Our visit to Venice, Florence, and Rome

Venice {Saturday}

(remember, most photos can be enlarged by double-clicking on them, so give it a try!) 

Ahead to Venice (Sunday)
Return to Italy - Introduction
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{Saturday}
Our initial  impression of Venice was that the place was a blast! Our ride/guide met us at the terminal holding a sign board with our names as expected, and it was perhaps a 1000 foot walk from baggage claim outside to the dock where a water taxi was waiting for us. And vroom... off we went to the hotel. Talk about a change of venue - from air to aqua in an instant!
 
 

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Venice is... what can I say; it's just like the pictures. Our route took us through an open bay area, along the Grand Canal, and down some tiny tributary to within a few hundred feet of our hotel, as I played the part of the typical American tourist, clicking away madly with my new digital camera (an activity to be repeated shamelessly throughout or trip).
Well, for Venice at least, it looks like Legend Tours has done us well the hotel Georgione is nice, in a convenient spot, and very European, and our room has a window that looks down on a nice courtyard with a fountain. On the other hand, the shower is about the size of a phone booth, but on the other other hand, there was plenty of hot water. Check in was quick and pleasant the restaurant we'd inquired about by phone was booked, but we discussed several others they'll try for us.

After taking some time for Judie to stretch and shower, we hit the streets of Venice. The city is nothing less than an interlocking maze of tiny, twisting, corridors and canals, with streets bridging the canals at various random spots and the canals sometimes bridging the streets at high tide (though we haven't seen this phenomenon yet).
 
 

The trick to navigating here is to have a good map and to redefine the meaning of the word lost. Traditionally, lost means that you can't figure out where you are. (Of course, if you're female, lost means not *knowing* where you are, but that's a debate for another time). In Venice, I decided that being lost means not knowing the direction you need to go to get where you want to be. With that out of the way, you can meander in the right direction, see the sights, explore the shops, enjoy a snack, and get to your destination without worrying about being lost. My GPS was useless due to the buildings and narrow corridors (I couldn't see much of the sky myself), but it included a magnetic compass which was a pretty big help. We worked our way north to the bay to check out the relatively inexpensive place the hotel recommended for the first night's dinner, and decided to eat somewhere else. Nothing wrong with it, really, but nothing right enough either to make it worth singling our. After grabbing some Gelato (chocolate and banana), we mazed our way down to Piaza San Marco, partly to identify the starting location for our walking tour tomorrow, and partly to have a destination.

What a blast this place is corridors narrow enough to touch both walls, staircases leading to the water, so many photo opportunities... maybe I'll quite my job and become a Gondolierer here. Judie agreed with this plan, though the career options she was considering were somewhat different.

But after several hours of wandering (we hadn't checked into the hotel until after 4:00 PM), Judie was starting to fade, so we found a phone, used my telecom Italia phone card to cancel the dinner reservation the hotel had made at the first place, and located a place from the tour guide on the way back the hotel. Good food, nice (though not live) music, and interesting conversation with the mixed Italian, American, and Croatian table next to us. And a liter or so of beer for me, along with some wine, and lemoncelo for Judie (she found it too sweet, so I finished it for her (why let it go to waste)/ And finally, some sort of complementary unidentified frozen alcoholic concoction. All things considered, it was pretty amazing that we were able to navigate back to the hotel in the dark. But we did, finding our bed turned down and provided with the customary (to Americans) chocolate candy in the pillow, and gladly hit the sack.

Briefly, at about 2:30 AM we both woke up, of course, in sympathy with morning back in the US, but we were able to get more sleep until I woke to the sounds of Venice waking: church bells chiming the early hour and the sounds of grates and locks being pulled off of doors... and the the alarm clock built into the TV.
 

Ahead to Venice (Sunday)
Return to Italy - Introduction
Back to the home page