Snekkerston

After leaving Copenhagen, we took a three hour bus ride up to the northern part of Denmark.  This bus was not necessarily meant for a long ride, but instead it was a city bus with over 80 stops.  It was definitely an interesting way to go.

We decided to stay in a bed and breakfast in Snekkerston because we wanted to cross back over to Sweden to visit Gothenburg.  Although the bus ride was interesting, the bed and breakfast was lovely, and a nice, quiet escape from the city.

 

 

Copenhagen

The third destination on our honeymoon was Copenhagen.  This was the city I was probably most looking forward to visiting, and it did not disappoint.  We spent three nights, but a week would have been better.

Below are the pictures from my DSLR.  I took many more with my phone because this place is so photogenic.  This will give you a good taste of Copenhagen.  Stay tuned for a podcast to come out soon about this fun city.

 

 

 

 

Warsaw

The second destination on our honeymoon was Warsaw.  Warsaw and its people are very resilient.  It is a city that on the brink of prosperity, saw destruction that came by bomb in 1939.  Since then, it was a long, and not always successful fight whether you were a Jew forced into the ghetto, a member of the Home Army, or a resident of Warsaw dealing with the occupation.  We took in not only the beauty of the city, but also its history.

Since seeing The Zookeeper’s Wife, we knew we wanted to visit the Warsaw Zoo.  We had  been intrigued by the World War II history, and we sought out sites to help us learn about the past.  While at the zoo we went on a detailed tour that walked us through the Zabinski home, and showed us how they helped save hundreds of Jews from the ghetto.

The movie also made us more aware of the Warsaw Uprising.  There are markers all over the city talking about how the 50,000 urban soldiers fought back against the Germans.  They took the city over after a few days, but German reinforcements destroyed the Home Army since very little aide was supplied by the allies.  There was a great museum that walked us through the timeline and showed how the people did not want to give up their city.

After the heart-breaking loss during the war, the terror continued with the days of communism.  We did not have enough time to delve into the effects of communism in Warsaw, but we could see how once again the people could not be free.

This city has been rebuilt after nearly 85% of the city center was destroyed in World War II; first from the bombing, then from the destruction caused by the Germans as revenge for the uprising.  They tried to rebuild it the way it was; even accounting for imperfections like leaning buildings.  Although this part of our trip was faced with some challenges, like the language barrier, the difficulties were far outweighed by our experience here.  The food, the history, and the atmosphere are all definitely worth another visit someday.

 

Fika

Yesterday you got a chance to see what Stockholm looks like.  Today I’m sharing a tradition in Sweden that I think we should adopt here.  It is called fika (fee-ka).  The basic idea of it is to have an afternoon coffee with a sweet treat, but it is more than that.  It is a break to be shared with people you care about.  A chance to step away from hectic life and remember what is important: loved ones, sweets, and good coffee.

The illustration you see is one that I created using Adobe Illustrator.  The dessert you see in the image looks like a cinnamon roll.  It is called kanelbulle.  Rather than being smothered with frosting, it has sugar pearls sprinkled on top.  The best ones have a flaky, buttery crust.  Interested in having your own fika?  It doesn’t take much.  Grab a friend, a cup of joe, and a little dessert.

 

Stockholm

The content you see here are photos of Stockholm taken with my Canon digital SLR.  I have other photos on my point and shoot to share, but that is another day.

Stockholm is both an old and new city.  Life seems so streamlined and simple, yet old town boasts colorful buildings from the past.  Since it was our first stop on our honeymoon, I feel like we know it least because we were still adjusting to the time change and the idea that we were on our honeymoon.  Nonetheless, we had an amazing time, and it is a city we would like to return to because even the small imprint it made is enough to leave us wanting more.

Venice by Vaporetto: Rialto South

Bridge of SighsSouth

Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo-This is the most elegant spiral staircase I’ve seen.

Teatro la Fenice-The name Fenice (fe-NEE-chay) which means phoenix has more than one implication.  This theatre actually experienced a rebirth after a fire.  If you are interested in Venice or La Fenice, I highly recommend reading City of Falling Angels by John Berendt.

Gondola Parking Lot-So this may not be an actual sight, but if you like seeing something that is typical Venetian in an ordinary setting, a visit to the gondola parking lot may be a good stop for you.

Museo Correr-The Correr museum is filled with art and Venetian life.  This museum may not be for every person that visits Venice, but for the art enthusiasts, it is a good place to escape.  Some people buy tickets at this museum to avoid the long lines at the Doge’s Palace, but the ticket is good for both places.

