Mediterranean Cruise

May 2006
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Monday, May 22, 2006, Venice Italy

Today was an interesting day with a lot of running around. Aaron and Terri left just after 4 AM for a water taxi to the airport. Unfortunately it took me a while to fall back asleep. I reset my alarm to wake me up at 7:30 so I could get a chance to take some photos of Venice while the sun wasn't so high. After checking out of the hotel and dropping off my luggage I found out that the hotel had a free breakfast which I took advantage of.

My original plan was to tour the Gallerie dell’Accademia. On my way to the Accademia I passed a number of interesting things such as a Botero gallery, two houses that looking like they came out of a children's storybook, and a great view of The Grand Canal from the Accademia bridge. Once I arrived at the Accademia I decided that with such nice weather I didn't really feel like spending the day inside walking around a museum. Instead I decided to wander around San Polo and try to get a picture of the Rialto Bridge. I had intended to get a little lost so I could see some things off the beaten path, but I ended up getting more lost than I intended. When I was finally able to get my bearings I realized I had walked almost all the way to Piazza Roma near where the ship had arrived.

With it being a Monday there was a lot more traffic on the canals than I had seen yesterday. Everywhere I walked you could hear construction being done inside buildings and boats filled with construction materials where busily zipping up and down the canals. I even had an opportunity to see how the garbage is collected. (They have a special "garbage boat" that hoists special garbage carts over a compactor where the bottom of the cart opens and the garbage drops in without a single piece of refuse spilling into the water.) As I was walking I also noticed how most of the doors in Venice were decorated with fancy knockers, many with images of different animals, lions being the most prominent.

Being nearly exhausted from my wandering I tried to find the quickest way to the Grand Canal so I could find an ideal spot to photograph the Rialto Bridge. Eventually I found the bridge when it was right in front of me and it turned out the best view of the bridge was from the other side of the Canal, opposite from where I had been wandering. I also found a UPS boat, so now you know how they deliver packages in Venice as well.

Just as I was about to start walking back to San Marco, I spotted Shari walking up the sidewalk. We ended up walking around the Rialto market until the time I needed to head back towards the hotel. Along the way I tried to find the Telecommunications museum so I could send a quick email, but after circling the area a few times I was unable to find it and just continued on to San Marco. (Looking at the picture of the museum I now know I walked right past it, but it didn't look like a museum when I was there.) I had a quick lunch at a restaurant across from the hotel and then went to pick up my luggage. It turned out the Hotel had a computer with free internet access for guests, (what a great hotel) so I was able to send out a quick email after all.

From the hotel I walked over to the San Marco stop to catch the Allagunna. I think I planned too much time to get to the airport. I was the only person on the bus, so I had no problem snapping a few pictures from out the window. After going around Venice the bus passed through Murano and then went on to the airport. The busses and taxis travel a "road" to the airport that is actually called a canal even though it is in open water. The canal is indicated by a long series of pilings which the busses and taxies must stay within, much like the lane of a highway. Once I arrived at the Airport there was a bit of a walk to the terminal. Unfortunately because I had arrived so early the ticket counter for my flight wasn't yet available. This gave me some time to call my sister, unfortunately I only got her machine. (I hope they remember I'm arriving today.)

The airline I took, Hapag-Lloyd Express, (now called TUIfly) has an interesting way of boarding. The flight does not have assigned seats so once someone arrived at the gate everyone jumped up and formed a line. Somehow I ended up being the last person in the first group, but it worked out OK. Looking out the window I couldn't see the plane, so I was a little puzzled where they were taking us, but when I got to the bottom of the stairs there was a tram that took everyone to the plane. I ended up getting an aisle seat toward the front of plane on what ended up being a very enjoyable short flight to Stuttgart Germany.

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