We woke up and packed our bags again, and decided to take the car to the bus area outside of Venice where we had noticed a parking garage so that we could head out to our next destination as soon as we were done in Venice. My intention was to buy some souvenirs/ gifts for family, and perhaps buy something made of Murano glass for us. We took the water taxi to the Rialto Bridge, on the way, we saw the early morning work of the city, trash barges, supply boats being unloaded, etc. And of course, more beautiful ancient buildings along the canals:
and then walked through the streets to San Marco Square, mostly window shopping.
San Marco Square:
At San Marco Square, we realized that we could go to the Arsenale area of Venice and see the boats and the old fortification of the city. So, we set off walking in that direction:
The races were scheduled to start at 2:00 pm, and we decided we were not going to stay for the races, but we had a great time looking at the boats and the small harbor where the boats are moored. We saw some of the large yachts belonging to the boat owners on the way.
We made our way back to the Rialto Bridge, where the bridge shops were open, and bought a few items. Sheldon ducked into a store quickly, and handed me a wrapped box that I later opened and found was a beautiful pair of earrings made from coral colored Murano glass beads in the shape of grape clusters.
It was upsetting to see so much graffiti in both Vienna and Venice, defacing these beautiful areas.
We finally got out of the city about 2 pm, headed towards Florence.
The drive was lovely, but I found myself dozing off every half hour due to having to take medicine for shingles pain. The sky was overcast with some drizzly rain, so the views were limited. Once we got to the Florence area, we realized that the hotel we selected was not too near Florence, but about an hour north in the Tuscan foothills. We arrived at the hotel outside Barga and parked on the narrow road outside the gates. A gentleman greeted us and we went inside the gates to check in. The hotel was spectacular. The original building was a stone building that had been used as a hotel with 2 guest rooms. Even the staircase was rough hewn rock. The newer part of the hotel was built up the hill in stages, with the last stage being the top floor with a conference center and spa area.
After we checked in, we were shown where to park and the gentleman who had greeted us at the gate brought a golf cart and ferried our bags. This fellow reminded me of Jerry Lewis in his younger slapstick days, he kept saying ‘I’m sorry” and dropping things like our luggage and bumping into us in the elevator and getting into the room. We had a lovely balcony outside of our room overlooking a serene Tuscan valley.
We freshened up and went to dinner, which was served in the original building. The waiter had a pretty fair knowledge of English and served us a very nice local wine with dinner. There weren’t too many guests at the hotel, so dinner was quiet. Toward the end of our meal, another table in the room was filled with more English speaking guests.