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Teresa, IL

Adventures by Disney - Day 8 - Bullet Train and Exploring Venice

Posted: June 03 2014
Related Categories: Destinations Italy Resorts Disney Adventures By Disney

Today, we needed to have our bags outside our room at 7:30 am.  The bus was leaving at 8:45 am.  Then we had a one hour drive to the Florence Train station.  During the drive, we played Jeopardy.   They split the bus in two.  The categories were Disney, Rome, Tuscany, Europe Potpourri, Adventure Guides.  Our team was behind until Final Jeopardy where we won. 

The day before, we ordered lunch.  We had  a choice of ham & cheese, salad, and mozzarella & tomato plus chocolate muffin or blueberry muffin.  They had the lunch bags ready when we arrived at the station.  They handed them out before we boarded our train.  We were in first class on the train, in Car 2, seats 16 & 19. The fast train goes as fast as 300 km/hr.  The train was very comfortable and we had wifi.  We were in Venice 2 hours later, by 1pm. 

From the train station, we were escorted to private gondola boat rides.  We had 6 people per gondola.   We had a nice ride.  We went through some quiet canapés that were really peaceful.  Then we ended up in the Grand Canal which is the main canal in Venice.  Venice does not have any roads for cars or scooters.  You either walk or take a water vehicle.  The canals snake through the city and the streets are not symmetrical in any way.  It can be easy to get lost temporarily, but they have signs pointing to the major land marks like San Marco or Ponte di Rialto so you'll eventually find your way. 

After the gondola ride we took a walking tour.  Part of the tour, the guide showed us a hidden work of art.  It was a spiral staircase that was similar in design to the leaning tower of Pisa.  While there, Marco Polo came out from a door signing a song.  He then told a story about Marco Polo and his adventures.   He held a small box that he showed to the Junior Adventurers.  It was a Magical Moment with a new pin. 

Next we headed to San Marco Square.  This is the square that you see on the news when Venice floods.  The square has a number of cafés and restaurants around the perimeter.  The unique thing about this square is that most of them have live orchestras playing from morning until night.  When you eat or drink at these restaurants, there is an extra charge for the orchestra.  Apparently, the drink of San Marco Square is the Belini (check spelling).  Because of the location and the cover charge, you can expect to pay 50 Euro for 2 drinks. 

We then visited the church.  The church which had very high ceilings and it was decorated in mosaic tiles.  The church was very crowded, but once again, with Adventures by Disney, we had VIP access and did not have to wait in the regular line.  After the tour, we walked to our hotel, Luna Hotel Baglioni.  The hotel is right on the Grand Canal and right off San Marco Square.  The rooms are top notch.  They are very ornate and posh.  They remind me of the rooms at The Plaza in New York City.  We have a bedroom with double beds, a large walk-in closet area and a beautiful bathroom with a huge rain fall shower.   The keys are regular keys with heavy key chains.  When you leave your room, you are supposed to drop them off at the front desk.  When you return, you pick them up. 

After we checked our room, we went down to the lobby.  They guides had their usual concierge sessions.  Adventures could come down to get suggestions for dinner, activities, and directions. 

Ardan and I went to the Campanile which is a tower in San Marco Square.  It is 8 Euro per person, but has a great view of Venice.  You cannot take stairs, you take an elevator.  We took a lot of pictures. 

Then we walked around looking the shops for Venetian glass items and Ardan got a gelato.  We also looked at different restaurants.  I tend to look for ones off the beaten path.  They usually have better prices and the same quality food.  So we walked down a number of back alleys.  Ardan wanted pizza and I wanted lasagna. We found Aquila Nera. It was near Ponte di Rialto.  I started with carspacio which was the best I ever had.  The lasagna was good and Ardan's cheese pizza was great.  My 2nd course was sliced beef with shaved Parmesan and arugula.  It was also very good.  We didn't get desert, but I got a lemoncello. 

Then we took the long way back to the hotel.  We walked down back alleys and dark passageways to get the feel for Venice at night.  It was a great experience.  Venice is very safe.  Their worst crime is pick pocketing. 

Tomorrow, we meet at 8:45 for a tour in the morning and then afternoon on our own for our last day in Venice and our last day in Italy.  As always, contact your dream agent with any questions and to reserve your dream vacation.