We just returned from a delicious dinner eaten outside on a side street of Venice and turns outs Mama likes her wine. One bottle of wine later and she’s accepting mixed tequila shot samples from random girls trying to get people to buy drinks. In Paris we have “roadside stands” all over the city selling crêpes or paninis to tourists, teenagers or late-night drunks. In Venice those “roadside stands” seem to become “bars” at night. All of a sudden their homemade smoothie stands offer spiked drinks and shots after dark.
We started out the day leaving Paris nice and early. In case you didn’t read my last post, my mom somehow got all the way to Paris with a folder of papers NOT including our itinerary, boarding passes or hotel confirmations. Really it was a folder full of junk mail and much to our dismay all of the really important stuff like our boarding passes got left somewhere in the States.
Well, that’s life, so we decided to head to the airport early and print out our boarding passes there. Good deal… we got to CDG with an hour to spare before check-in closed, got some Starbucks and hit the bathroom. Well that was the end of our calmness. EasyJet definitely offers low prices, but the customer service leaves something to desire. To be fair we decided it must be hit or miss… it all depends on who you get.
We had a few problems. First our flight was delayed an hour and second, the lady who scanned my ticket told me my carry on (that had already been pre-screened and sized) was too big. She made a complete scene in which I had to (with the help of a funny and kind gentleman) stuff my bag into this little metal box to prove it was acceptable. Sorry, biatch, my wheels were sticking out. Well, it was actually quite a scene and my mother got so upset she somehow misplaced her boarding pass. So when I finally got on the plane, she got held back until they could confirm she in fact had a seat on the flight. I mean for goodness sake the lady had just torn my mom’s ticket, so it’s not like she didn’t have one 5 seconds before.
An hour later we landed in Venice and headed to our hotel. The airport is connected to Venice by bus and waterbus. We took the bus because as soon as you get off the airplane there is a ticket booth for the airport transfer bus. It takes 20 minutes and you get dropped off in Piazzale Roma, right past the main bridge.
It took us awhile to find our bearings (to be honest we still can’t read the Venice map). It’s really weird getting used to using canals as reference points. And really, Venice has no roads just quaint little alleys and larger tourists walkways.
For lunch we grabbed a variety of pastries and baked goods, mozzarella and cherry tomatoes, and sat by a canal to eat lunch. One of the tomatoes was funky looking so my mom threw it in the canal and much to our surprise a little friend scurried up to grab it. There are crabs in the canals! And this particular one grabbed and ate the tomato!
Could you imagine pulling up to your front door in a boat?
After this we grabbed gelato from Grom’s and walked around. We saw lots of tiny back streets and also explored a few of the big squares. One thing we definitely did not plan for was the fact that the Pope was visiting Venice the same two days as us! Because of this, Piazza San Marco was pretty much shut down. We didn’t get to go inside anything but…
We were tiptoeing above a small crowd to get pictures of the Pope arriving on a jumbotron when people started running past us in the other direction. We decided to follow and it ended up leading us to the one entrance that opened into the square. From there we could listen to the Pope’s speech and see the famous church. The energy was amazing. People were beating drums and anything that made noise, and after every exciting moment the bell tower would ring. After the speech the bells and the crowd started going wild. The pope was being carried through the crowd and ended up going right past us, twice! I may not be Catholic but it was amazing being there to feel the energy and excitement. The atmosphere was unlike anything I can describe.
The Pope processing by right in front of us!