Up early this morning as we have a four hour drive to Venice, so brekky and out the door by 8. Our little apartment has been great, very close to the ferry and all the main sights we wanted to see, as well as being only 10 minutes from the fancy place Maddy was staying at. Lake Como is beautiful, and we barely scratched the surface of things to do and see, so we may well come back for more……maybe?! So, at 8am we set the GPS and hit the road for a fast start to Venice. I had a feeling we are going the wrong way but pressed on regardless until the stupid machine says “turn right in 600 metres”. Only problem….a right turn is straight into the drink! GPS wants us to catch the ferry……mmmmm About turn, turn off the GPS for a while, and 30 minutes after departing we go past our apartment again. So much for an early start! GPS back on again. Two tips with GPS’s. 1/. Turn off ferries as an option, and 2/. Only ever go by quickest time, NOT shortest route. We turned here and there, and here and there. Thru round-a-bout after round-a-bout, until we changed the settings, and proceeded to the nearest tollway…..at long last. The trip to Venice went via Milan and was mostly uneventful. The section to the Modena turn off was pretty ugly, industrial, and very busy. Four lanes of traffic a-la the Monash at about 3pm on a Friday. Except you are doing 130k’s! The second half of the trip was much nicer, the scenery quite lovely, and the traffic less hectic. We made it to Venice Station at about 12.30, which was pretty good time considering the start we had had. But, the car was scheduled to be back at 11.30, and courtesy of our friendly GPS we incurred an extra days rental…for being 60 minutes late! I was half the mind to take the keys back and say I’ll keep the car till tomorrow….thanks!!! I’m getting over being stitched at every opportunity. Anyhow, train to Venice St Lucia, then on the vaporetto (water bus) to the Rialto stop. We had sketched directions to our hotel which I thought would cause us grief and sure enough within minutes we were huddled in the corner turning the map around and around trying to work out where we actually were. A fellow came over and asked if we needed directions, we showed him the map and he said “follow me”. ALARM BELLS! Friendly Indian chap, help….and no stings attached? Not bloody likely! Oddly, we followed him, all the while wondering what sweatshop we would end up sponsoring, but low-and-behold….we ended up outside our hotel, NO strings attached! Forget Mary Magdelene, the shroud of Turin, psst….a miracle has occurred! Praise the lords, I take it all back. I BELIEVE!! Faith in human kind restored, we headed out amongst the throng to test said faith….and tested it was! Crowds, heat….crowds and heat. Great combination! Have I told you my love of a crowd? Anyway, we checked out St Marks Square, which isn’t really, sort of runs off at an odd angle with an ugly brick tower next to the basilica. Bought tickets to the Palazzo Ducale, which we’ll see tomorrow , and wandered around the lane ways, checking out the shops and restaurants as we went. We are staying in the main area, San Marco, which seems very lively with tourist, and gondolier’s. The waterways are thick with then! Bourke street on a Friday evening, chockers! They charge about €120 for a 20 minute trip, and they are everywhere. In my next life I want to come back as one off these blokes, they must be rolling in Euro’s. We bought a panini and went back to St Marks square to eat it, sitting down on the step….until a “St Marks Square Guardian” told us to get off! Evidently sitting in a “non designated” sitting area is forbidden! Just a little precious are the Venetians. We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering thru the streets, battling the crowds whilst window shopping for €12000 watches and jewellery. I never realised how high end the shopping was here. We found some Murano glass shops which had some pretty cool stuff….will probably add to hand luggage tomorrow. Man, we are adding the kilo’s in excess baggage at a rate of knots! The cost of eating can be quite prohibitive here, with seating surcharges, live music charges, and assorted extras which bite you at bill time, so we settled for something a little easier on the wallet. Spritz time, then We had dinner in Venices oldest pub. In fact, it’s only pub! €36 later and we were done, excellent. Tomorrow…queuing time!