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Here's The Trip Report - It's Long!!

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Toronto, Canada
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Here's The Trip Report - It's Long!!

I'm not going to wait for the return of my journal, so here is my report that I will post as responses to this topic - one for each day because it's really long!

Forgive my tacky manner of mentioning how much everything cost - this is meant only to be helpful to others planning a trip and wondering what the prices are.

Also, please note that this is an honest account. We made some mistakes, and at times took on way too much for our limited 5 day stay. The good thing is, on our return, we can dedicate much more time to just savouring Venice, rather than going through a checklist of things to see.

Hopefully this report will be helpful to some - and it may prove useful as a sleeping aid for others, since I do tend to go on...

Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: Here's The Trip Report - It's Long!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Arrived in Venice from Paris on the overnight train at roughly the scheduled time of 9:45 a.m. It was so nice to come out of the station right at the Grand Canal. It was very crowded, very hot, but still wonderful. So while my husband waited with the luggage, I fought my way to the line up at the ticket booth for the vaporetto because I wasn’t sure what we had to do to “validate” our Venice Cards. Turned out that we just needed to stick it in the yellow machine (there was one outside every stop) and it put a date stamp on each card. Thereafter, we only needed to keep the cards with us in case they were checked on the vaporetto – it’s very convenient!

We made our way to Vaporetto No. 1. We stuffed ourselves onto the crowded boat, put our luggage in the small wooden open type box as the employee directed us to, and we stood beside it in amongst the crowd. To see all of the beautiful palazzi all along the Grand Canal, the Rialto bridge, etc. is such an incredible experience! It took about 45 minutes or so to reach San Zaccaria. We found the small passageway that we needed to get to San Zaccaria church (beautiful marble church from what we could see on the outside – it wasn’t until a few days later that we saw how lovely it is on the inside!).

We continued on past the church and around the corner to our hotel, Palazzo Priuli. WOW! What a fantastic place! It is an old palazzo from the 16th century, situated just steps away from everything, but just far enough back in Castello that it is away from the crowds. We were too early to check in so we left our luggage, and headed out to explore. (I have posted a full review of the hotel on TA – can’t say enough good things about this place!).

Just as an aside, both of us had a difficult time getting our “land legs” back. This wasn’t due to the vaporetto ride, but the 14 hours on the train. We both felt really wobbly that first day. Not much to be done about it – but we just noticed it, that’s all.

First on our list was to head towards Santa Maria Formosa. We found it with ease, and this seemed to be the place we always ended up back at when we got lost, so could quickly navigate our way back to the hotel. We walked down the Calle Longe de SM Formosa, as we were on a mission for 2 places – an internet café, and Papier Mache mask shop. Found the internet café first, and so we were able to quickly check in at home. Then a few steps down was Papier Mache. This place was recommended to us by Sophie on TA, and was everything expected and more. They make the beautiful masks on the premises, and in fact when we passed by on another occasion, you could see a man working in the window. We bought a beautiful, large mask of the Plague Doctor which was exactly what we were after. It was extremely well made and nicely decorated, with a crackle finish and a painting of the Plague Doctor in full costume. We paid 70 euros for it, but there were many different masks at a variety of prices – some much cheaper, and some more expensive. We enquired about having it shipped home to Canada, but the cost was 45 euros to do this. The woman explained that this is a much more cost effective method when shipping several masks since it’s the same price, but for one mask alone, it’s quite expensive. We opted to bring it home in our luggage, and the woman at the shop wrapped it extremely well in several layers of bubble wrap and it survived our trip home unscathed.

