Venice, Italy

Our adventure started by taking the night train from Vienna to Venice. As Debbie and I were packing up to leave, she handed me our train tickets to Venice. What I didn't realize was that she was simply showing them to me...she was not giving them to me for safe-keeping. Later, I told Debbie I would go check out of the hotel to save us time and would meet her in the lobby. I waited and waited. Where was Debbie? What was keeping her?

As the minutes ticked by and my anxiety grew about our making it to the train station in time, Debbie flew out of the elevator looking totally stressed! It turns out she had completely unpacked again searching for the train tickets, which all the time were safely stowed in my bag! I got a cab while she raced back up to our room to get her luggage and we stuffed our 10 pieces of luggage into the cab and were off to the train station!

As we raced through the station, trying to find our train, we had to go up a ramp-like escalator to the upper level...did I mention that we had ten pieces of luggage between us??? It was all we could do to keep our luggage from sliding back down the escalator as it carried us up! As our time of departure approached, we frantically searched for our train! At last we found the right train and were met by a friendly porter who helped us get our luggage hauled up the steps of the train.

Breathing a sigh of relief, we settled into our cozy little cabin and stowed our luggage in the overhead racks. Our porter brought us each a lemon vodka to welcome us aboard!

We settled in for a relaxing overnight ride to Venice. Our porter soon took our order for dinner and we were soon enjoying our meal as the train streamed through the small towns of Austria.

As dawn broke, our train was approaching Venice. I slept like a baby being rocked in a cradle. But Debbie, I think, saw every train station between Vienna and Venice. Our porter brought us breakfast in our cabin and out our windows, we could see water everywhere!

At the station, Debbie negotiated with the water cabs to get us a good price for our ride to our hotel. All roads in Venice are canals, so all vehicles are boats!

There are private boats, water cabs and waterbuses. We had too much luggage to take a waterbus (seen above) to our hotel.
Did I mention that we had ten pieces of luggage between us?

We were off!

The Grand Canal was lined with many beautiful buildings.

Leonardo da Vinci Museum

And a real gondola!

This is a waterbus.

And a Police boat.

As we got closer to our hotel...

the canals became smaller and smaller...

...and our boat barely cleared the bridges.

Finding our hotel was an adventure in itself! When we finally arrived at our hotel...did I mention that we had ten pieces of luggage?...we learned that they had no record of our reservation ...and no rooms!

Oh no! What to do? The hotel manager kindly made a phone call to a nearby guest house...Ca Bauta.Yes, they had a room for us in this newly opened guest house.

She gave us walking directions and offered to allow us to leave our luggage with her...did I mention that we had ten pieces of luggage?...and the guest house would send for the luggage once we were settled into our room.

Off we went...wandering through narrow...I mean, really narrow... walkways to our new hotel. We consulted our maps and her directions again and again. Left, right, is this alley a road? Is this the school where we were to turn? Where was this place?

We stopped in several small shops to ask, but no one had ever heard of the hotel. We finally came to a small plaza, totally lost, and decided to sit down for a cool drink and try to gather our thoughts!

Finally, we set off again, trying to retrace our steps. Again we stopped frequently to inquire about the location of our hotel. No luck. Then suddenly, a man approached us in the street and asked if we were looking for Ca Bauta.

It turns out he had overheard us asking for directions to Ca Bauta and he worked there! This angel led us to our hotel and sent for our luggage!

Finally "home" Ca Bauta Guest House! It was lovely!

A real gondolier!

Hey! That looks like fun! Let's try it!

We did it!

Did you notice that the passengers have to stand? Yikes!

We visited St. Mark's Cathedral. What an incredible edifice!

And we climbed up to the top to look down on the square.

And, of course, we had to feed the pigeons!

OMG! It's Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds!

A visit to Venice would not be complete without seeing the Rialto Bridge Italian Coney Island...full of little souvenir shops!

We wandered the streets; lunched at a sidewalk cafe overlooking the canals and enjoyed the music of the street minstrels.

One day we left Venice to visit neighboring Murano Island.

Tiny Murano Island is a quaint little island full of glass factories.

Murano is much like Venice, though less commercial.

Here we visited a glass factory and saw a master at work.

Right before our eyes, he turned a hot blob of glass...

...into a beautiful glass horse.

One evening after dinner, we rode a waterbus
from one end of the Grand Canal to the other.

All the beautiful old buildings were lit up. What an incredible way
to view these gorgeous old buildings. It was quite a sight!

It was a lovely ride...and so romantic.
Too bad I was with Debbie! :-)

On another day, we decided to walk to the
Venice Hospital to meet the midwives.

Even the ambulance was a boat! For those of you who know Debbie and I well, you can imagine us wandering through the hospital, trying to NOT look like tourists, trying to look like we knew exactly where we were going.

We followed signs for "Obstetrica - Gincecolgia"; Italian for Obstetrics and Gynecology. We boldly walked right up to Labor and Delivery and actually talked to a few people there...but did not get to chat with any real midwives.

My favorite side trip was the day we took a waterbus to Lido Island, a quiet, resort island, not far from Venice.

Here, we rented a great bicycle for two to cycle around the island, stopping to explore anything of interest.

Debbie loved cycling until she found out that my steering
wheel was the only one that was actually able to steer!

We stopped was Lido Beach, where we strolled in the surf, picking up shells and enjoyed the sights...including this cute Italian surfer.

Preggo, Venice! (Thank you and farewell!)

It was a bittersweet moment for us to board the day train back to Vienna to begin our long trip home. We had a wonderful time together, but had be away from home for almost three weeks!

We had an entire cabin to ourselves as we returned to Vienna. We settled into our comfortable cabin and enjoyed the beautiful views of the Italian Alps as our train raced along the tracks...

...and the quaint little towns, snuggled at the base of the Alps.

Our Day Train cabin was a comfy place for a welcome nap!

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