We arrived in Venice on the train around 11:00 am. It's hard to describe Venice, even having read about it quite a bit. It really is out of the middle of what seems to be a giant lake or small sea. The train goes on the kind of causeway that one thinks of seeing with pictures of Key West. You're literally going on a little road and train track with water on either side and nothing else.
When it arrives at the edge of the city where the station is, you exist out the front doors and the canals and the bridges are right there. Boats are going by, people are wandering on the walkways next to the canals and the whole thing looks both immensely old but also very impressive. The whole place is also a maze. The only place that I've been to that seemed very similar was wandering around the side streets in Santorini's main city when we were there. Lots of dark alleyways between buildings with hordes of people going back and forth.
We're here just after the main tourist season but R tells me that only 70,000 people live here year round. There are an amazing amount of tourists here.
R and I attempted to go to the hotel we had picked out, which was only one star but had rooms facing out onto the canal. It was full but just around the corner we found a fairly nice two star hotel that we've been pretty happy with. Clean and nice room, our own shower and bathroom, etc. After getting settled in, we wandered around a bit, got a coffee, and eventually decided to head over to the Palazo Grassi, where they are hosting a large Dali exhibit, with paintings and such from around the world. We spent a couple of hours in there. They had most of his well known work (though not my favorite image of his Christ), a surrealist film he did, notes, sketches, books and other materials. I think we were there for about 2 1/2 hours all told. We picked up a few cards, including a Surrealist one for my boss, and called it a day.
On the way back, we stopped at a nice ristorante and had beef stew, local bread, red wine and then a nice dessert.
We're still feeling a bit of jet lag so we wound up having a coffee after that and then just going back to the hotel to read for a while. We turned in early.
I'm running low on Internet time here at the cafe now so I'll write about our second day in Venice (today) later on...
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