Next we were off in search of lunch, and since we were tired, hot and hungry, we made the mistake of stopping at one of the first places we encountered. Our first experience of dining in Venice was really quite awful on several levels, but the positive part was that every other place we went to after was sooooo much better. I guess if you have to have a bad experience, it’s helpful when it’s the first, since there’s no place to go but up! We had lunch at Al Borcielo? Ristorante in SM Formosa Square (completely guessing at the name – it’s the one across from the church with the green canopies). It appealed to us mostly because its outdoor seating was shaded. There was only one other table of people there at the time, with about six people at it. That should have been our first clue. The waiters were quite unfriendly. I ordered a pizza and my husband ordered the Scampi. We had a large bottle of water for the two of us. We waited quite a long time for lunch to be served – I think around 30 or 40 minutes. I didn’t think much of it at the time as I just figured we were on Venetian time and perhaps things are a little more laid back, but every other place we went to afterwards served us very quickly. Anyhow the food arrived, and it was extremely disappointing. My husband’s scampi arrived on the plate cut open, I think there were three of them, and apparently they were not well cooked. Since I don’t eat fish or seafood, I’ll take his word for it. It didn’t come with anything else - just these three creatures with the eyes still dangling – well that’s how I saw it anyways. And DH wonders why I don’t like seafood. I figured a pizza was a safe order – how bad could it be? Well, mine was quite anemic looking. It seems it was generally waved within the pizza oven and taken out. The crust was completely white and barely cooked. The mozzarella was just slightly melted. Our waiters ignored us afterwards (let me preface this by saying we are friendly, polite and generally not the type to complain), so I eventually asked the waiter for “il conto, per favore”, to which he snarkily replied, “I’ll get it for you in a few minutes, okay”!. The bill arrived and it was 50 euros!! This included a 5 euro cover charge, 4.50 euros for service, my pizza was 12 euros, my husband’s scampi was 24 euros and our water was 4.50. We left 50 euros, didn’t round up, didn’t leave change and got the heck out of there. Some unsuspecting tourists started to arrive at the restaurant as we were leaving. I should have warned them. We did, however, learn a valuable lesson to read the menus and check prices first before entering, see if the people at the tables seem to be enjoying their food, etc

We went back to the hotel to check in and saw our beautiful room! It was incredible! It had 15 foot ceilings with huge wooden beams, antique furniture, windows overlooking a small canal that was a gondola route. The bathroom was large, modern and the whole place was spotlessly clean. I loved walking up the stairs to our room – I’m assuming it must be the original stairwell, as it is made of stone and the stairs are completely wonky and slant way down to one side. It was so charming, and a reminder of just how old this wonderful place really is. DH commented that he wouldn’t want to be going up the stairs after a few drinks – but for me, every time I went up or down them, I enjoyed each step. Just one of those little things that you’ll always remember.

We later went out to see the SM Formosa church, and explored the area some more. We had dinner at Casa Di Nino near San Zaccaria church, and our dining experience was much better this time. We ordered from the tourist menu, which we generally did thereafter, because it was reasonably priced. I had gnocchi to start, and then a Milanese cutlet (breaded pork), and DH had penne and roast chicken. We had a ½ litre of house wine, a bottle of water, and the bill was extremely reasonable – about 45 euros I think. Afterwards, we strolled around some more and ended up at Piazza San Marco at nighttime. It was so beautiful all lit up!

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: Here's The Trip Report - It's Long!!

Wednesday, August 13

Today was our “tours” day. We woke up at 6:30 so we could get ready and wander the streets before all the tourists were up. We came back to the hotel around 8:00 or so, and had a wonderful breakfast buffet at the hotel. There were these amazing croissants filled with jam, juices, coffee, cereal, hard boiled eggs, ham, lots of different cheeses, fresh fruit, toast, etc. Everything you could want, and included with the cost of the room (this was a nice change for us because in Paris, breakfast at the hotel was never included and was about 20 euros each, so we passed on it).

We had time to do a little more exploring, before we met at the Giardini Ex Reali near Piazza San Marco for our “Venice in One Day” Tour at 11:15. We put on our headsets so we could hear our guide, Stefania, and I have so say she was fantastic. She was so knowledgeable, and has such a love for Venice that she was a delight. She was also pretty feisty, and I don’t think you’d want to cross her – but this was something I quite liked about her. She was defensive about her city, and didn’t hesitate to tell people if they were doing something wrong (asked a boy to clean up after his dog – told the tourists sitting on the steps of a very crowded bridge eating McDonalds that they should move and it was not the place to sit and eat). She gave us a great overview of the city, and told us some interesting facts. We took a lot of back alleys to places we might not have seen otherwise. The tour took around 2 hours, and I don’t believe it was that expensive (can’t remember what we paid as we pre-booked it – you do get a 5 euro discount if you have a Venice Card when you book it). It was well worth it. We took the full day tour which included a boat cruise, so we were instructed to come back to the same meeting place at Giardini ex Reali at 4:15 for our cruise. (If you can do only one part of this tour, I would suggest the walking tour and take a vaporetto along the Grand Canal instead. Not that the cruise wasn’t enjoyable, but if you had limited time, or didn’t want to spend the money, I personally enjoyed the walking tour better).

