It is 3 pm now so no time to waste. Just picture us quickly getting dressed, brushing hair, grabbing the essentials: phone, camera, money and map.
We agree the fastest way there will be the number 2 vaporetto. We make our way to Plaza Roma and buy a 48 hour transit pass, 30E each good for 48 hours once you validate it. Note a 24 hour pass is 20E so it made sense to get 48 hour pass for our next two days.
We know that they stop entry to the church at 1630 so we have no time to kill.
We hop on the vaporetto making it's way passed the cruise terminal and along the Giudecca canal. Hmm maybe this isn't the fastest way but it sure is pretty and I am enjoying the fresh air.
We get off at a stop that is way past San Marco - hmm again maybe this was not the best idea. But no problem we get off and see a #1 vaporetto right there so we hop on it and get off right near San Marco.
Up over the bridge where everyone stops to take a picture of the bridge of sighs, as we dodge the photo takers and the crowds. Move we are in a rush!
We get to the Bascillica and there is a queue but it is moving very fast. We made it - it is 1600. Note if you have a backpack or large bag you will be asked to check it at the check in spot right under the clock tower - free of charge.
Once in the church we pull out our phones and listen to Rick Steve's audio guide all about the church. Get the app and download the free guides before you go.
It is not busy inside and we are able to stop and enjoy the church at our leisure. Note no picture taking inside at all!
Oh and beware of thieves here too so watch your bags. While in the line, security pulled out a young guy who I am guessing is known for petty crime as this is the third time we have seen him since arriving in Venice.
After about 40 minutes inside we wander out and take a break on the ledge. But a few minutes later security is telling us all "NO SITTING". Argh, I feel sorry for those that really need to rest.
Bernie and I are starting to feel not welcomed in Venice. Seems we are told no, to a lot of things. No sitting, no that no longer runs (when it does), pushing us out of the way, refusing to answer questions, speaking negatively about tourists (yeah we can understand some Italian) and so much more. Now I am aware that Venice is a beautiful spot, and it survives because of tourists, but it seems the locals don't like the tourists.
So we are a little frustrated, especially after being in such a beautiful spot. So we venture away as fast as we can from St. Mark's Square, away from the crowds, the guys selling every possible knock off, the waiters trying to draw us into their overpiced restuarants, all the people smoking, and then our impatience just adds to it.
I want to explore the Castello and Arsenale area more so this is where we head and only a few streets from the bustling St. Mark's we are immediately embraced in calm. It is a double edge sword as most tourist never get to see these areas, but then again that is why we love these areas.
Bernie kicks the soccer ball to some kids playing in the square. A bunch of older ladies sitting on a park bench banter about who knows what, but I am pretty sure it is the same banter older ladies in Canada talk about too. A nun strolls by and says "good evening" (in Italian of course) to us. A mom struggles with her toddler who doesn't want to ride in the stroller. And up above a woman hangs laundry as she sings a tune. This is the real Venice.
After walking around for around an hour we are near the end of the "tail" of the Venice fish. We board a valparetto and take it around to a spot where we can get on one going up the Grand Canal.
We are now on the #1 Valparetto and man is it PACKED. So much for the peacefullness. Thankfully we got a spot right at the edge that provides us with some personal space because trust me if there is space they will use it - and I even started to do this too as if you don't someone else will.
This long and I mean long boat ride crammed like sardines was hard and we were thankful when our stop arrived.
We are trying to go to a vegetarian restuarnat that was recommended to us today by our guide. However when we get there - yup you got it - it was full for the evening. And this is a Monday!
Okay the place across the way looks good and we take a table inside. We would prefer outside but there are just way too many smokers.
Again Bernie gets the house wine and I sparkling water. We each order a vegetable soup, but somehow ended up with the soup of the day - pumpkin. When we ask about it they say this is all they have. Hmmm okay, it was good though and I did manage to eat half of it.
Bernie had pasta for his entre and I was full from the soup. Overall the food was good, and the service fine but not really the best.
Again after eating a bit my tummy is not happy so we start heading home.