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Northern Italy Road Trip Part I

Author: Jim and Donna C. (More Trip Reviews by Jim and Donna C.)
Date of Trip: October 2010

While I waited I got chased off the platforms that were set out for high tide.  This caused the line to move.  By the time Jim got back, we had lost our place in line…we just sort of blended into a part near the front. 

The cathedral of St. Mark was beautiful!  I kept looking at the ceiling, which had "paintings" all over it.  I thought it had gold leaf galore, only to discover that it was all tiny mosaic.  Fantastic!  The floor was also mosaic marble. 

Each section of the cathedral had a different design on the floor.  We paid four Euros and entered an area of St. Mark's tomb.  It really hit me hard that the apostles were real people just like you and me.  Jim lit a candle for his father while we were there. 

We stopped at the gift shop and picked up some post cards…we couldn't take pictures inside.  A lot of people were taking pictures, even though there were signs everywhere that said we couldn't.  I found that very disrespectful.

After visiting the cathedral we went back into the square and found a cafe where we had a cappuccino and listened to the orchestras play.  Two cappuccini cost us 30 Euros, but it was worth it.  Jim wanted to do this since his first visit to Venice for work a couple of years ago. After our rest we "played" with the pigeons. 

We had some cookies that Donna was feeding to the pigeons.  They would fly up, land on her arms and shoulders and eat out of her hands.  Jim was having fun taking movies of this, as Donna would scatter the pigeons, only to have them come back for more.

Our next venture was to walk to the Rialto Bridge.  Before we left, we did decide to go back to one of the artists and buy a painting that we liked.  We always buy small things because they are easy to carry, only to regret not getting something larger when we get home. 

This time we bought what we really wanted…a larger painting of Venice.  It cost us 70 Euros, but we both love it.  The guy put some cardboard around it with a handle.  Looks like we will need to mail a package home when we get to Florida.  Second day here and we already are loaded with souvenirs -- over four weeks left.  We're so bad. 

We stopped at several shops on the way to the Rialto Bridge, one being a Murano glass shop.  Jim bought me a bracelet and a pendant.  We got lost a couple of times, but finally made our way to the bridge.  We took some pictures, checked out the shops that line the bridge and took some dusk photos of Venice from the bridge.  Hope they turn out.

About 1830, just about dusk, we took a gondola ride.  We went down part of the Grand Canal, took some smaller side canals and came back through part of the Grand Canal.  We passed by the homes of Marco Polo and Casanova.  These home are over 700 years old and are still being used today.  It was a beautiful and romantic ride.  After the gondola ride we had dinner on the Grand Canal. 

Jim was looking forward to having a relaxing evening back at the hotel…until he realized that it was almost 2300 by the time we got back.  Tomorrow we pick up our car for the driving part of our trip.  We are going to spend an extra night here so we can take a day trip into Slovenia tomorrow.

Sunday October 10, 2010 -- Clear -- another Donna day

We woke up around 0700 and had breakfast at the hotel.  We then got a taxi that took us to the Marco Polo Airport where we picked up our car.  We both got our international driver's license for this trip, but it would have cost us another eight Euros a day for me to be able to drive.  We opted for me not to drive. 

Jim had all his documents, passport, driver's license and insurance certificate, so the guy behind the counter couldn't sell us anything else.  We were early in picking up the car and were told, "This is the only one I have for you".  It is a Peugeot, 508.  Looks like a crossover, can seat five people, easily. 

It will do nicely since the one we reserved was not the smallest, but next to it.  Our luggage fits nicely in the back and can be covered.  The back windows have screens so you don't see in easily as well... very nice.

We plugged the Parjama Castle in Slovenia into Lola and off we go.  Slovenia is only a couple hours from Venice.  After crossing the border, we were stopped by the border police.  Apparently we need a Vignette (pass) in order to drive through the country.  We were told that the pass was 15 Euros and could be purchased at the next service station.  The fine for not buying the pass is 300 Euros.  Nice incentive to buy one. 

We stopped at the next service station, bought our pass and a couple of sandwiches for lunch.  The sandwiches weren't very good, but they ate.  The place was called the Hip Hop.  We did buy some Nutella-to-Go (Nutella with bread sticks) that was good.

slovenia castleThe next stop was the Parjama Castle.  Cool castle.  This place is built into the side of a cliff / mountain - very easy place to defend.  This was a "Robber Barron's" castle.  The owner was kind of like what we would know of Robin Hood.  He stole stuff.

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