Part 2 Venice...One more city knocked off our bucket list! Also, update on our new home...


With the hot sun, the massive crowds, the going rate of $125 to $150 a couple and as evidenced here, the gondola traffic jam, we decided to forego the 30 minute ride in the clogged canals.
Today, we'll post our remaining photos of Venice, first updating our current status which we'll write about tomorrow in more detail, with much enthusiasm.

A simple doorway renovated for modern day.
We arrived in Boveglio, Lucca, Tuscany yesterday around 5:00 pm after a long and difficult drive from Venice, estimated by Google Maps to be a 3 1/2 hour drive which ultimately proved to be a 4 1/2 hour drive.
Another old door.
Reading road signs in Italy is different than reading road signs in the US.  Its not about the language difference since there's nothing to reading a word written in Italian, following a map.  The difficult part was the fact that roads are not clearly marked.  One can drive for a half hour before seeing a sign that confirms (or not) that one is on the correct highway.
Hard to resist. Fun to see.
Plus, there is considerably confusing maneuvering through small towns along the way to stay on the correct road.  We only had to turn around twice, luckily catching it before we got too far.
Inside yet another square on our lengthy walk to St. Mark's Basilica.
Thank goodness for Google Maps and our MiFi which worked great providing us with a good signal along the highway, during the last hour.  The mountainous drive from Florence (Firenze) to Boveglio took us through 29 tunnels! 
 Inside the courtyard of the Universita Ca Foscari was a decoration made of trash.
The scenery inspired me to take photos but the massive guardrails prevented getting any good shots.  Unfortunately, we couldn't stop to take photos with no shoulder or rest stops on the many toll roads we traveled.
 The Universita Ca Foscari entrance.
As for the rental car...I stood in line for one entire hour at the Budget Rental window inside the Marco Polo Airport while Tom waited outside with the luggage.  Meeting a friendly couple from Chicago while in line, the wife was so kind to go outside to watch our luggage while Tom came inside to show his driver's license.  
Leonardo da Vinci exhibit was being held at the museum.
Tom will be the sole driver of the tiny Fiat six speed vehicle.  I must admit I'm not the best driver (OK.  I said it.).  Although in an emergency, I could drive a stick shift but it has been 30 years since my last attempt.  With the long drive "UP UP UP" to our summer home in Boveglio, with NO guardrails, no thank you.
More delectable looking confections.
We awaken this morning in a mountaintop paradise, the sound of nearby church bell chiming on the half hour and hour (not always consistent), in a 17th century renovated stone house in the true Tuscan style and we're once again relishing in our unique surroundings, filled with contentment and joy.
Lots of activity.
Tomorrow, we'll post photos, tell you the sacrifices we must make while here, missing some of our familiar creature comforts and the enhancements to our lives that only this step back in history can bring.
Water buses along the Grand Canal.
I'll tell you one tidbit now...they don't take credit cards in this area for gas, groceries or restaurants.  Last night, starved after our long day, we found our way to the tiny town of Bennabio where the owner, Alessandro, of the town's only restaurant Il Cavallino Bianco, opened an "account" for us, telling us we can pay our bill before we leave Boveglio in two and a half months. 
 As done in France, passersby over the Grand Canal at Ponte delle Accademia, place locks on
the bridge posts as a token of love, writing their names on the lock and throwing the key into the water.
Having used most of our Euros in the past month with no nearby bank and it also being Sunday, we appreciated not only a perfect meal (he cooked exactly following my restrictive diet) but speaking no English, we somehow managed to communicate. 
This huge wood carving of a face was interesting.
During dinner, the owner of the local grocery store across the street from the restaurant stopped by to also extend credit to us for our time here.  It certainly pays to know Lisa and Luca, the owners of our summer home, popular and well loved residents of this quaint community.  More will follow tomorrow.
More buses on the waterway.
So here are our remaining photos of Venice, now almost seemingly a distant memory as we immerse ourselves in our new home, soon heading to the town of Benabbio to grocery shop in the tiny store owned by the lovely Vivienne. Photos to follow!

Here's the rest of our Venice photos!

Sebastiano T. Italy location.  Campo Santo Stefano.
 
Ah, here's another pharmacy!


Ornate d├ęcor over doorways was appealing.
 
Many old apartments buildings lined the way to the square.


The food,  feast for the eyes, let alone the palate.


Tight quarters.  Lots of boats.
Statue of Marco Polo.


This was as close as we got to the gondolas.
 
A square we entered when trying to make our way to St. Mark's visible in the background.  We walked for two hours to get to St. Marks over many bridges, down many narrow streets.
 

More French looking than Italian, this window display of masquerade items was beautiful.


Murano glass figurines from a shop window.
Clock Tower.


Piazza of St. Mark...pretty impressive, eh?


Taking photos of people taking photos.
People and pigeons, everywhere.


Basillica di San Marco.


Tricky photo.  Murano glass sailboats taken outside the store with the reflection of Piazza of St. Mark reflecting in the glass creating a cool backdrop.

Outdoor restaurant in the Piazza of St. Mark.  Notice the attire on the waiter in the center.


Basilica di San Marco.
More detail on the Basilica di San Marco.


Clock at the Venetian Arsenal.
 
Gold angels at the top Basillica di San Marco.
 
Another view of the Basillica di San Marco.
 

Piazza San Marco.

Side view of Basillica di San Marco.
Piazza San Marco.

Basillica di San Marco.


Atop the Venetian Arsenal.
One of the many structures at the top of Basillica di San Marco.



We got a better view of this statue on our return trip, Island of St. Giorgio Maggiore, Chiesa Di San Giorgio.
Shuttles lined the docks to return passengers to one of the many giant ships at the port.
A great shot at every turn.


Waiting at the dock for our shuttle to depart.

Not appearing to be rough, the waterway was rough due to the boat traffic.
 
Views along the waterway on the return to the ship.

As the Norwegian Spirit shuttle boat took off to return us to the ship.
 

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