Venice, We Are in You!

Another day, another city. That’s the traveling life, eh? It’s now Tuesday morning and we’re in our hotel in Venice, after taking a high-speed train here from Rome yesterday. Since even the high-speed train takes four hours (Rome and Venice are quite a distance apart!), we didn’t have anything planned, aside from dinner, but I can still share our last moments in Rome, along with our first moments in Venice.

After such a loooooong day trip on Sunday, it was fabulous to have NOTHING to wake up for on Monday. Our train wasn’t leaving Rome until about noon, so we had time to enjoy breakfast and even squeeze in a photo visit to one last place before we had to make the short walk to the station. Since we had already packed up the night before (neither of us really felt like doing that after such a long day trip, but it was worth it to just have it done), that gave us even more time on Monday! When I used to travel with my friend Ruth Ann, she would always comment about me getting all my stuff pulled together and ready (usually to fly home the next morning) before she did as she just didn’t have the gumption to do it so quickly. I’d rather just get it done, so that’s what we did. 🙂

After another delicious Fifteen Keys breakfast (with an extra treat, as you’ll see below), we needed to get some steps in anyway (especially knowing we’d be on a train for several hours), so we decided to walk to Piazza Navona, which we were very near on previous walks through the city, but had somehow missed. We had enough time and wanted to walk off some breakfast, so it worked out perfect as it’s about 25 minutes on foot from the hotel, which gave us enough time to walk there and back, plus take a few photos. This is a HUGE piazza and that’s because the area it occupies used to be the Stadium of Domitian, which was very large (as most stadiums are!). It was Rome’s first permanent venue for competitive athletics and could seat up to 20,000 people. Again, that explains the size! That’s what I love so much about visiting historical cities like Rome – you’re literally walking around places that have been in use for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years (sometimes even on the same streets/stones). So cool!

We had enough time to take a few photos of the piazza (see below) and then head back to the hotel from where we in turn had to head to the station. Since we had walked from the station to the hotel when we arrived, we knew it was close, but I was pleasantly surprised at how close it actually was when we made that walk without having just been traveling for 12 hours. This hotel really is in a great location for a variety of things – so glad it was our home base! We made it there within ten minutes, in plenty of time for our train, found our assigned carriage and seats and got settled in. We booked first-class tickets, though I don’t know how much nicer our seats were compared to the “regular” ones (I walked down a few carriages and the seats didn’t look all that different). The train attendants came by a couple of times to offer us beverages, which I assume was just a first-class thing, but I’m not sure. There was free wifi on the train, which was nice for me as it gave me a chance to almost totally write my Sunday post!

Check out our remaining moments in Rome, plus our train travel, below.

This was the treat I mentioned above! Since we were enjoying a Halloween breakfast, they made these Halloween muffins. Tasty!
This is the Victor Emmanuel II Monument (also known as Vittoriano) and we walked by it a couple of times, including today (I even remember walking by it ten years ago!). It honors Victor Emmanuel II (no surprise there, given its name), who was the first king of unified Italy (which didn’t happen until the late 1800s!).
Piazza Navona is so large it’s hard to get the whole thing in one photo.

Two of the fountains in the piazza – Fontana del Moro (left) and Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (right).

This looks like a church, but I’m not actually sure what it is.
I just liked all the greenery on this building we passed on our walk.
At the station!

The view within our carriage and also the legroom at our seats. We had way more space here than we did on that damn day trip bus!

