Three-Country Europass--1995

For this trip, we flew into Zurich for one reason only. For several years, we had been wanting to take the Bernina Express all the way to Tirano in Italy. Although we had traveled the part of the route from Chur to St. Moritiz, we really wanted to see the rest. We weren't disappointed. The tunnels and viaducts provided memorable sights, and the snow was several feet deep along much of the route. We were amazed, though, at how much hotter the weather became once we arrived in Italy. Also, we were a little surprised at the formal customs and passport check after we detrained. The Bernina Express
On the Lista de Spagna We arrived in Venice at a little past 11:00 p.m. on the Friday night before Palm Sunday. We had decided to take a chance and not make reservations. At the station, even that late at night, we were met by a few of the hotel hawkers offering rooms at a number of places. We chose to stay at the Hotel Spagna only a couple of hundred yards from the station on the Lista da Spagna. Although we'd prefer to stay closer to St. Marks, the hotels on Lista da Spagna do have some real advantages. They are close to the station, and are really convenient for the rail traveler. Baggage can be more of a problem in Venice than in many cities because of the inconvenience of taking it by boat to the hotel. At the Hotel Spagna, we had a very nice 3-Star Room with bath and a huge (for Italy) breakfast for less than $90 per night. The Lista da Spagna is also pretty convenient for exploring the Ghetto, just a few blocks down, and the walk to St. Marks takes only 20 minutes or so.
Brenda and I love the canals of Venice, and on each visit we spend quite a bit of time riding the big water buses throughout the city. And, every time we go, we swear that this time we'll actually ride in a gondola. And, then we get there and realize how many other places we can spend the outrageous amount that the gondolier asks and we ride the water buses some more! And afterwards, we always say, "Next time, next time, we'll ride the gondola." Venice canal
The Grand Canal The Grand Canal winds through the city and serves as the main avenue. Almost all the major water bus routes travel at least a part of the Grand Canal. The Car Park is on the Grand Canal; the station opens right to the Grand Canal; the Rialto Bridge spans it; and it ends near St. Marks. Try to stay as close as possible to it; the sounds coming from the canal help make Venice the unique wonder that it is.
At the lagoon end of St. Mark's stand two great columns. On one of the columns is Saint Theodorus, and on the other is the Lion of Venice. The Winged Lion can be seen in dozens of places throughout the city. Today, pleasure boats take the tourists from this point on trips around the lagoon, but just a few hundred years ago, this was the spot that the great merchant ships of Venice docked. Near the columns stands the Doge's Palace; take a tour of the palace to get a good understanding of what Venice was like at the height of its power. The symbols of Venice
St. Mark's pigeons At one time, Napoleon called St. Mark's Square "the finest drawing room in Europe." Today, it's the finest pigeon room in Europe. Buy a little pigeon food and take a chance on not being decorated by the birds, or spend considerably more to enjoy one of the most expensive cups of coffee you can ever have in one of St. Mark's sidewalk cafes. 

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