Monday, March 15, 2010
Awake early, I had the others up and getting ready by 8:30 am. I went out to McCafe and got the hot chocolate and coffee drinks and then we purchased pastries from the Hostel for our breakfast. Had a fun conversation with one the owners of our Somnia Hostel about my blogspot. They regularly search blogs for mention of their Hostel and had pulled mine up yesterday. I asked why they were not on Hostelworld.com and she said they’d tried but had been turned down because of something to do with the type of license they hold. Such a shame because it is really a good place to stay; I must remember to send a note to Hostelworld.com and let them know what a great Hostel they are missing in Barcelona. We located them because of the recommendation in the Rick Steves book on Spain. We were looking for a Hostel that offered private rooms with a bath as well as dorm rooms. Somnia has a wonderful location that is walking distance to the Ramblas and the Gaudi buildings. Plus all the buses and Metro connections!
The taxi arrived at 10 am and we were off to the Barcelona Airport; a twenty minute drive and less than thirty euros because of light traffic. We’d printed our tickets before leaving the USA and only had to check our luggage in….yes…we all managed to get everything back into two bags…one to check and one to carry on. Security was easy; only had to take off your shoes if you were wearing boots. I did have to take the laptops out of the sleeves (not required in the USA) and I had to take the caps off of the water bottles to get them past the security.
Absolutely beautiful airport; it looks to be less than ten years old. We are flying to Venice for about seventy five euros each on this economy airlines; it would have been several hundred on most other airlines. We were at our departure gate by 11 am. We purchased some sandwiches for our lunch before boarding and ate them during the flight. The plane actually left the tarmac about an hour behind schedule for our two hour flight…glad we’re not connecting.
When we arrive we’ll go to the Train Station to purchase our train tickets for Wednesday to Florence and Saturday to Rome. That way we won’t have any surprises …we hope…for the remainder of our transportation. Weather wise, cool but the sun is shining. I had a great view of the coastline of Spain and the snow covered mountains to the west. Right now we’re over the Mediterranean Sea on our way to Venice.
Once we have our train tickets we’ll catch the Vaporetto Bus #1 to St. Mark’s Square and hoof it a short distance to our Hotel Kette. Yes…we’re going from a Hostel to a four star! Another one of our otel.com finds by Jim.
Our trip took us across the Italian Alps and we took a few photos for the slideshow. Arrived at Venice International Airport at 3 pm; found the shuttle bus to the train station. Only three euros each; we thought we had a problem when the bus went to Mestre Station instead of St. Lucia. But, asked the driver and he said “no problem”….stay on the bus and in a few minutes we will be at St. Lucia. Soon we were crossing the long causeway bridge to Venice and the train station. The weather here is cold and foggy; but no rain. Jim and Barbara guarded the luggage near the water bus station and I went into the train station to purchase our tickets for later this week. Yes, the clerk spoke English and within minutes I had our tickets.
Climbed on the Vaporetto Bus #1, the milk run down the Grand Canal, for a photo opp run to San Marcos….Jim stood outside with me and Barbara sat inside where it was warmer. The sun was shining as we departed but by the time we reached the Rialto Bridge the fog was back. By 5:30 pm we’d found the Kette Hotel and had settled into our rooms. Jim and I have a cute little patio off of our room and Barbara has a great view of the canal and a bridge….we’re on the fifth floor. Everyone was hungry so we started out to find a restaurant recommended by the hotel and ended up stopping at a very nice Italian Restaurant for our first meal in Italy.
We walked home to the hotel in fog….very dense….unable to see the top St. Mark’s Tower even when we were standing in the square. A good night to wash hair and some socks; we’re trying to not have to do laundry on this trip by washing a few pieces each evening. Seems to be working well.
Tomorrow will be our day to see our favorite sites again in Venice; thinking positive for some sunshine. The long tables are sitting in all the streets, it high tide season. Not sure if we’ll get the experience or not…need to check the internet for the tides or maybe just wait for tomorrow.