lundi 26 mai 2008

Firenze and Venezia: Day 13

Day 13

Woke up early to go to the Accademia for our scheduled visit to see the famous David. We checked out of our hostel since we're supposed to leave by 10:30am, but left our baggage in the office.

The David was really, really huge. Not allowed to take photos though. Grabbed a postcard on the way out. Also saw more religious paintings. By now, I'm kind of burnt out from all the art. There's just too much to see.

After the museum, we grabbed a cappuccino for breakfast then headed back to the Leather School. Lovely, lovely, they remembered us. Keisha was checking out the purses, Lucia the wallets, and I got my wallet monogrammed. It was so cool, just standing by the craftsman as he selected gold leaf papers, and fitted my initials into the stamp. He showed me the "E.G.F." and asked for my approval. I nodded and said, "Si."He stamped it, showed me the stamp and awaited my approval again, and then put the wallet back in its wrapping. Peeked in on Keisha as she tried out a green leather over-the-shoulder handbag. Absolutely gorgeous. I joined Lucia as we both looked presents for our family to get monogrammed. I chose things for Mom, Dad, and Kuya, and got them monogrammed. Then Keisha's salesman came over to give me storage bags for the presents. Awesome! When we were about to leave, the main guy who helped us asked, "How did you find us?" I mentioned my Lonely Planet guide. He smiled and said, "Come back again" before saying goodbye. As we left, we said thank you and goodbye to the craftsmen working.

I thought about our lovely things and how they would totally fit that "grow old with and pass it down" type stuff that I'm into. I thought about if I'd get to "come back again". Maybe by that time I'll be working. Maybe by the time I come back, I'll need a new wallet, with new initials in gold.

Walked to another area known for leather, Piazza San Lorenzo. Stand after stand of leather goods. Some specializing in just purses, or just belts, or pashmina scarves. Keisha wanted leather gladiator sandals, Lucia a purse, and I was good and totally done with shopping. Right until I found myself at a belt stand with Keisha. The vendor was really nice and funny. I picked up a green leather belt but found that it was too big. "I fix for you!!" the vendor said. He put the belt around me, saw how much he should cut off, and then disappeared with the belt. When he came back, the belt was shorter, and he put one more hole for the buckle so that I can cinch it tighter. So sweet! For Keisha, he shortened her snake skin belt, put in another hole and even made a little loop with the extra snake skin. Lucia was at another vendor one stand down and got a black leather purse.

Afterwards, we went to the train station to get our ticket to Venezia. Got tickets for 15H-ish which was in an hour. Picked up our baggage at the hostel and went back to the station and got Mcdonald's before boarding our train to Venezia. Slept for most of the train ride.

Got into Venice around 18H. It was so surreal traveling by train over the ocean and pulling into the station. Like something out of Spirited Away.We exited the station, and all I could think was Dr. Indiana Jones exhaling, "Ahh...Venice" in The Last Crusade. We got a 2 day pass for the "metro" which is really a boat that goes from dock to dock all over the islands. How cool is that?!

On the boat, we watched gondolas, boat taxis, and people with their own boats pass us. Got off at Ponte di Rialto where it was busy with tourists dining by the canals. I had directions to the hostel which were more complicated than I thought. And we passed lots of stores selling Venetian glass and leather bound journals. After what seemed like forever, we found our hostel through a tiny alleyway where we saw a lovely circular lamplight pointing to the entrance.

Checked into the Locanda Poste Vecie, and our sweet hostel lady showed us to the Annex, which was a couple metres down from the hotel. The annex was the "hostel" part while the lobby was part of the hotel part. The buildings were converted from a palace. I guess where we were staying were the servants quarters. She was really sweet and helped with Keisha's luggage, but was out of breath on the third floor where our room was. She also showed us the two shared bathrooms on the second floor.
Our room was HUGE and cute with paintings of famous Venetian bridges on its walls. Originally for 4 people with 2 queen beds, we decided to book it anyway since it was cheaper than other three-person rooms we found, and this hotel was in a super-central area. I mean, 2 minutes from Ponte di Rialto. Come on!

We collapsed on the bed to rest for a couple of minutes, then started unpacking. For fun, we laid out all the leather goods that we bought in Firenze on the bed and took a picture. We really went to town there. While Keisha was napping, Lucia and I decided to see the area since it was only past 21H. We walked around the canal area and the bars and found a cafe by the Ponte where we got sandwiches, chips, and water to go. Came back to find Keisha awake and hungry, so we ate while sitting on our beds, amongst our leather goods. Unpacked some more and went to sleep in our comfy warm beds.