DAY 4: We were up bright and early and at the train station by 6:30 so we could get our tickets for the day and catch the first train at 7 out of the Cinque Terre. Our train day was looking a little hectic but manageable. We took the train to La Spezia (just outside the Cinque Terre) where we had a 5 minute stop over and luckily our next train left from the otherside of the platform we got dropped off on. So off one train and onto the next. We again switched trains in Pisa. And then again switched trains in Florence SMN. Our last train was a “Speed” luxury train which was great since the train had restrooms on it and none of the other “local” trains did. We were in Venice St. Lucia train station roughly about 12. Which was pretty great timing we thought.
Well… we then had another boat ride on the public transport boat service to San Marco square. lol But it was fun to look out the windows( since we were quite crammed on this boat with our luggage)
Right: us on the hour long boat ride to San Marco square.
Luckily I had google earthed our hotel for the night and pretty much knew exactly how to get there. So we set off across San Marco’s square and checked in at our hotel roughly around 1:30. Our hotel was like one block over from the main square so a pretty great location all in all.
We set out to explore and find some lunch (some small cheese pizzas on the cheaper side) and soon thereafter found ourselves paying the 80 euro/ boat fee to take a 30 minute gondola ride. WORTH it. It was perfect. Exactly as I’d imagined. Our gondolier took us up these quiet abandoned side canals and ended it with probably 5- 10 minutes on the grand canal in glorious sun light. Braden and I were all cozied up just taking it all in. So, so worth it.
When we got dropped off, it took us a minute to sort out how to get back to the main square. lol It’s true what they say about how easy it is to get lost in Venice. but we managed to locate at ATM so restock our euro cash (as the gondola ride had seriously depleted it) and then we went and toured the Dodge Palace which was one of the other top things I really wanted to see in the city
It’s such an immaculate palace as well so I’m glad we handed over the 16 euro/ person entry fee to see it. I think it was the most lavish thing Braden got to see. Gold and painted ceilings with huge frames also making up the art work all around. We also passed through the Bridge of Sighs (the last walk of people going to execution from the prisons) and checked out the prisons themselves. When we got out we went and checked out the Bridge of Sighs then from the outside which was neat.
Then it was about dinner time and we had seen a cool pizza by the slice place earlier and I’d say we looked for it for about 40 minutes before finally giving up lol. We just weren’t going to find it! We ended up at a pretty pricey place across from our hotel where we only got pizza (not even drinks or water as I was a cheap American tourist and just drank from the waterbottle I brought in with me haha) and this meal still ended up being the most expensive of the entire trip. I think it was like 35 or something like that? After dinner we found the only souvenir apart from magnets I would get and that was a cute little gondola with 2 “love” birds sitting in it made with Burano glass (an Island around Venice) we also just walked along the Grand canal a bit, bought my magnet, and then called it a day and returned to our hotel. We did almost get scammed by one of the “rose” guys who hand you a rose and then chase after your demanding payment for it. He kind of forced it into my hands so I was like whatever and we started walking off (I already knew about this scam before hand) and when he chased after us I just forced it back into his hands and walked off. We were approaced by 2 other rose guys throughout our walk but both of us just kept our hands in our pockets and walked by without saying anything to them. Seemed to deter them when they couldn’t force it upon us. lol
Our hotel was nice in that we had AC, ahh yes AC finally! But it was SO SOOOO NOISY. Everything seemed to be closing down when we headed to bed but apparently that wasn’t the case as we heard soo much noise from the ally our room was off of. Kind of a bummer but ah well. It was nice and cool at least.
DAY 5: We were up and out again somewhat early and skipped breakfast in favor of just trying to get out of there. It took again an hour from San Marco square to get to Roma Piazza where the bus station is at. This time however we didn’t get crammed inside so we got to enjoy more of the Grand Canal magic as we were out in the open air. From here I got a lot more photos including a great one of the Rialto Bridge.
We then caught a bus back the the airport where I had a car reservation for the remainder of our trip. After all the overly crowded buses and public transport, not to mention the wasted time sitting on platforms, we were ready to be a bit more in control. Unfortunately the rental car counter took FOREVER and we were barely leaving by 1 PM. At first we tried to just follow my printed instructions and road signs but realized that we were probably taking the slowest route possible that way so turned on the GPS to get us into our next country: SLOVENIA. Since both countries are in the European Union, they don’t really have a border control but there’s tons of gas stations where you have to stop and purchase a Vignette (or sticker for your windshield ) for 15 euros that is good for a week and basically serves as a sort of Toll system which actually seemed genius to me so when you go through “toll stations” you don’t actually stop, there’s just cameras to check for your Vignette. It was about 3 hours to Postojna which was our main attraction and next stop on our journey.