Rome & Venice June 2004

June 11, 2004 – June 18, 2004

Mom, Dad, Andy, Satcha and I went to Italy for a vacation. This was a really fun trip!!! We saw so many things!!!

My favorite sights were the Trevi Fountain in Rome and all of Venice.

Friday, June 11
Satcha and I met with Dad and Andy in the Bilbao airport where we took a flight to Rome. In Rome we met up with Mom.

We arrived in Rome at 11pm and went to the hotel. At 12pm we decided to go to see the Trevi Fountain. It’s beautiful all lit up at night. There were a lot of people for that time of night. We went back to the hotel to get some sleep for the next day.

Saturday, June 12
We got up at 7am to take the hotel bus to the Vatican. We got to the area around the Vatican and stopped at a bar to have breakfast. I had a sausage, cheese and mushroom calzone...very yummy!!!! We went to the Vatican and saw the area where the pope gives masses and the balcony where he stands. We took the St. Peter’s tour. It’s huge!!!! We walked up the 350+ stairs to get to the top of the dome. Then we walked back down to see all the sculptures and statues. I loved the Pietà by Michelangelo. It’s beautiful. After St. Peter’s we walked over to the Sistine Chapel, but it was closed, so we walked over to the Piazza Navona. We stopped to have lunch in this plaza and see the Neptune fountain.

From there we walked over to see the Pantheon. This was very pretty. It’s amazing how old the building is. We left the Pantheon and walked over to the Trevi Fountain. This is the most beautiful fountain I've ever seen. I threw in a coin (so that I return to Rome) and we relaxed there for awhile.

We then walked over to the Spanish Steps – very pretty.

It was a very hot day, but we did a lot and got to see a lot. It was very tiring, but an exciting sightseeing day!!!

We went out to dinner at a very nice restaurant. The whole meal consisted of: starting with a sparkling white wine, melon and prosciutto, cold steamed vegetables, and 3 different types of pasta: spaghetti in a meat sauce, ravioli in a meat sauce and another ravioli in a sage sauce. By this time we were full, but then came the prawns, a fruit salad for dessert and limoncello. In the basement of the restaurant there was an ancient well, so the waiter took us down to see it and gave us free champagne. It was a really fun night. We had a wonderful food and a lot of laughs.

Sunday, June 13
Today was a walking day!!!! We started at 9am taking the city bus to the Coliseum. It was very pretty. We tried taking a guided tour, but our tour guide didn't want to be in the sun, so she kept us in a shaded corner explaining everything from there. After putting up with the guide we walked around by ourselves. It’s amazing how old and large it is.

We then walked over to the Roman Forum and the Palatino ruins. This was nice, but it got long for me. The Palatino ruins are of an old palace which was huge (for me it was just looking at scattered rocks!!!). We spent about 2 hours there.

Mom, Dad and Andy decided to go back to the hotel and Satcha and I kept sightseeing. We walked over to see the ruins of the Forum on the opposite side of the street. We then walked to the Piazza Di Venezia. Here we walked up more stairs to see the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was very high up (many steps), so we saw really pretty views of Rome.

We then decided to walk over to the Piazza di Popolo. We walked down a street which had all the designer/expensive stores: Gucci, Prada, Luise Vuitton, etc. Popolo had a few fountains and a monument in the middle. We took a break there and relaxed on the steps of the monument in the shade.

From there we decided to walk along the river back to the Vatican.

It was a very nice walk. We walked a total of about 5km today!!! It was very fun, but my feet were so tired at the end of the day!!!!!!

Monday, June 14
This morning we got up early to go see the Sistine Chapel. There was a really long line to get inside, we waited for only an hour, but the line wrapped around 3 sides of the Vatican. We finally got in and walked thought the Vatican Museum to get to the Chapel. When we got there I realized how worth the wait it was!!! It’s amazing. It’s an impressive sight and amazing that a painter could do such a work of art. There really aren't words to describe it!!!

