Today starts day 8, in Vienna. After breakfast, we loaded on the bus heading for Venice! Like most long travel days, we had to make a stop to allow the coach driver to rest, and ended up in Ljubijana. This is what Expat Explore had to say about this stop, "Vienna to Venice - no less than 3 countries today! Take your last look at Austria as you head for Slovenia, and the the pint-size city of Ljubljana. A local guide will escort you on a walking tour of this fairytale city, pointing out the numerous bridges and brilliantly preserved baroque, gothic and medieval architecture."
Small city, this was only a small stop over. They were having their independence day, and so there were people all over, off of school and work. We even caught up with their mayor and he came up and said hi to us. Everyone seemed to be in a good mood here! We caught sights of Ljubljana Castle, established in the 12th century, hilltop fortification is part of Roman and Habsburg history.
We wound around the Ljubljana river and walked through Preseren Square. When it's not Winter, you will find little tables set up outside the cafe's and people enjoying the river and square! Walking around, they still had snow on the roof tops. We almost were squashed by this massive piece of packed snow falling off the roof! Good thing we were on the other side of the street!
Once the walking tour was over, we were dismissed for an hour or two to go explore and have lunch. This lunch was on our own. So we walked around but couldn't decide on where we wanted to eat! At this point, we were a bit panicky, knowing we had to get to the bus soon, we decided on a crepe guy wiht a little stand in the square. I ordered a ham and cheese crepe. Wasn't that fantastic, but they don't really use seasoning!
We were always given a time and place to be so we could hop back on the bus and not be late for the next stop... which was VENICE!!!!
We arrived in Venice later, I think even after dark. We had the same routine of dropping our things in our hotel room and heading out for a night walking tour. Everyone was so excited to finally get to Italy and taste all of the delicious Italian food! This is what Expat had to say about arriving in Venice, "ake in the stunning scenery as you head south, crossing the border into Italy. And then...Welcome to Venice! This unique city, straddles 118 islands, and known for its canals, gondolas, Venetian masks, piazzas, art, traditional glass and lace making. On arrival, your tour leader will escort you on an orientation walking tour of the city, so you can use your free time in the early evening to explore properly. Get your cameras ready for the world famous St Marks Square, Grand Canal and Rialto Bridge, and more! The whole of Venice is marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which indicates the level historical significance this city carries. The evening is yours to enjoy authentic Italian delights, with hundreds of fantastic local restaurants and bars to choose from. After an espresso, explore Venice the traditional way - from the canals. Relax and glide on a gondola ride. If you are lucky, the gondolier may sing to you to make the trip even more special!"
Venice is beautiful and creepy all at the same time. Most of the residents have moved out of the city due to it basically sinking into the water. So you have this eerie sort of mood after dark. It's mainly filled with tourists or partiers wandering around the many canals and bridges. I didn't manage to take any pictures of Venice the first night, but the next day I more than made up for it.
Our night tour was also very confusing! I am dyslexic, so me and directions do not get along, not even a little bit. To have so many twists and turns, going up countless sets of stairs and back down them, was very confusing for me. Not to mention Venice doesn't smell all that great. For our included dinner, we wound around the streets and came upon a little pizza and gelato place. We were able to order a slice of pizza about as big as my face, and a drink. After that, we went to the left side of the shop and ordered a cup of gelato! IT was as delicious as everyone has said before.
After, we arrived back at our hotel, and slept the night away. The next day was a free day for us. We were to be turned loose in Venice, and we had major plans! Stay tuned!
Check out how I managed to bring everything in ONE PACK here! Yep, you heard me right. 38 days traveling through Europe and we each brought one back pack. It was such a great idea for many reasons. AND, this trip was during Winter! I could only imagine what I could bring in a warmer time!