Saturday we ended up splitting up with the rest of my family for most of the day. We all had different interests and priorities, so we went our separate ways with plans to meet up for dinner. We had hoped to be well-rested and caught up on some sleep on Saturday, but it turns out jet lag is a beast. None of us slept well Friday night, so we were still pretty tired the next morning. But, we were still ready to explore Venice. We woke up, got ready, and headed to the Doge's Palace. I wasn't sure what to expect from the Doge's Palace. I didn't know much about it except that it was where the Doge (Venice's ruling leader) lived back in the day and it was pretty expensive to get in. It's one of "the" things to do in Venice, though, so we headed over to see what it was all about. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't super impressed and I had fairly low expectations when I saw the outside of the building.
However, we were pleasantly surprised and impressed upon entering. We took almost no pics. I think we checked the camera or something. But, it was much cooler than I thought it would be. First we toured the palace and all the governmental rooms. Then, we walked across the Bridge of Sighs to the old prison. You might remember the Bridge of Sighs from my last post when we rode right under it in a gondola. Here's a photo to jog your memory:
That's the Bridge of Sighs with the Doge's Palace on the left and the old prison on the right. Supposedly, it's called the Bridge of Sighs because prisoners would be taken across it on their way to prison after being convicted. They would look out the windows at the beautiful sight before them and sigh.
Makes you wonder what they saw, doesn't it? Well, wonder no more! Here's the view from the windows on the bridge:
That's the church of San Giorgio Maggiore across the lagoon. And it will appear in more detail in an upcoming post. After crossing the Bridge of Sighs, we toured the old prison. And it was really cool. Here's Stella checking out one of the prison cells.
After our fascinating tour of the Doge's Palace and prison, we had plans to do a walk through one of Venice's neighborhoods that was outlined in our guidebook. It was getting pretty close to lunchtime, so we planned to find a little cafe along the way. We made our way to the neighborhood and stopped in a little square at the start so Stella could chase pigeons for a few minutes. It was quite picturesque.
We then began meandering through the little side streets and canals, but jet lag was rearing it's ugly head and Stella was not a happy camper. We decided that lunch had better be our next order of business because things can turn really ugly if Stella is hungry. So we found a little cafe and grabbed some sandwiches. We tried to quickly eat and feed Stella so we could be on our way, but the little girl had had it and a complete and ugly meltdown ensued. We abandoned our planned neighborhood walk and made a beeline for the hotel so we could get Stella down for a nap. After she fell asleep, we decided we had better split up if we wanted to see the things we wanted to in Venice. We determined that I would head out for the first hour while Mr. Frisby stayed at the hotel with Stella and then we would switch. I grabbed the camera and headed out. I didn't want to go too far and decided it would be best to stick to main areas where I had little chance of getting lost. I decided to check out the Rialto Bridge since it was only a few minutes' walk from our hotel. While it would have been fun to be checking it out with Mr. Frisby, it was quite liberating to be out and about and seeing and enjoying the sights without at least half of my brain focused on the needs of a small child. I THOROUGHLY enjoyed that hour to myself. I loved seeing the hustle and bustle of the very busy Grand Canal and the Rialto Bridge was impressive.
One of the first things that Tracy noticed and looked for throughout our trip was laundry hanging out to dry. I became very accustomed to seeing it while living in Portugal, so I would hardly have noticed it. But, for her it was a novelty and she loved it. So, we were kind of always on the lookout for good laundry shots for her and we would always point them out. I found a pretty good one while wandering around the Rialto Bridge.
After my very short hour was up, I headed back to the hotel so Mr. Frisby could do some sightseeing as well. I believe he also headed to the Rialto Bridge. It was a pretty cool area.
After little Sleeping Beauty awoke from her nap, we decided we would have time to squeeze in our neighborhood walk before meeting up with everyone else for dinner, so we headed out. This was one of my favorite parts of our stay in Venice. Stella was well-rested and happy and we just got to wander through this untouristy little neighborhood and get a glimpse of regular old Venetian life. It was awesome! We sampled some gelato at a place recommended in our guidebook and it was delicious. Our walk took us by the hospital where we got to see the Venetian ambulances.
We also went out to the edge of the island where we could see the cemetery across the lagoon.
And, we found my favorite laundry shot of the trip. We saw it and immediately knew Tracy would love it.
We also went by the naval yard. Unfortunately it was closed so we couldn't go inside, but it was still pretty cool-looking from the outside.
That concluded our walk and with just a few minutes until our meet up time, we booked it to the Piazza San Marco where we were supposed to meet everyone else. We arrived a few minutes late, but everyone else did, too. We headed to a restaurant for dinner. It had looked good, but was actually a disappointment. Oh well. At least we had good gelato. After dinner, we headed back to the Piazzo San Marco, stopping in shops along the way. We picked up some fun souvenirs and then Stella got to play on these lion statues in the Piazza that she loved.
After that it was time to head back to the hotel for some much needed rest. While that morning had definitely been touch and go, we ended up having a great day and were ready to continue our adventures the next day.