We had a few hours in between the two parts of the tour, so we walked around a bit more and then went to Trattoria di Bruno for lunch. Not great food but very friendly staff, they spoke English quite well, were very courteous, and the restaurant was nicely air conditioned. Had tourist menu basic fare, except DH ordered the liver & onions with polenta (mostly so that I could try the polenta). It was grilled and had a good texture, but the liver was a bit tough. The rest of the lunch was nothing to write home about, but again the people were pleasant and the price was reasonable, so we weren’t unhappy. We then made our way back to Giardini ex Reali to go on the boat cruise. It was nice, the weather was beautiful, and our tour guide gave us each a glass of prosecco. She provided a good commentary, and had a clear understanding of the history of Venice. I was a little taken aback, as she was a young 20 something American woman, but still she did quite a good job with the tour – I guess I was just expecting a Venetian.

After our cruise, we did some more walking around and picked up picnic supplies for dinner in our hotel room. We had some great Italian bread with cheese, salami, olives, and delicious local white peaches for dessert. All with an inexpensive bottle of wine from the Veneto. It was nice, the whole thing cost us under 15 euros, and as we opened up the windows, we enjoyed the singing gondoliers going by. I think our hotel was directly on the route where the musical gondola tours went by, as we often heard an accordion player and singer, and they travelled in groups of 3 or 4 gondolas. One afternoon when I was having a little rest, I awoke to a lovely rendition of Funiculi Funicula…it was a nice way to wake up, and certainly a reminder that I was truly in Venice!

Later we made our way to the Rialto for the start of our Ghost Walk Tour, which was to start at 8:00 p.m. (Again, this was booked online, and if you have the Venice Card, you can save 5 euros off the cost). We met with our tour guide, Christina, who was a young Italian woman who had lived in the Venice area for about 5 years I believe she said. She took us through some narrow back alleys and told us a number of different stories, some history, some legend, and some ghost stories to be taken with a grain of salt. They were all quite interesting though, and again we got to see some places that we likely would not have stumbled upon in our travels.

The tour lasted about an hour and a half, and we finished up back near the Rialto. At this point it was dark, and not quite as crowded as in the daytime. We strolled back through the San Marco area to the Piazza and took a few pictures. The evening was beautiful, still quite warm though, and it was really a magical setting.

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3. Re: Here's The Trip Report - It's Long!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We woke up early again today and were out by 6:45 a.m. Our mission this morning was to see the Tribute to Women Fallen in World War II monument that was somewhere along the waterfront near the Giardini Publici. We started along the Riva degli Schiavoni. This is certainly the time of day to be here! There were some workers out cleaning the street, and a few joggers, but otherwise we had the place largely to ourselves. It wasn’t hot yet, and the tourists hadn’t arrived or woken up, so it was absolutely perfect. We walked all along the waterfront. We stopped at the Arsenale to take some photos and continued down. We walked and walked, passed the Giardini Publici, down as far as St. Elena, but no sign of the monument, so we started to walk back. We had seen pictures of the monument, and know that it is a very moving statue of a woman lying down, as though washed up on shore it seems, and it’s right in the water, so we started looking at the edge of the waterfront at places that seemed logical for it to be. On our way back, past the public gardens and headed toward San Marco we saw an area that was completely blocked off and covered in tarpaulin. We hadn’t even paid much attention to it on our first time past it, but then we realized that this was where the monument likely was. Someone had poked a few holes in the tarp, so you could peek in. It was all covered in wood, and work materials, etc, and all I could see were a few letters on a cement base, so we realized that this was likely it. Oh well, we’ll have to see it on our next trip to Venice.

We made our way back to the hotel for another wonderful breakfast, then back out again for a very busy day! (In hindsight, we jammed way too much into these next few days – but there was so much we wanted to see). We started at Basilica San Marco at about 9:30. We had reservations for 9:45 (this really is the way to go!), and they let us in early. We paid the extra few euros to look in the Treasury (not really worth it in my opinion), but the extra 4 euros to climb to the top of the Basilica were worth every penny. We got such a wonderful view from up top, and we were able to take a small video clip of the moors striking the clock tower at 10:00 a.m. Seeing those four bronze horses – WOW! The intricate details, and knowing that they are likely 2000 years old is really quite something. After we looked around a little more, we headed to the Doge’s Palace for our Secret Itineraries Tour that was scheduled for 11:35.

