As usual, this trip, we packed and then did a final circuit through the old city before heading to the train station.
Afterwards, the taxi went directly to the station so we saw how close it was to our hotel …. we probably could have walked it quite easily! …. though we would be sweating heavily, pulling our gear. Of course we got there too early …. we had a 70 minute wait. So Gerda did a tour of their underground shopping mall. Still in “catch and release” mode.
The high-speed train #9418 was 10 minutes late leaving for Venice. We boarded through a free-for-all – everyone entering and leaving at the same time. When we got to our seats, they were occupied so we had to ask the trespassers to vacate. The man did with no objection; however, the lady (?) was reluctant to move. She finally did get up but made no effort to help Gerda, leaving her bag in the way. Gerda was not impressed. Other than that, the trip was uneventful.
When we arrived in Venice, we had to decide the best transportation – there’s water bus, water taxi or walking. Because of all the canals and bridges, walking was the worst choice. The bus (vaporetto) looks like the best bet at 7.50€ per person vs 100€ for a taxi. Well, another interesting adventure with several bags and backpacks to manage – now we know the plight of sardines.
To understand the draw, the beauty of Venice, you must take a trip on the Grand Canal to see the relationship of the people, buildings, boats and water. An interesting symmetry that somehow works. Below are some pictures of the buildings and boats, lapping up the canals:
Our stop on the “bus” route was at Giglio (#12) ….. if you bring extra-large luggage be prepared to have the sides scrapped. The unloading dock was okay but quickly turned into a narrow walkway to the church and hotel square! We made it, minus some paint ……..
Our hotel, Bel Sito & Berlino, is at the far end of the square, across from the church.
We had another surprise, an upgrade, with windows over the piazza and church courtyard. Unusual, considering the International Film Festival is in Venice.
Guess we just lucked out, again.
Once we were settled, it was off to explore – first stop San Marco Mall. This time around it seemed so much easier to find our way. Of course that still doesn’t help when it starts to pour and you’ve forgotten your umbrella.
So we stopped in a little, up-scale coffee and liquor cafe. Surprise, they have a small three piece jazz band …. sort of …. you can listen below:
Word of warning, although we loved the place and had a great time talking to a couple from Montana, it was very expensive – almost 20€ per beer and 15€ per cappuccino, plus an expected tip!
As a sidenote: Congratulations to Christa on her promotion to Director at CGI … well deserved!
Venice – Day 2
This will be a day of relaxation. Breakfast at the hotel, because the cafe’s and restaurants are fairly expensive and we’re not very hungry having eaten so well for the past 9 days. Also I’ve decided I’m more interested in photography than museums – there’s just as much old outside as inside.
…… and then we see a free museum to music of Vivaldi. Just fabulous! (It brings back memories of my years playing violin.) Regardless, here are a few pictures of the instrument displays:
Moving on through several piazza’s, we cross the Grand Canal on an old, wide, very high wooden bridge (Pont dell’Academia) …… and as you can see from the following images, we find several more clusters of “love-hives” …..
After wandering the other side, taking lots of pictures, we decided to stroke-off another one of Gerda’s bucket list items …. a visit to a beach on Lido island. First, we need to figure out the ticket dispensing machine …. for some reason it doesn’t accept Visa …. so try again, this time with cash ….. and finally it works, but too late for us to catch the 12:15 vaporetto. We wait again. When it comes at 12:32, it is packed. Some people get off but twice as many get on?? ….. not sure how because it was so packed. All these people you see and you do not know anyone. But it is all so incredible!
We have to wait again – finally at 12:45 we squeeze aboard and brace ourselves for a rockn, rollin, ride – shoulder to shoulder with all nationalities. With us so tightly packed, I can’t take picture of the shore – Gerda graciously alloss me to use her glasses as a mirror.
Once we deboard, we make our way down the main street and find the public beach at the end. The sand is so fine and compact, it is very easy to walk and a perfect canvas for writing.
Later in the evening, after a good meal at Trattoria Al Leoncini (San Marco, 352-372) and charming conversation with server Giorgio who speaks 6 languages, we stroll back to the wooden bridge and take a few pictures of the full moon over the Venice – Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute.
Venice – Day 3
Up early today – 8 am ’cause Gerda wanted to visit the fish market (truly a “catch” no release experience). Quick breakfast and then on the move ….. sort of, lots of people clogging the alley and main concourses. Sometimes you feel like shouting for them to stop gawking and get moving. It only takes two people to completely stop all foot traffic!
We made another quick stop on the San Marco Mall side of the Rialto Bridge. We wanted to look at some jewelry. It all looks fine and reasonable until you realize the exchange different between the euro and the dollar (1.4 to 1).
Off again and after a lot of jostling we make the Rialto Bridge … intact and still with our sense of humor! The market was something else to see, with all the fresh vegetables, fruit and other product including many different types of fresh caught seafood. Not something us folks from the Canadian prairies often see.
Gerda buys a few items and we move on looking for photo gold …..
After playing “lost & found” for several hours we finally make our way back to the Rialto Bridge, crossing down the centre. Lots of bobbing and weaving through the crowd as shown in the video below:
Time for a liquid refreshment …… then check-out the Basilica …. quite the impressive structure.
Again lots of photo gold – be it people, buildings, boats/water or combinations. With the constant change in conditions, the scenes will never be the same. The following, as with us, will all be different when we return in two years:
The following video may be the closest we come to a gondola ride. We are running out of time in Venice ………
After we returned, it’s another quick meal, a rest and then back to San Marco Mall for a Vivaldi concert. The Virtuosi di Venezia played Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” in Ateneo San Basso at the Piazza San Marco. What a fabulous performance! The best I’ve heard in a long time. We both thoroughly enjoyed it ….. Gerda’s introduction to live classical Baroque. She was very impressed and pleased. Unfortunately, but understandably, we could not take pictures during the concert ….. so I took a picture of the stage and bought a CD …… a small reminder of a beautiful memory.
On the way back to the hotel, we decided to have a quick pizza. After rejecting several restaurants, we found one, Tavernetta San Maurizio (San Marco 2619), that had the culture and character we like, only to have the server tell us the pizza is only available at lunch ….. decision time ….. move on or have something else …… so, we ordered seafood spaghetti. Turns out to be a very good decision …… wonderful flavor and texture better than other places we’ve eaten in Venice.
On a final note, we ended up having a great conversation with a couple from England who were heading home on Monday …… unfortunately I forgot to write down their information, but they were charming and the conversation was stimulating.
After they left, we struck a second conversation with another couple from Ireland, near Dublin. Another interesting couple, Adrian and Nicole were celebrating their 6th wedding anniversary – congratulations and many more. Our talks ranged from work to places we’ve travelled.
We enjoyed the conversations and wished both couples well on their travels. Who knows, our paths may cross again on future journeys.
……… we wake to rain, so no gondola ride – a leisurly breakfast, try on our complimentary bathrobes & slippers (for a picture or two – don’t we look cool?) – change back to normal (whatever that is) …. and on to our next destination …..…
……… more to follow from Verona ………