Friday, October 25, 2013

San Marco Square

One of the first places we went in Venice was to San Marco square.  We had seen it from the ship, but it was even more awe-inspiring and beautiful in person.  And CROWDED!  We learned our lesson- go early in the morning!  It was a short Vaporetto ride from our apartment, maybe 20 minutes.

This is the Palazzo Ducale, or the Doge's Palace.  We took a tour of the inside, and it's just huge.  The tour took hours!

When you look to the left you could see this tower, called the Campanile.  You could go up to the top, but the kids were tired and hungry, so we decided not to.

It took so many tries to get this picture, people kept stepping into frame!

The detail on this building is just incredible!

I wish I remembered who these statues are!

This is some detail on the St. Mark's Basilica.  Part of it was scaffolded, and you couldn't see a lot of it.

More details and paintings!

This clocktower is at one side of the square, and has some really unique things I've never heard of before.  The men on the top that are striking the bell- one is old and one is young, to show the passage of time.  Then below that is the winged lion of Venice (the symbol).  Below that is part of the clock face, where the hour is shown on the left in Roman numerals, and the minutes on the right, in Arabic numerals.  Below that is more of the clock that shows the positions of the sun and moon, and the signs of the zodiac.  In other words, it's REALLY COOL.

This is part of the view inside the courtyard of the Doge's Palace.  There are "No Pictures" signs everywhere, and it was making me nervous.

Hard to imagine somebody really living here!

This is a ceiling inside the Doge's Palace.

Stairs up to the meeting rooms.

All the detail for the ceiling of some stairs!  Wow!

Next you'll see some of the yummy foods we had in Venice!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Venice at sea level

Once we finally got off the ship, and worked our way through our small luggage snafu (I left some on the boat....yep)- we were set loose in Venice to navigate our way to the apartment I rented through Airbnb. We got our water taxi tickets, and took off!

It was so bright and sunny- not too warm and not too cold!

The apartment was at the San Marcuola stop, which we found easily with directions from our host. 

This is a little platform, right off the water taxi, where Maverick ran in circles while we waited for our host to meet us and take us to the apartment.

After dropping off our luggage we got right back onto the taxi and did some sightseeing!  These gondolas are very cool- but very pricey!!

There is so much variation among the buildings- in color and window shape and size.

I imagine that this garden is some of the most expensive land in Venice.

We passed a funeral procession, and I totally took a picture before realizing that it might not be appropriate.  But it was too late, and it was already on my camera- so here it is.  A Venetian funeral.

Mosaics, gold leaf, and paintings- Oh my!

More crazy shaped windows.

This church was beautiful, but we didn't get a chance to go inside.

When we sat down to rest and have some gelato, I looked behind us and saw this.  So perfect!

Next- San Marco square, and some other tourist attractions!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Approaching Venice

The next morning we woke up and packed up all our things.  As we were finishing breakfast we realized that we were already approaching Venice, which is where we were going to disembark.  Even though we had gotten onto the ship in Bari, the flights home from Bari were already sold out by the time we bought our tickets, so we decided to give up one night on the ship, and spend an extra night in Venice and fly home from there.  It was definitely worth it!  

Here is the edge of the islands, as the cruise ship approached.  The water was so peaceful!

These first islands looked like they didn't have much on them at all, but old forts which surely were used to protect Venice from Maritime attacks.

Soon we were getting closer to the hustle and bustle!

I loved seeing these parks and beautiful homes.  What an amazing place to live!

In this picture you can see one of the Vaporetto stops, which are on both sides of the canals.  They are the boat equivalent of public busses, and everyone uses them!  While we were there we bought the tourist 2 day unlimited pass, and it was well worth it!  Venice is walkable, but do what the locals do and take a boat!

We had an amazing view of the Piazza San Marco early in the morning before it got crazy!  It was so cool to just float right by!  You'll see more pictures from when we visited there on foot.  All those little blue boats in front are gondolas.

Is it me, or is that tower leaning a little?

These cargo boats turned and whipped around curves and under bridges.  It was amazing.


This stunning and huge yacht was docked in the harbor, not far from where our cruise ship stopped.  I looked it up.  WOW!

We were definitely ready to get off the boat and start exploring!

More Venice coming up!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The walled city of Dubrovnik

As we headed back to Dubrovnik on the bus it was early afternoon and our bellies were full with lunch.  That meant quiet time for the little ones, and plenty of time for me to look out the window.

The countryside was dotted with little seaside Mediterranean villages.  All the buildings are light colored, with red roofs. 

This was clearly a resort, with multiple swimming pools by the water!

Here is another amazing looking town, with tennis courts and a soccer field down by the water.

Pretty soon we were approaching Dubrovnik and had some great views from above.

Here you can see the harbor and huge old walls.

My seat companion had fallen asleep.

When we got off the bus we were supposed to follow the tour guide for a short walk through the city- but a necessary detour to the bathroom meant we were left behind.  So we wandered on our own.  These walls protected the city for centuries!

You can walk all the way around the city on the top of the walls (but we didn't).

This road was amazing, it was all smoothly polished stone.  

We also saw this beautiful church, but the sun was almost directly behind it, so it was hard to get a photo.  

Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the boat for one more night, and the next morning we'd be disembarking in Venice!