I would highly recommend this tour (again there’s a reduction in price if you indicate you have the Venice Card when you book). It was very interesting to hear about the history of Venice, the role of the Doge, the formation of the Venetian Republic, etc. We enjoyed seeing the secret rooms, cells, etc. After the tour was completed, we roamed about the rest of the palace, in the Doge’s apartments, saw the large Senate room, etc. The design, the paintings, the marble, it was exquisite! We really enjoyed this tour. As it was now close to 2:00, we decided to have lunch somewhere, then see some more sights in the afternoon. We went to Ai Acuighetta for pizza and a plate of cichetti. Since I’m not a seafood fan, I ate most of the pizza and DH had the cichetti. I did try some of it, but the majority of it was seafood so my husband really enjoyed it. The restaurant was very nice, cool inside and modern. The food was good and the prices were reasonable.

Went to Accademia later that afternoon. After having seen so many sights that morning, this plan proved to be a mistake. Unfortunately the beauty of this place was falling on tired eyes, and pretty soon we were feeling a bit like “here’s another Madonna and Child with Saints painting, and yet another”. We clearly bit off more than we could chew this day, and on our next visit to Venice, I think we will see the Accademia in the morning, so that we can fully appreciate it.

After the Accademia, we went to the Taverna San Trovaso since it’s so well recommended on TA, but unfortunately it was closed at that time of day, and we needed an earlier dinner because we had a concert to attend that night. So we walked over the bridge and back through the San Marco area. We stopped for a quick bite near San Stefano before we got to our hotel to get ready for the Vivaldi Four Seasons concert.

The concert was held in the Ateneo di San Basso, right within the Piazza San Marco in a lovely old building. They started seating at 8:00 and the concert began at 8:30. Although we prebooked our tickets on line, many people bought tickets at the door. They were 25 euros each, or 20 euros each with the Venice Card. We sat down right in the front row for a wonderful performance. They were very talented musicians, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. When the concert was over (it was approximately 1 hour long), as we went to leave, there was a huge torrential downpour! It must have just happened because everyone seemed to be caught off guard. Neither of us had our umbrellas, so we did a quick sprint to the terrace under the clock tower. Everyone was stuffed in under the shelter surrounding the square, with the exception of a few brave (foolish?) people who decided to go puddle jumping in the middle of the square. Actually, given the velocity of the storm (thunder and lightening still in the midst), they were more like lake jumping, but they seemed to be having a good time. I think for most of us, the storm was quite a fun little diversion. We walked around the perimeter of the square, and stopped just before Café Florian for an impromptu dance under the shelter to the orchestra, who had cleverly moved themselves and their instruments under the terrace as well. Soon the rain stopped, and everyone went about their business. In the meantime, the rain had taken away the dreadful heat, and soon the stars and moon were out. It was such a wonderful evening! We spent a little more time wandering around before heading back to the hotel for the night.

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Here's The Trip Report - It's Long!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

We “slept in” until about 7:45 this morning, then had yet another wonderful breakfast at the hotel. On our way to the Vaporetto stop, we popped into San Zaccaria for a quick look around. This is truly a magnificent church inside! It’s not huge, but it’s covered in spectacular paintings. Photos without flash were allowed so we took a few before we left. We walked to the Vaporetto stop and took it up to the Salute. Went into the Salute but didn’t need to use our Venice Card since it was free for everyone because of the Assumption holiday. We had a look around this beautiful church, then bought a few postcards on our way out. I ended up buying postcards at just about every place we went in Venice, since photo taking is not allowed in most places. Probably just as well since my photos would never do justice to the beauty of the places we were seeing. After the Salute, we walked through the back streets to Ca Rezzonico. Made a mental note that the next time we come to Venice, we’re staying in Dorsoduro. What a lovely area, and away from the throngs of people! It was such a picturesque little place (but then we discovered the same of San Polo and Santa Croce as well as we explored a little further). Eventually we made our way to Ca Rezzonico. I really enjoyed this museum, as it is in an old palazzo, and is decorated in the typical fashion with the same furnishings etc. that one would have found in the 16 or 1700s. It also contains a large array of artworks. I believe the entrance fee to this museum was also covered by the Venice Card.