After seeing the Sistine Chapel we went to have lunch and then Mom, Dad and Andy decided to go back to the hotel. Satcha and I set out to see more sights by ourselves.

From the Vatican we walked over to the Tritone Fountain. It’s a pretty small fountain, just something else to see. Then we found a Hard Rock Cafe and bought a T-shirt for the collection. We walked over to the Trevi Fountain and sat there relaxing for 2 hours and then took the bus back to the hotel.

Tuesday, June 15

We left this morning to fly to Venice (of course the Volare flight was late). We got there around 3pm and took a bus from the airport to the city. When the bus dropped us off at the stop, we had no idea how to get to the hotel. It took us about 1/2 hour to finally find the hotel. The hotel was on the Grand Canal, but it was a little far from the main area (about 30 minutes walking to St. Marcos Plaza).

Once we got checked in to the hotel we went to eat lunch at the nearest cafe – we were all so hungry. After lunch we went for a walk to look for the Rialto Bridge and St. Marcos Plaza. We walked through the small streets and over small bridges to pass over the canals. It was so beautiful!!!

We got to the Rialto Bridge where there was the typical Venice scenery: restaurants and cafes along the Grand Canal and many boats and gondolas. We stopped to have a drink in this area.

From there we walked over to the St. Marcos Plaza. It’s very pretty. It’s a huge plaza with a basilica and palace and it’s right on the water.

Wednesday, June 16
This morning we got up, ate breakfast in the hotel and signed up for a tour of a glass blowing factory. This tour was offered by the hotel for free: transportation to Murano Island and tour of the factory.

We got to the factory, which was also a very expensive glass store, and they gave us a demonstration of how they blow glass – Andy got to participate in it!!! They then took us to the store to have a look around. Although the things they had were really pretty, they were also very expensive. We saw a chess set for 15.000 euros and Andy saw a turtle worth 80.000 euros.

We left the store and walked around the island, but it was all glass stores, so we took the water bus back to the main island. We all decided to split up: Andy went off shopping, Mom and Dad went off walking and Satcha and I went off walking.

We walked behind the St. Marcos plaza and got to another main bridge of the island. We walked around there for awhile and then back to the plaza to meet up with everyone and decide what to do. Mom and Dad decided to go to the hotel to rest and Andy, Satcha and I decided to walk around. We walked back to the area where Satcha and I had been before and crossed over the bridge. This is where Andy bought me an imitation designer purse for my birthday!!! He negotiated with the guy selling it and bought it for like 5 euros when the guy was asking for something like 50 euros!!!!). We got to a church and the three of us decided to sit on the steps and relax. After awhile we walked back to the main area and went to a bar where we had some drinks and watched soccer, Spain was playing in the Eurocup. It was nice to spend this time with Andy.

We then met up with Mom and Dad and went out for dinner.

Thursday, June 17
This day we decided to go visit other islands. We took the water bus to Burano and Lido. The trip to Burano was about an hour.

We got to Burano and walked around the island. It was really pretty. It’s a small fishing town were all the houses area painted different bright colors.

Then we went to Lido. This is a more resort island. It’s very residential and has a lot of beach area. We didn't stay there very long.

We went back to the main island and Andy, Mom and Dad went back to the hotel to rest. Satcha and I decided to take a gondola ride. It was really expensive (80euros/40min and 100euros/1hr). We took the 40 minute ride after telling the guy that we didn't want the hour long ride about 10 times. The ride was OK. The driver pointed out landmarks and people’s houses as we went along. The ride was nice, it was definitely an experience that I felt I had to have – gondola ride on the Grand Canal of Venice – but the water was really dirty and smelly.

After the ride we went back to the hotel to take a nap. We then all met up and took a walk and went out for dinner.

Friday, June 18
It was a day on planes and in airports.
We left Venice, flew to Rome and waited 6hrs in Rome to fly to Bilbao.