After exploring Padua, we took a quick train ride to Venice. We stepped out of the train station and the city of Venice immediately charmed us. It seemed as if we stepped into another world. The bright sun sparkled on the water as little boats chugged along. The buildings, so quaint and beautiful, sat afloat on the canal streets.
We took a "water bus" from the train station to our hotel. The boat ride was about 45 minutes, but time passed quickly as we soaked up every drop of the charm of Venice. Our boat stopped near Saint Mark's Square and we toted our luggage to our hotel. After getting settled, we set out to explore Venice.
It seemed as if we just couldn't soak up enough of Venice's sights. We were constantly wide-eyed, trying not to blink, so we would not miss a single thing. We strolled through narrow, quiet streets lined with little restaurants and designer shops. We watched gondolas glide through the quiet water-filled canals.
We approached Saint Mark's Square. It was bustling with people and pigeons. Peter generously dozed off to sleep in the stroller as we approached Saint Mark's Basilica. Ah, a quiet church visit without "shoooshing" Peter (he loves hearing his voice echo in big European Basilicas). : ) Saint Mark's tomb is located in this gorgeous Basilica! We soaked up the intricate beauty of the interior of the basilica and prayed before the tomb of Saint Mark, the Gospel writer. Incredible.
After visiting Saint Mark's Basilica, we took a gondola ride! Ah, what an incredible experience! Our gondalier loaned Peter his hat and we glided off into the quiet, narrow canals of Venice. Even with a toddler on board, it was a wonderfully relaxing experience. The sound of the water trickling from the gondalier's paddle and the gondala quietly cutting through the water serenaded us. We soaked up the beautiful scenery as the sun started to sink low in the afternoon sky. Peter enjoyed riding in a boat, but the highlight of his cruise was looking into the waters in search of pieces of floating trash and other objects. (Fortunately, there was not much trash. Venice was very clean.)
After our gondola ride, we returned to Saint Mark's Square to relax a bit before dinner. Peter laughed and laughed as he chased pigeons through the square. We smiled and smiled as we watched our little boy play innocently and joyfully in the square.
After playing in Saint Mark's Square, we strolled through the charming side streets of Venice adorned with twinkling lights. We ate dinner at a little restaurant called Vino Vino. It was the most perfectly delicious dinner. My favorite meal of the trip. We feasted on an incredibly wonderful Caprese salad, perfect red wine, yummy pasta, and mouth-watering tiramisu. Stupendo! (Below, a shot of our Caprese salad. I can't even begin to describe how absolutely perfect it was. You'll just have to go to Venice and try it yourself.)
After dinner, we happily walked back to our hotel. We stayed at a wonderful little hotel in between two adorable boutiques and directly across the street from a gorgeous church. The setting was picture perfect. We settled into our room, enjoyed a restful night's sleep, and awoke to freshly baked croissants and steaming cappuccinos. Ah, Italy. We love you.