After Ca Rezzonico, we headed over to the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Wow! This place was quite something! The second floor is beyond belief. It is absolutely covered in fantastic paintings by Tintoretto, and in the audio guide, it is referred to as Tintoretto’s Sistine Chapel – I can see why. Even beyond the paintings, the carved wood working and marble are absolutely incredible. The audio guide gave some great information about Tintoretto’s works, and about the history of the Scuola. People were very busy working there on this day, since the next day was August 16 and the Feast of San Rocco – clearly a very big deal at the Scuola and the Church of San Rocco right next to it. Indeed, from the commentary on the audio guide, the Feast of San Rocco was also the day that Tintoretto delivered 3 new paintings every year to the Scuola. This was a very interesting place, and so beautiful.

When we came out, once again there was another huge thunderstorm, although this time we at least had 1 umbrella. We walked across to the Church of San Rocco and had a look at some more Tintorettos and waited inside for the storm to pass. It was very peaceful. Within a few minutes, the rain had cleared and we headed on our way to Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.

When we got to the Frari, the rain had pretty much cleared and had taken much of the heat with it. Now, how can one describe the Frari? I think it is a church beyond compare. As you walk through it, you find one impressive detail after another. The huge statues at the doorframe, Canova’s tomb, the chapels, the carved wooden seats for the monk’s choir…it goes on. And it’s so incredible! Again, I bought some postcards.

After the Frari, we wandered through the Santa Croce and San Polo area, then back to the Rialto bridge and through the San Marco area to our hotel. We rested a bit and got ready for our dinner at Le Terazza at the Danieli Hotel. This was our one big splurge for a meal in Venice. Our reservation was at 7:30, and the restaurant was lovely. We were seated inside, since it had started to rain outside so the Terrace was closed. It was a shame, but our table was right at the window so we still had a wonderful view. As we looked out onto the Grand Canal and the Guidecca Canal, we noticed something moving in the horizon from the left. As I looked over the tree line, I realized it was a cruise ship. Well, to call it a cruise ship doesn’t even seem right. It was a sideways skyscraper named The Emerald Princess. I’ve never seen an actual cruise ship up close, so to see this massive collection of steel floating in front of us in the Grand Canal was, well, disturbing. Some may disagree with me, but it just didn’t seem right – to see all of these incredible old buildings just as they have been for hundreds of years and to watch such a monstrosity sailing past them and up the Giudecca Canal. It bothered me. The tour guide on our boat trip said that Venice receives a great deal of money from the cruise ships in docking fees, which then can be used for the constant restoration work needed in the city, but I would think there must be a substantial impact on the Venetian environment having a ship that size in the canals. Well, I guess on the flipside of that – the people on the cruise ships must get one heck of a view of Venice!

Anyhow our dinner at the Danieli was lovely. We each had a delicious appetizer that consisted of thick slices of buffalo mozzarella with round thick grilled eggplant slices, stacked up and melted nicely. For my main course, I had a wonderful fillet of beef that was served on top of asparagus that had broiled parmegiano reggiano on it, and the steak was topped with some grilled fennel. My husband had the mixed seafood plate which had scampi, shrimp, sea bass, and a few other types of fish that he said was spectacular. We shared a bottle of wine, had coffee, sparkling water, and for dessert I had Tiramisu and DH had a tower made of biscuits with fresh raspberries, sorbet, and pistachio gelato on the top. It was a beautiful, romantic, leisurely dinner that lasted about 2 ½ hours, but the memories will last much much longer! The waitstaff were all delightful, and the total bill was just under 300 euros.

We walked (slowly) back to the hotel since I was in heels and having a difficult time wobbling along the cobblestones. We had originally contemplated going back to the hotel simply so I could change into my flats and go back out again, but once we were back at the hotel, we decided to call it a night.

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5. Re: Here's The Trip Report - It's Long!!

Very good, can't wait for more, by the way I think I know the Restaurant you mean in Campo Santa Maria Formosa, must agree with you, on that score,

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6. Re: Here's The Trip Report - It's Long!!

Saturday, August 15, 2008

This was our last day in Venice. After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we dashed off to see the Museo Correr before we checked out. This was an interesting museum with a nice archeological section as well, containing many Roman busts and statues. There was a section dedicated to the mint, showing coins from the beginning of Venice in the 800s onwards. Some beautiful paintings as well. Again, bought some postcards and then headed back to the hotel to get ready to check out.

