Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm Not Normal

Sorry it's taken me so long to get this blog up.  I wrote it on the plane on the way home, but haven't been able to actually post it to the internet until now.  This is not my final post about Italy...I have one more reflective post that I will get to before the weekend, so please check back for that one.  Until then, here's our last weekend in Venice.

Christine and I read in a blog about Venice of a new “People Mover” to transport people from the parking garage and the cruise ships to the island.  Since it was just the 2 of us this weekend, we decided to give it a shot and see what it was all about.  When I think “people mover,” I think of one of those moving conveyor belts at the airport where you just stand and it moves you along.  This Venetian “People Mover” was essentially a monorail over the water, connecting the mainland to the island, and is supposed to be much more efficient than the vaporettos.  It costs €1 for a one way ride, and there are 3 stops; The beginning, at the parking garage, one stop in the middle for the cruise ship passengers, and then the end at Piazza le Roma, where all the train traffic arrives.  Considering the price, ease, and speed of getting from one side to the other, the people mover turned out to be highly convenient.  A one way ride on the vaporetto (water bus) costs €6,50 and it generally takes at least 30 minutes to get from tronchetto (the parking garage area) to your destination.  The only drawback to the people mover was the location of drop-off.  The vaporettos obviously have more access to the areas in Venice, and you can generally find a bus stop somewhere within 3-5 blocks from your destination.  Piazza le Roma was easy for the location of our hotel, but if we had been staying on the other side of the island, we would have had a hike to get to our hotel.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

It is officially my last night in Italy.  My plane leaves tomorrow morning, and by 6 p.m. I'll be in the beautiful sunshine state.  For my last weekend here, Christine and I decided to go to Venice so I could say bye to Sergio and see any last minute sights I'd been wanting to see.

Believe it or not, of all the times I've been to Venice now, I hadn't yet actually gone in to Saint Mark's Basilica.  It's amazingly impressive on the outside, so I couldn't even imagine what it was like on the inside.  Rick Steve's said the inside of Saint Mark's is like covering (some crazy odd number that I don't have access to because I don't have the book) football fields with contact lenses.  26,240 square feet to be exact.  The ENTIRE inside of the massive church is mosaic, from wall to ceiling.  There is so much mosaic work that it is unfathomable to think of how much work went into the completion of the building.  Just to give you an idea, which I know won't really do any justice to the immensity of the church, but here's a far away and a close up of one small minor part of the mosaic work.