We woke up very early on Friday morning (around 5:30 AM) and caught a taxi to the Rome train station, Stazione Termini. From there, we caught a 6:45 AM bullet train to Venice. We all slept a lot on the train and my brother loved the concept of a bullet train.
We arrived in Venice at around 10:45 AM and were greeted by long lines for the vaporetto station (ferry station). Since there are no subways or cars in Venice, this was the best way to get around. We decided to walk down to the next vaporetto stop and catch the boat from there. My brother and Dad saw a part of Venice we did not see when we were there seven years ago. We eventually hopped on a ferry boat and saw the most famous bridge in Venice, Rialto Bridge, before getting off at Piazza San Marco, the most famous piazza in the world.
Piazza San Marco
We were absolutely famished after our journey, so we went to the restaurant I went to last time in Venice with my friends, Vini di Pinto. I had the same thing I had the previous time, gnocchi, and it did not disappoint. I love the restaurant because the waiters are hilarious.
After our meal, we stumbled upon the same hotel we stayed at seven years ago when I visited Europe for the first time! We used the concierge at the hotel to catch a gondola ride. My Dad remembered that the hotel arranged for a great gondola ride last time & it was as great as he remembered. We received a great tour of historical Venice last time including Mozart’s house.
After our gondola ride, we grabbed a gelato in Saint Marks Square. Then we headed for Murano to see the glass blowing demonstrations. We made it to Murano in time for the last demonstration of the day, it would have stunk if we did not make it! Afterwards, we walked around Murano for a bit and I bought Matt a pair of souvenir glass dice.
After Murano, we headed back to the train station and headed for Florence. We caught a bullet train again, but this time it was actually cheaper for us to buy first class tickets instead of second class tickets. Trenitalia has discounts based on seat availability and the discount was sold out of second class, but the base rate for the second class was higher than the discounted first class fare. We were not complaining! We got free soda, snacks, and candy!
We arrived in Florence at around 9:30 PM and walked towards the Duomo in search of something to eat.
We grabbed a bite to eat & took a taxi to our bed and breakfast, Leone X. Because it was so late, they left our key at another hotel and we had to get it. The directions they gave us to the hotel were pretty poor, but we eventually found it. The room was nice – a king bed and a small cot. We fell asleep right away after traveling to three different cities in one day!
Note: This post was originally published on April 22, 2011 in a blog entitled “Romeing Around Europe” which chronicled my study abroad experience.