We woke up this morning nice and early so we could make our way to Venice. We took the metro to Milan Centrale Station and found a little cafe where we got some yogurt with granola and fruit and a cappuccino. I am pretty sure that every food establishment in this country has a really nice espresso machine.
We would be on the train for lunch, so we also picked up a salad, baguette, fruit, and some brie to have for lunch. The train we were on was pretty nice, it was the second fastest type of train in the country. While I don't feel that they can compare to Japan's trains, they sure beat out the US train system. They are fast, comfortable, and on time!
Once we arrived in Venice, we had to take the ACTV boat 1 to San Stae stop. This boat/bus service is a huge rip off. I mean we spent 7.50 Euro each to go 4 stops which took only about 5 minutes. Also, it was really confusing to figure out how and where to get tickets for the boat. So we wasted a lot of time running back and forth between the different boat docks. This ment that we were now in a rush to get to the Basilica by our reservation time. So we rushed to our hotel and checked in.
With a map in hand we then had to find our way through the maze that is Venice while trying to run through swarms of humans browsing shops to get to the basilica in time. We did not make it on time and instead arrived 10 min late, but thankfully they people at the cathedral did not seem to care. Saint Mark's Basilica is nice from the outside, but I don't feel that the outside was even close to being as impressive as the Basilica in Milan. The inside was covered in tiny mosaic tiles, the majority of which were gold. This made the ceiling an impressive golden dome. The floors were also covered in mosaic designs. We noticed a few animal mosaics that were really cute. We decided to pay the 5 Euro each to get into the museum and terrace level. This was well worth it even just for the view out over Saint Mark's Plaza. The museum had a number of old mosaics that had fallen off the walls over the years and some information on how they restored some of the mosaics from the outside-in. It seemed like a highly complicated restoration process.
After some coffee and gelato, we made our way to the Doges Palace, just next to the Basilica. This was the home and seat of the government for hundreds of years when Venice was it's own city-state and self-governed. The Palace was sparse in furniture, but was loaded with Renaissance era art. The detail put into the ceiliings in the rooms of the palace were spectacular. I can only imagine the man hours that went into producing buildings like this. One of the rooms in the palace holds the title of the largest room or 2nd largest in Europe. You have to wonder how the ceiling does not collapse. For a room even a quarter of the size, we would now need a large steel beam to hold up the ceiling. Just amazing. Seriously.
For dinner, we went to a little restaurant that was recommended by our hotel (Ca'Bonvicini-which was amazing by the way). Dylan got a squid ink pasta and I got a grilled Turbot fish with grilled veggies. They had some amazing snack food-sweet coated macadamia nuts and caramel popcorn. We shared a half liter of the house red wine, which turned out to be a very good tasting wine. And as if we were not full enough, Dylan ordered a Tiramisu for desert which was so fresh and delicious. It must have been made in house or at least locally from scratch. It had a pale yellow color instead of the typical american white Tiramisu.
Typsy and stuffed, we wandered back to the hotel for the night. A good day overall.