And a train selfie to round things out. 🙂

We both agreed the train ride didn’t feel as long as four hours (writing a blog post while listening to podcasts certainly helped the time fly for me), so we arrived in Venice in what felt like a pretty short time. As soon as we stepped out of the station, with a canal right in front of us, the vibe felt different from Rome. However, we quickly learned that Venice is totally crammed with people as Rome is, but has the added bonus of lots of beautiful canals, which is a normally a plus, except when you’re schlepping your luggage through the crowds of people, into and out of tight alleys, and over crowded bridges to cross canals. Distance-wise, it wasn’t that far from the station to our hotel, but all the things I mentioned made it a slightly frustrating process, but we got there in the end (and with me only leading us down one or two wrong turns, thanks to Google Maps). We arrived at our hotel, the EGO’ Boutique Hotel – The Silk Road, and found that it’s literally next to the Grand Canal and spitting distance from the famous Ponte di Rialto, so that’s a bonus. We even managed to grab a few photos along the way (including the cover photo for this post, which I think came out pretty brilliantly, thanks to a well-timed sunset), but we were ready to get to our room to dump our stuff. The man at the desk was very nice and told us to leave our luggage at the front desk as he would have it brought up (yay!). This is another boutique hotel, but it definitely feels quirkier than our last one, as you’ll see in the photos. We realized we had been spoiled with the room size in Rome as the room here is certainly smaller and has large furniture that takes up more space, too. It’s a perfectly serviceable room, but we were very disappointed to learn that the air conditioning, which is one of the reasons we booked this hotel (since many European hotels don’t have AC), has already been turned off for the whole building for the season. And since it was (and has remained) 78° in our room, that was a particular bummer (especially since they didn’t bother to tell us before our arrival). I actually had the same situation happen many years ago in Barcelona with my friend Ruth Ann, except it was the opposite season (we were there in April, so the AC hadn’t been turned on for the building yet, even though it was plenty warm outside). It’s certainly a first-world problem and we’ll obviously live, but it just makes us miss Rome and the Fifteen Keys. 🙂

Since it was already evening by the time we got our stuff unpacked, we just chilled in the hotel for a bit before making our way to La Piazza for our dinner reservation. We could walk there in about ten minutes, so we got to experience Venice at night (Halloween night, to be precise!) and more crowds of people. There were definitely some people in costumes, mostly kids (to be expected) and it seemed like some trick-or-treating was happening, mostly with local shops. We sat outside for dinner and it definitely looked like some kiddos were stopping by businesses to get treats. While it doesn’t seem like Halloween is the BIG thing it is back in the US, it was interesting to see how the Italians handle it.

Anyway, how about a few photos of our start in Venice?

Made it to Venice!
As soon as we rounded the corner out of the station, this view was there to greet us. Wow!
A big piazza/square we walked through on the way to the hotel.
I mean, we couldn’t have timed our walk over the Ponte di Rialto any better, could we?? Amazing sunset!
The hotel has a pretty nondescript entrance.
The hotel’s breakfast room. Unlike Fifteen Keyes, we order our food ahead of time and then schedule a time we want to eat it in this room. Having had their breakfast this morning, I can confirm it’s good, but not as good as what we had at Fifteen Keys.
Our home for the rest of this trip is Room 7.

Looking into the room, at the bed, and then back towards the door. Definitely not as spacious as Fifteen Keys, but not bad. The décor is, as you can see, somewhat unique and reminds me of what an old psychic might have in their house.

The bathroom is fine and the shower was okay this morning. Good pressure, but I never love those oversized rainfall showerheads.
A view of the crowd as we made our way to dinner.
La Piazza had a nice vibe to it.

The burrata we shared and the tagliatelle with beef ragout that I had. Very tasty!

The constant views of canals are definitely a highlight of this city. I want to do some research into them to better understand them. How are they maintained? How deep are they? How many are there? The interesting thing about being in Venice is that there are NO cars! Given that people get around via the water, that makes sense, but it struck me today how weird it was to not be dealing with car traffic.
Gondola service right in front of our hotel.
Night over the Grand Canal, as seen from the Ponte di Rialto.

Between the nice views and tasty meal, we had a pretty good start in Venice. While the hotel may not be quite as good compared to Fifteen Keys, it’s been okay and the staff are certainly friendly and helpful. It’s now Tuesday afternoon and we’ve gone to explore some of Venice, but we kind of ran out of steam, so we’re recharging back at the hotel while we figure out what we do next. We actually have another day trip tomorrow, so after today, we just have Thursday here in Venice before flying home on Friday. We’ve already got some ideas brewing for Thursday though, so we should be able to hit the ground running better then.

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About thejeffelston

Based in St. Paul, MN and love to blog about travel. Comment, follow, and join me on my journey!