Piazza San Marco-People are everywhere!  Try not to visit during the peak hours of the day or you may get burnt out pretty quickly.  My favorite time to visit the piazza is during acqua alta, the very early morning, or the late evening.  If acqua alta is rising above the banks of the canal, you will know it in the piazza because it is one of the lower places in the city.  If the water rises high enough, they put out planks to walk on.

Caffe Florian-Looking for an expensive drink with music?  This cafe is your place.  You can’t beat the view.

Campanile-This tower rising above the piazza is not the original.  The first tower came crashing down in 1902.  If you want to rise above the city you can hop in the elevator and look over the lagoon.  If you don’t want to hear bells ringing in your ears all day, you may want to avoid visiting  when the bells play.

Museo di Palazzo Ducole– The Doge’s Palace looks like an artistic cake with pink icing.  The palace has several sights worth visiting.  Even if Tintoretto’s Triumph of Venice doesn’t entice you, you might enjoy taking the sobering walk through the Bridge of Sighs to the jail cells.

Basilica San Marco-Under the onion-shaped domes is a gold masterpiece.  The mosaics are best seen when illuminated during special hours.  Beyond the basilica, make sure you also consider visiting the museum to see all the loot that has made this an eclectic masterpiece.

Bridge of Sighs-Sigh.  Imagine walking to your doom and only seeing glimpses of the majestic city.  What horrible torture.  Even if you don’t go into the Doge’s Palace, make sure you walk around the side to get a glimpse of the vintage-looking limestone.

 

Venice by Vaporetto: Rialto East

FormosaEast

Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli-Want to see what Venetian Renaissance looks like?  This marble church is considered a “jewel box.”  Pilgrims flocked to the church after the Virgin Mary performed several miracles.  Glide up the canal and hop off at this recently renovated church.

Santa Maria Formosa-One of my favorite Venice moments took place just outside this church.  It was Palm Sunday and a group of men were playing guitars in the campo.   Formosa means “shapely saint Mary.”  A vision appeared of a seductive Mary near this location.  Was it Mary, or a courtesan?  Nonetheless, a beautiful church stands in the spot of the original.

Ca’ del Sol Mask Shop-Hiding one’s identity is tempting while in Venice.  What happens in Venice stays in Venice?  Even if you aren’t visiting during Carnevale, you can get your fill of mysteriousness at this mask shop.  While I was visiting Venice, I was able to get a behind the scenes glance at how simple paper mache is turned into glamorous masks.  What style would you pick?

 

 

Venice by Vaporetto: Rialto North

Produce-337North

Rialto Bridge-The famous bridge is full of beauty and charm, until all the tourists come toppling in.  I’ve never seen a bridge so full of people.  I would avoid the shopping thrill here because it is filled with touristy shops.  The nearby Ruga can offer some deals, but the best merchants are found in other location.

Come to the bridge in the early morning or late evening.  There will still be people, but not hundreds.  I think some people have a hard time appreciating the beauty of Venice because of the crowds.  Don’t visit when they do and you will find yourself speechless that you are in a city this magnificent.

Rialto Market-If you don’t like the smell of seafood, this market may not be the best for you.  I love markets and I seek them out wherever I travel.  Food reveals a culture, and seafood is the key to unlocking the Venetian way.  If you are staying in an apartment, make sure you do some of your shopping here.  If not, stroll through the fresh produce and catch of the day to see what life is like in this corner of Italy.

Venice Post Office/German Exchange-Maybe you’ve got some postcards to mail, and if not, stroll past the previous trading grounds for German metal makers.  This dates back to the 1500s.  How many sites in the states can say that?

Strada Nuova-This street is big for Venice standards.  There are all kids of opportunities for shopping or eating.  My favorite cicchetti can be found off this major street.  Osteria al Bomba is difficult to find, but worth it in the end.  The alley that lead to the osteria was barely large enough for me and my belly.  Check out my post to learn more about this delicious stop.

Ruga Vecchia San Giovanni-If shopping is in your future, you may want to walk past the shops of the Rialto to the Ruga just past the bridge.  I’m not saying the prices will knock your socks off, but they will be more affordable than tourist city in the Rialto and San Marco.

Venice by Vaporetto: Rialto

Rialto Bridge-045Exploring Venice by vaporetto allows you to take advantage of this easy form of public transportation while seeing the majestic city from the water.  Let’s explore the sights of Rialto.  All places mentioned in this series are within one kilometer of the water bus stop.  Venice is a very walkable city, so there are many sights within reach from each stop.

