Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Side Trip to Venice

On Thursday Sept. 9 we set off on an overnight trip to Venice.  It is just 2 hours away on the 125 mph high speed train.  (The 175 mph trains do not operate on this run yet.  250 mph trains have been ordered for delivery maybe 2013).

I thought I might get some pictures, but for the first half hour, to Bologna, the train spends only two or three seconds at a time, several minutes apart, out in the open in the bottom of deep valleys.  All the rest is underground.

After Bologna, to Ferrara, it looks a lot like the Snake River Valley, flat irrigated farm land, with clusters of Lombardy poplars along streams (we may have actually crossed the southwest corner of Lombardy) and big wild olive trees that look just like the Russian olives in Idaho.

(The foreground gets a little blurry at 125 mph.)

The Venice train station looks like other train stations

but when you walk out the front door you are on the Grand Canal and need to catch a boat to the center of town

The Grand Canal has only three bridges, and no sidewalks.  Our ride on a genuine Gondola was just a cross-canal ferry for half a Euro each. 

This is a view of a typical church.  There are lots of them.  This one is Chiesa San Moise, the Church of St. Moses.  The Roman Catholics decided that all the old testament prophets shouldn't be in hell,  even though they weren't Christians, so when Jesus descended to hell before the Resurrection he must have rescued them, and turned them into Saints in the process.  Venice is the only place with churches devoted to old testament saints.

 Here is the altarpiece in St. Moses, a huge carving of Moses receiving the ten commandments.

A little further down the block, or several blocks, we came to the Piazza San Marco.  The entrances to the square are streets that just tunnel through the first two floors of the building that surrounds three sides of the square.

The square is full of people and pigeons, and is the largest open area in the city.

The Basilica of St. Mark (San Marco) and the attached Doge's Palace have exteriors that are hard to believe, even in Italy.

Unfortunately, so are the crowds.  We considered standing in line for an hour or so to get in, but decided against it.  Instead, we just wandered around for the rest of the day and the next day, to see what there is to see.  That is the next post.

The line for admission is in there someplace!

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