Drive from Dolomites to Venice, September 30, 2016

Today we left the Alpine apartment and took an awesome drive back to Venice!  We walked through this underground tunnel to Carezza Rainbow Lake at the foot of the Dolomites.  According to legend, a beautiful water nymph lived in the pristine waters of Lake Carezza.  One day, while braiding her hair, the sorcerer Masare was overcome by the sound of the nymph as she sang to herself.  Head over heels in love, he sought the help of a witch to make the nymph his own.  The plan was for the sorcerer to dress as a jewelry salesman and cast a rainbow across the lake.  Unfortunately, he forgot to dress as a jeweler and the nymph evaded his trap and has not been seen since.  Distraught at his mistake, the sorcerer smashed the rainbow into a million pieces over the lake, therefore radiating the waters to this day!

Back to Venice with a water taxi to our next apartment.

Perfect sunset for a great day!

Dolomites with Christy, September 29, 2016

Today we drove to Paneveggio Natural Park-Pale di San Martino.  Lots of switchbacks and curvy roads!  Once there we rode the lift to Tognola Ski and hiking area.   Pictures from the “Balcony of the Dolomites”, one of the first UNESCO panoramic balconies on the Pale de San Martino-Dolomites at 2200 meters. Above and below, our first refugio:  a place to eat, drink, shower, sleep while hiking or skiing around this area.  They are set up every 2-5 miles, reasonable prices and friendly people with beautiful viewing sites! An outhouse above and a place to pray and remember below! Yes, a helicopter delivers supplies to the refugios! 

Some amazing views and some very barren landscapes, but overall a wonderful day in the Dolomites!

 

Dolomites with Christy, September 28, 2016

Today we drove from Canazei, Dolomites, Italy to Campitello to ride the cable car up to Rodella-Campitello Ski Area. Throughout some of these pictures look for paragliders!  These are free-flying, foot-launched gliders with no rigid structure and a harness suspended below the fabric chute.   A gorgeous day in the Dolomites!  Wonderful hike, awesome views!!

 

Road trip to Dolomites, September 27, 2016

Today, we left our apartment in Mestre, rented a car and drove north to the Dolomites, the northeastern Italy mountain range of the Alps, an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Break for lunch! They called it the “cornucopia pizza”! Some mining shafts along the way!

 Above the pictures can’t describe the full majestic force of these mountains but they sure are beautiful!!  Below is the Cesa sot bosch apartment we used as our home for our 3 night stay in the Dolomites!

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Venice with Christy, September 26, 2016

Another day in Venice with Christy!!  A vaporetto ride down the Grand Canal to St. Mark’s!  A beautiful terraced restaurant near one of the many hotels along the Grand Canal! The famous Rialto Bridge, the oldest of the 4 bridges spanning the Grand Canal. Apparently there are over 400 bridges crossing the canals of Venice!  Believe me, we did not attempt to count them or remember where each one was located!!   Above and below, beginning our tour around St. Mark’s Square!! We decided to tour around the area some more!Above is the Bridge of Sighs, connecting the New Prison to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace, built in 1600 of white limestone with windows with stone bars, passing over the Rio di Palazzo.  This was the last view of Venice that convicts supposedly saw before their imprisonment, thus prisoners would “sigh” at that final view before being taken to their cells.                                                                                                                    Below, Christy trying on her monkey mask! Christy found this unique bookshop for us to visit in Venice!! Then we began our tour of Doges Palace, Palazzo Ducale, built in Venetian-Gothic-Byzantine style, starting in 810, with much reconstruction since then.  It is now one of the 11 major museums of Venice.

 

Above and below the Bridge of Sighs, with the stone bars over the window, the narrow corridors over the bridge, and the stairs to the prison cells. 

Back out in the Piazza of San Marcos! An amazing city with so much to see and experience!

 

 

 

Venice,September 24, 2016

Day 2 in Venice!  Took the train from Mestre (cheaper than the bus!) then started our day with a vaporetto ride (the boat used in the canals to take people to stops around the 118 small islands that make up the area of Venice!)  Great way to get a unique perspective of this city!  Above, cruise ships are in port almost every day and below, a tall ship sailed in for a visit! Above is one of the many boat stops, with a vaporetto (low-riding covered boats) in front. Below is a small “taxi” boat, which will take small groups for a much higher fare to their one spot of choice. Our stop is San Giorgio Maggiore, a 16th century Benedictine basilica, built between 1566 and 1610.   Above, views of a maze from the rooftop of San Giorgio and below, views of Venice!   Above is a great view of St. Mark’s Square from the water!   Evidence of laundry day in Venice!! One of the Leaning Towers of Venice!

Venezian flag! Above 2 pictures are Campo Santa Maria Formosa with Chiesa di Santa Maria Formosa below.  The church was erected in 1492. Above and below, we finally made it to Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Square, the principal public square in Venice and often called “the drawing room of Europe”.    We were tired, so caught another vaporetto back to Mestre to call it a night here!

 

Venice, September 23, 2016

Welcome to Venice, Venezia, City of Canals, City of Love!!  One of those surreal moments we never thought we would ever accomplish!  Below are our first views of the Grand Canal!! Then we took off through the mazes of walkways between canals!  Starting our Venice adventure and tours of the multitude of churches!   Above and below is the Chiesa di San Giacomo dall’Orio, Church of St James the Apostle, founded in the 9th century, rebuilt many times, including a ship’s keel roof from the 14th century.  Above is Campo S. Polo, the second largest Venetian public square after the Piazza San Marco.  One of its beautiful doors below on the church of San Polo, St Paul the Apostle! Below is Campo San Toma with small church in background. Above, exterior, and below are the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, also known as the Frari, one of the greatest Italian Gothic churches in Venice, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary.  Started by the Franciscans in 1250, completed in 1338.   Stores with masks and souvenirs abound in Venice!! Above is Chiesa di San Rocco, Church of St Roch, patron saint of Venice whose relics rest in the church, built between 1489 and 1508, but altered in 1725.  It is surrounded by buildings in the Campo San Rocco. An end to our first day in Venice and back to Mestre for a well-deserved dinner and night’s rest!

 

 

Flight to Venice, September 22, 2016

Flying from Madrid to Venice over the European Alps in France and Italy.  The Alps stretch 750 miles across 8 Alpine countries and were formed as the African and Tectonic plates collided.  Majestic scenery!

We landed in Venice Marco Polo Airport and took a bus to Mestre, the city on the mainland closest to Venice.  We set up in a nice apartment, had a delicious Italian dinner and rested up for our first visit to Venice tomorrow!