April 18, 2004: We went to Piazza San Marcos today. We took a Vaparetto to reach the Piazza and then stood in line for about 15-20 min to visit Basilica San Marcos. It was absolutely stunning. We then rode to the top of the Companile (the bell tower that stands traditionally next to a Basilica) – this offers an excellent view of the city. The funny thing though is that though you are at such height, you cannot see a single canal within the city of Venice from here. Why that is – I do not know. Also visited Museo Correr.
We had lunch at a small snack café by the Piazza. Topped the pizza (tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms) at lunch with a double scoop of gelato! We walked around the Piazza, took lots of pictures and then settled down for a round of cappuccino at Café Florian in the Piazza. The café has live music and is a few hundred years old. We got charged an exorbitant amount for two cups of coffee (which was excellent, btw). 25 € for 2 cups o’ coffee was almost ridiculous – soothing music, lively atmosphere and some historical significance notwithstanding!
Dinner was at a café in Carneggio (cant remember the name). I had vegetarian soup and tortellini with mushrooms & cream while Sri had crab fettucine, Cuttlefish Filet with boiled beans.
After dinner, we walked through the alleyways of Venice – this is a must. It is so fascinating to simply walk around. We walked past the Peggy Guggenheim collection to the Campo Maria della Salute, which is a church on the Darsoduro. I am not Christian by religion but I prayed here – it was the most peaceful experience I had. I am also not very religious but I must say that I felt extremely religious at that moment. I lit a candle for everything that I have, for all the good fortune in our life. From there we went to Hotel Danieli because one of the Fodorites mentioned it was worth seeing. The lobby was nice, pretty. We then walked into the Piazza at night. It was alright, nothing amazing.
Before we went back to our room, however, we had to have coffee. So we stopped for some coffee and also helped ourselves to some chocolate cake. And I found out something interesting today – having coffee standing at the bar (which is what a coffee shop is called) costs less than sitting at a table. E.g. coffee was half the price at the bar as compared to what we paid at the table!!!