This time around, I will disperse information across six days:

Monday-Map of Sights

Tuesday-Sights North of Rialto with Explanations

Wednesday-Sights East of Rialto with Explanations

Thursday-Sights South of Rialto with Explanations

Friday-Sights West of Rialto with Explanations

Saturday-Suggested Walk from Rialto

Let’s get started!

North

Rialto Bridge

Rialto Markets

Venice Post Office/German Exchange

Strada Nuova

Ruga Vecchia San Giovanni

East

Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli

Santa Maria Formosa

Ca’ del Sol Mask Shop

South

Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo

Teatro la Fenice

Gondola Parking Lot

Museo Correr

Piazza San Marco

Caffe Florian

Campanile

Museo di Palazzo Ducole

Basilica San Marco

Bridge of Sighs

West

Museo Fortuny

Like the photos you see here?  Check out more in my portfolio.

Venice Vaporetto 101

VeniceThe Venice Vaporetto is by far my favorite public transportation.  The stop is a dock and the vehicle is a boat.  The breeze and spray make it a great way to cool off in the summer.  Some people may be intimidated by the system, but it really is efficient and much more affordable than a gondola or taxi.  I do have to warn you that it is not as handicap-friendly as public transportation we might see in the states.  Then again, Venice is not very handicap-friendly in general.  If you are looking for a how-to or some simple tips, read below for more information.

Getting Ready for the Vaporetto

Finding a vaporetto stop is typically easy unless you are nestled in the back canals.  It can be handy to pick up a map that contains the city layout along with the vaporetto routes.  Even if you aren’t staying in a hotel, you can probably sneak in to pick one up.  Their website also has a downloadable copy of the map.

You can purchase tickets at some vaporetto stops, the airport, or online.  If you are coming in from the airport, it might be easiest to just purchase it there since you will also probably have to purchase a bus ticket to get to Venice.  Actv (the vaporetto company) offers tourist cards that will most likely work best for your travels.  There are different options based on the length of your stay.  Once you purchase a card, you have unlimited use until the time expires.  Make sure you validate your card, or you might be paying for some bigger fines!

How the Vaporetto Works

You’ve got your ticket, now what?  This is where having a vaporetto map can be helpful in creating a plan ahead of time.  If you don’t have a map, there are maps posted at the vaporetto stops.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the vaporetto map, but you can click the link so you can follow along.  Let’s do this step by step:

1. Find the vaporetto stop you are currently at.

2. Find the vaporetto stop you want to go to.

3. If it is on the same line (color/number), then this will be really easy.  Simply look in the direction you want to go until you find the last stop.  You will use the last stop to help you determine which direction you will go.  When you arrive at the vaporetto stop, you will want to find the sign that indicates that direction.  For example, if I was at San Marco-San Zaccaria and I wanted to go to San Giorgio, I would get on the line 2 boat in the direction of Tronchetto.  The vaporetto system is nice because most of the stops list all places the boat will visit.  This is a good way to double check that you are going the right direction.

4.  If you need to change lines, don’t fret.  Let’s say I’m at my home vaporetto stop of San-Marco-San Zaccaria and I want to go to Burano.  I look at the map to see how I can make the fewest connections possible.  I notice that I will take line 41/42 or 51/52 to Fondamente Nova to get on line 12 and exit at Burano.

Want some practice scenarios?  Check these out and look for the answers at the bottom of the post.  Remember, there is more than one way to get where you want to go, but typically we want the most straightforward approach.

1. Rialto to Salute

2. Ferrovia to San Toma

Rialto Bridge-045Important Reminders

After entering the boat, make sure you put your ticket in a safe place.  I have never been on a vaporetto where they check your tickets, but I’ve heard from others that they do check.  Hold onto it to verify you paid your way so you won’t be paying more later.

One of the most important points to remember is to watch your valuable items.  The vaporetto is a common place for pickpockets because we are easily distracted and the boats can become quite packed.  Try to keep your hand over your purse or pocket with your wallet, or wear a moneybelt.  Zippers and buttons are no match for pickpockets.  To learn other tips, check out my blog post about the topic.

Using the Vaporetto

Now that we have a better idea of how to use the vaporetto, we will be ready for the first installment of Venice by Vaporetto tomorrow.  The first post will feature the Rialto stop and all of the wonderful sights within a kilometer.

Answer Key

1-Look for Line 1 in the direction of Lido.

2-Look for Lines 1 or 2.