We got off of the boat at St. Mark's Square and took in the sights there -- the cathedral, the tower, the first digital clock (on the tower), the sighing bridge, the water's edge, and the crowds. The crowds were probably the thickest in Venice of all the places we had been (with a very close second being in the Vatican Museum).
We strolled the streets, taking in the colors, the architecture, the alley ways and doorways, the canals, the boats, the gondolas, the bridges, the shops. All of it seemed to interest me.
We decided to stay there until dark so we could see the lights of the square and hear the musicians perform for the cafes that faced the square. I'm so glad we did. It was wonderful. Two different quartets took turns performing for their guests and the crowds standing near. The crowd was much less intense at night! It really was a very romantic place to be.
You can see more of my photographs from Venice here.
How long we were there: 1 day (technically in Venice for 6 hours, Mestre the rest of the time).
What we did: We spent the day wandering the streets of Venice! We did take a water-bus through the whole Grand Canal and listed to two audio tours by Rick Steves about the Canal and St. Mark's Basilica/Square. I told Chris on our way there that all I really wanted to do was take pictures. (And I got plenty!)
What we ate: We had lunch in Mestre, the city across the river from Venice. I ordered gnocchi with a creamy walnut sauce and chicken cordon blue (as if I needed to order both!) and Chris had an interesting pizza with tuna on it. For dinner, we decided to go on the cheap side and have hot deli sandwiches and wine. I have to confess that we had gelato twice in one day (and I'm not even sorry)! Everything we ate was really delicious.
Where we stayed: We stayed in Mestre because Venice was just too expensive. We were on the 10th floor of an apartment building with a pretty great view. The host was an interesting guy, who didn't really clean his place for us at all (Actually, I think is previous guest had left just moments before we arrived). He also had two large dogs (one of which was up barking at 5 a.m.). We slept on a lofted bed, which I had not done since camp in 5th grade (I don't like heights). Chris didn't sleep well that night at all. I can thank my pain medicine for knocking me out well enough. Not our favorite place; actually, it was probably the worst of our whole trip, but really if that's the worst, I can be very thankful.
How we got around: We arrived by train and took a bus around Mestre and across the bridge to Venice, then in Venice we took a water-bus through the Grand Canal.