We arrived in Venice today! The trip took about three hours by bus and we stopped in Padua on the way for about an hour. That included a visit to the Botanical Gardens and a sculpture park in the city. The garden was full of exotic plants of every variety, my favorite were the Venus Fly Traps.
Next we arrived in Venice and took a water taxi to our hotel. Venice is known as the "City of Canals" and is made up of 117 small islands connected by about 400 bridges over 150 canals. It really is breathtaking, with a maze of streets and a new hidden gem of a view around every corner. It's as if the buildings rise straight out of the water, and the colorful reflections shimmer in the surface as boats and gondolas serenely float by. After getting settled into our rooms we all went out for dinner at a local seafood place. The restaurant was tiny little hole in the wall hidden in a winding narrow ally. But going off the beaten path was a good choice because the food was out of this world! People ordered all the fruits of the sea, from squid ink spaghetti, to calamari, crab, and scallops. After eating we took a water taxi back to the hotel, and enjoyed the flickering of lights reflecting off the canal water like diamonds.