Venice Via Alps

Today we have our longest train trip, from Vienna to Venice. It will also be the most beautiful, offering us an intimate view of the Alps of southern Austria and those on the Italian border. The train left Vienna at 6:30 a.m. and will get into Venice at 1:30 this afternoon. It was a pleasant trip—the trains here are excellent.

Lower Austria

Lower Austria

Breakfast on the Train

Breakfast on the Train

Austrian Alps

Austrian Alps

It was my choice to come to Venice. I'd fallen in love with the city on the screen, which I realize is a fantasy, but it is a unique city—there is no other place like it on Earth. Of course, the canals and the architecture are distinct, but what really sets it apart is the fact that there are no cars. You can walk the streets without the sounds of traffic, and this gives Venice a slower, more relaxed pace.

Our train crossed the lagoon to the train station and from there we boarded the vaporetto, which is essentially a water bus. We took the vaporetto through the Grand Canal to San Marco, which was near our hotel. How amazing it is to finally be here!

Grand Canal Houses

Grand Canal Houses

Grand Canal Pension

Grand Canal Pension

Canal Near Rialto

Canal Near Rialto

Rialto View

Rialto View

We explored a bit today and ended up back in San Marco area early. Everyone was tired because we were all up before six this morning, but I was running on my Venetian adrenaline high. I stayed up and absorbed the Piazza San Marco and all that was happening in it.

Family in San Marco

Family in San Marco

Windy Evening in Venice

Windy Evening in Venice

Basilica di San Marco

Basilica di San Marco

Basilica and Palazzo Ducale

Basilica and Palazzo Ducale

Dark Canal

Dark Canal

Cafe Florian

Cafe Florian

Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco

Romantic Moment

Romantic Moment

At midnight, the bells of San Marco tolled, just as they have in all those movies I've seen and for the hundreds of years before that.