9/22 - 9/26
After months of anticipation and planning we finally arrived at Marco Polo airport and easily grabbed a bus for the train station. This being our 2nd trip, as "Venerans" (Venice Veterans) we confidently bought our Vaporetto tickets and strode towards the landing for the #1 boat (I think). You can never recapture the first time you emerge from the train station and see Venice for the first time, so the 2nd arrival had more of a warm and fuzzy "we're back" feel.
Ca d' Oro was the stop and after a short walk we were at our hotel, the Hotel Antico Doge. What a nice little jewel! Our room was ultra quiet, had a gorgeous chandalier from Murano, and a more than adequate bathroom, which is always nice. The hotel is situated on the eastern end of Cannaregio, facing the Campo Dei SS Apostoli, a vibrant little square at the end of the Strada Nova shopping district. As far as I was concerned, this was a perfect location, especially considering the things we wanted to do during this visit. The Rialto Bridge and San Marco were both a short walk away, but at the same time we weren't overrun with the throngs of tour groups that you see parading around Piazza San Marco.
The weather was AMAZING. Four days of brilliant sunshine and blue skies made for a great start to a 16 day vacation.
The Rialto Market - I was blown away by how much fresh food is brought in on a daily basis. Fresh fruit and veggies everywhere. I would LOVE to have access to something like this here at home. Unfortunately, we have to settle for Wegman's and the like.
The Jewish Ghetto - What an interesting section with an even more interesting (and powerful) history. I learned some things that I didn't know previously.
Isola San Giorgio Maggiore - What an underrated excursion. Granted, there isn't much to do there, but the view from the tower is the best in Venice (for my money) and it's a chance to get away from the crowds. We specifically went close to sunset, and I think that made a difference.
Harry's Bar - The wife insisted on going in and having a Bellini.
Getting Lost (not really) - As the experts always say, just wandering the streets, especially at night, is an experience in and of itself. We roamed the streets of Castello one night and next thing you know we were at the walls of the Arsenale with two big lion statues standing guard to the entrance. Very cool.
"Funny if you were there" story:
Looking for a nice Italian made jacket, we strode up and down the Strada Nova popping in and out of stores checking stuff out. One jacket in particular caught my eye so I go in and take a look, and the guy in the store insisted I try it on, which I did. It fit perfectly, felt great, and in my head I was ready to buy, especially since the guy kept saying "bello!". I politely asked the gentleman how much.......
You know the feeling when you're looking at something, and you ask how much it is, and when you find out you try to hide the fact that the item is waaaaaaaay out of your price range? I think you know where I'm going here.
Restaurant of note:
Carpaccio - located along the lagoon just down from San Zacharia. The Risotto Primavera is to die for. We ate here during our first trip to Venice and TWICE during this visit. Reservations preferable.
Sorry for the length, but it's so hard to summarize so much in a small space. I barely scratched the surface!
On to Bellagio!