canal, cross over, and come back down.  So, I got pictures of it, but we skipped it to go to dinner (a great seafood dinner) instead.

This would make a great postcard...
The Basilica della Salute with gondolas in the foreground.

Lots of tourists = lots of gondolas.
The gondolas (and behind them - the Adriatic Sea!)

After dinner, we walked around a lot more (we were lost), and as it was July 29th, it was nice and hot.  Thirsty, we stopped for a coke.

I found a woman with a vending cart, and I asked her for a Coke.  She didn't speak any English, but she understood "Coke."  She only charged me 1000 lira or so, and I was pleased - until she handed me the Coke.

It was a 15 centiliter (cl) can.  For comparison, a standard 12 ounce can of Coke is 35.5 cl. 

Italians like small cans, I guess.
Here is a comparison of the Italian Coke can with a normal American can.

I pounded it, because I was thirsty.  We walked a bit further and saw people drinking normal cans of Coke.  So, we stopped at another cart.  I told the woman I wanted a Coke, and she started to open another little can.

"No," I said, "I want a big one."  I motioned with my hand how high the can should be.

"COCA GRANDE?" she exclaimed.

"Si," I said, "Yo quiero Coca Grande!"  I found that it was generally easier if I used Spanish instead of English in Italy.

She charges me like 3000 lira, and then hands me this huge can!  This thing was like 7 inches tall!  The "Coke Grande" was a giant 50 cl can!

Wow - that grande can is huge!
A comparison of the "Coca Grande" can with a normal American can.

Thumb's up for the Grande!
The Italian Coke cans get a thumb's up from me!

Too small, too big, and just right...
A happy family of Coke cans.

I got a good laugh from the Coke cans, so I saved them and took them home with me. 

We left Venice shortly after it got dark.  The next day was going to be our last day in Vicenza, so we had to get back in order to be rested for our last day of work.

Continue on to Part 11: The Trip Home