Italy

Milan

We went for a walk to buy a ticket for the bus to take us to the airport tomorrow and to check the times. The bus leaves every 20 minutes on the hour, 20 past, and 20 to the hour. We are planning on catching the 7:40am bus to the airport.

We went to a coffee shop that we visited when we were first in Milan three weeks ago and had a coffee, it was still the best coffee we had in Italy.

The coffee place is called “” and facing the railway station it is on the right left hand side on the first street over – about 30 meters from the station.

We go to the supermarket and buy some water, and a salami and a bottle of wine.

We head back to the hotel and eat salami and drink some wine. We had a bottle of Prosecco ( A bubbly we bought in Venice) which was very nice but a little too sweet for me even though it was Extra Dry. The bottle of wine we bought at the supermarket was a Dolcetto which was not good at all.

We then went to find some food for dinner – today is May Day in Europe (1st May) and pretty much everything was closed. We wondered around a big block and found 2 restaurants open out of about 50.

We went to one next our hotel that had a lot of people in it. We got seated and ordered 2 beers and a two pasta dishes. The beers were OK, the food was crap. I sent mine back and refused to pay.

The dish I had was penne pasta with Salmon + Rocket in a cream sauce.

It had about enough salmon to fit in teaspoon and no Rocket. The cream sauce was disgusting, the pasta was cooked ok. What a waste of a meal.

Pam ate about 1/2 of her meal, and left the rest. Hers looked like it came out of a plastic bag and was microwaved.

So back to the room – finish off the bad red after the bad food in the bad hotel – not exactly what we wanted for the last night.

Milan – Hotel San Carlo

We arrived in Milan at 2:45pm and headed to the hotel which is only about 100 meters from the train station. The outside looks nice and the inside looks nice. We are told that our room is not ready and we need to wait 20 minutes for it to be cleaned. We ended up waiting 40 minutes and when we get to the room it is pretty dingy and crappy – does not look clean and the area outside of the room near the elevator stinks of mould.

The room is very small – hardly anywhere to leave your bag and still have room to move around the bed. One plus is it had CNN on the TV!

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The first photo is of the bed spread – threadbare, the second is mould what looks like mould in the bathroom and the third is above the shower.

This place needs a full renovation and is basically a dump – $250 NZD for 1 night

Venice – leaving

IMG_2762Today we left Venice – we walked down to the San Macro Vaporetto stop. There was a Vaporetto due in a couple of minutes so we bought a ticket and waited for the boat. Pam gave me the ticket to validate and then the Vaporetto arrived. We had a leisurely float down the grand canal and then an inspector asked us for our ticket. I gave it to him and he said that it was only for one person as the ticket showed 6.50 euro only.

Venice Train StationPam said we had paid 13 euro and could not find the receipt right away, but then she found it. It had 13 euro on the receipt but the ticket only had 6.50, the man then telephoned someone and spoke to them for about 10 minutes. In the end he said that he accepted what we said and wanted to keep our ticket and receipt ( I guess someone is in trouble – but luckily it was not us)

The fine for not having a ticket is 44 Euro, not something that we would want to pay especially since we did everything correctly.

 

We arrived at the Ferrovia Vaporetto stop which is where the train station is located and Pam wanted to go and do some last minute shopping. The area outside the train station overlooking the Grand Canal was very busy with people arriving and departing and taking photographs. I sat there (keeping a careful eye on our bags) for about 20 minutes while Pam was shopping.

We validated our train ticket (travelling first class in a Regional Train – 21.50 euro each) and got on board the train. We found the first class carriage which for some reason is always located the furthest distance down the platform. There was only 1 man on the carriage and even when the train pulled out there was only about 4 other passengers.

The train left on time and we were heading to Milan – the first stop was Mestra which is a place a lot of people stay and then catch the train into Venice (saving money on accommodation costs). The platform was full of people, then empty and our first class carriage was full.

The regional train stops a lot so it will take us close to 4 hours to get to Milan.

I am writing this on the train – 3.5 hours to go…

Venice – Murano for free (one way at least)

If you want to go to Murano there is no point spending your money to get there – there are people (touts) who work for the Murano glass factories who wear little labels (look sort of official) that will tell you that you can go to Murano today only for free.

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They will say you have to go right now as the boat is about to leave = the boat is in fact a taxi, so they leave when you get on, not before. The taxi is also for you only so they definitely are not going without you.

The taxi drivers know which factory to drop you off at in Murano, then you are met with an agent who will show you the factory and then their showroom and in the end if you do not buy, the souvenir shop. Depending on who takes you around they may or may not be nice if you do not buy.

The guy we had was quite friendly and liked Pam’s Maori Pendant and took a photo so he could get a tattoo of it at some point in the future.

The one way taxi ride is probably worth about 40 euro. Now unless you spend some serious money you will have to catch a Vaporetto back at your own expense – 6.50 euro each person.

The nice thing with the taxi is that you get to go through some small canals on your way to Murano. 

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Once you get to the island you will be greeted and taken to the factory where you can see the craftsman create a piece of art. The salesman really wants to give you 10 minutes but you generally will be able to stay for about 20-25 before they “encourage” you to go see the showroom.

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The showrooms are really works of art with 100s of pieces that are generally lovely. Remember you will be offered 40% discount on the prices in the showroom.

But also remember that 10,000 or 20,000 Euros are common for the pieces in there. If I had the money I would buy.

After the showroom – you will be shown the souvenir shop, and then you are told where to catch the Vaporetto to get back to the Grand Canal.

Venice Bridges over the grand canal

Venice has three bridges crossing over the grand canal.

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The first bridge near the train station (we did not actually walk over this bridge)

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The second and most famous is Rialto Bridge

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The third is made of wood and is the Academia Bridge

Venice, Musical Instrument Collection

We came across an exhibition of musical instruments at what looked to be an old church. There were some amazing looking instruments in the collection some dating back to 700.

It was free entrance which is amazing for Venice and was a great example of early instruments.

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Venice - Peggy Guggenhiem

Pam and I visited the Peggy Guggenhiem collection today – entry was 12 euro each.

There was a collection of sculptures outside and a lot of original works of art inside – mostly around 1910-1930

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This lady obviously had some serious money to buy all of this art herself – including original Picasso.

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I really liked the painting above, it is by Richard Pousette-Dart (1916 – 1992) titled “The Atom, One World” painted in 1947/1948 – oil on linen

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A close up of the a part of the above painting

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I found out later that you were not allowed to take photos…

San Marco at night

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Venice – near sunset

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Venice day 2

I wake up to find it still raining but not as much as during the night. We start our day with a trip to San Marco square which is about 200 meters from our hotel and quite easy to find.

Looks the same to me as 6 years go, but do the normal tourist thing and take photos. We walk around and look at some super priced Murano glass in the shops at the edges of the piazza.

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Coffee is a stupid price – 5 euro 70 cents for an espresso if you sit down. We found a cafe (Cafe Lavena) where it was 1 euro to stand at the bar and drink your coffee and they even gave you a chocolate with the coffee. There was a small orchestra starting up at the end of the bar as well. The coffee was pretty good as well.

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The day then started to dry up and the sun even came out and we had a nice afternoon walking around.

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