After we checked out, we wheeled our luggage to the Vaporetto stop and made our way up to the train station. Went to the left luggage section so we could check our bags, since the train wasn’t leaving until 8:00 p.m. The luggage section is located near platform 14, but is not clearly indicated within the station. So we checked our bags and hit the streets. Our original plan was to take a boat to Burano and then Torcello, but we changed our minds when we realized there was still more of Venice that we wanted to see, and that over two hours of our last day would be spent on the boat, and further time waiting for the boats as well. So while we didn’t have any major plans except to perhaps see Ca Doro and have a gondola ride, we mostly wanted to explore the Cannaregio area since we hadn’t seen it.

We walked along a clearly popular area as there were many souvenir stands and lots and lots of tourists. We then found a place to stop for lunch – the Ristorante Serenissima Pizzeria, or something like that. Very friendly waiter who spoke excellent English, and French to another couple sitting nearby. We were bound and determined to try a Spritz since it had come recommended to us by the Ghost Walk tour guide. As she put it, when the Austrians were in Venice in the 1800s, they found the wine too alcoholic and so began to mix it with water, but the Venetians found it wasn’t alcoholic enough so they added another liquor to it. The one we had was made with Aperol (thanks for the info Sophie) which is what gives it its orange colour. It was such a nice afternoon drink. I had a really nice pizza, and DH had the fish. All in all, a pleasant meal for under 45 euros.

Since we were right near the Palazzo Vendramin – the Venetian Casino, we decided to stop in and donate 40 or 50 euros to the Venetian economy via the one-armed bandits. We had free entry and a “welcome drink” through the Venice Card, but be warned that you need to show your passport and have your photo taken before you can gain access to the casino. We went into the slots area which was nothing particularly impressive. So we put a combined total of 55 euros into the machines, but I did have a bit of luck on one of them, and cashed out at 200 euros. So, in the end we walked out with an extra 145 euros which was enough to cover our lunch and a gondola ride with a bit of change left over. BTW, the front of the palazzo is under scaffolding as you will see from the Grand Canal, but it is covered with one of those clever sheets made to look like the building itself.

After the casino, we made our way down to Ca D’oro, and paid the entrance fee – I think it was around 7.50 each. It was a pretty palazzo with a nice collection of art. There is nothing about it that stands out in my memory though, except that there were several more byzantine “Madonna with Child” pictures.

So we left in search of a gondola. We didn’t find one as we were headed in the wrong direction up towards the northern part of Canareggio. This was quite beautiful though, and we stumbled upon Tintoretto’s house and the Campo dei Mori. We realized we were quite close to the Madonna dell’Orto church that had many Tintorettos inside so we popped in for a quick look and a glance at Tintoretto’s tomb.

We walked back out and enjoyed a leisurely stroll through Canareggio. We finally found an area with a gondolier, near the Hotel Antico Doge, so we agreed on the price (80 euros) and set off down a side canal, then about 100 meters along the grand canal before the Rialto, past Marco Polo’s house, past Napoleon’s sister’s house and a few other sights along the way. Our gondolier gave us a little commentary on route and took us down some nice quiet secluded canals as well. The weather was absolutely perfect and we really enjoyed our ride.

After the gondola ride, we began to make our way slowly back to the train station. We found a supermarket and decided to stop in to pick up a few supplies for our picnic on the train. In all of our wanderings through Venice, we found only 2 supermarkets, and given the huge number of people inside, I think to say that grocery stores are scarce in Venice is a safe assumption. Anyhow, we found some nice bread, cheese, olives etc. and set off. As we left the supermarket and began to cross a pretty little bridge, I realized that it seemed extremely familiar to me. Then I remembered that this was the Canale di Noale view from the webcam on VeniceWord! I also remembered Rosa on TA saying that the bridge was right at the grocery store when I asked where this spot was located. So we enjoyed the view for a few minutes, then headed to a phone to call home to the kids. We told them to call up the webcam view on the computer, and we would be in the middle waving at them. Fortunately I was in a bright red shirt, and my husband was in a white shirt, so we could be spotted. We separated ourselves from the crowd and waved to the webcam – or at least in the direction of it. Of course, passersby thought we were complete idiots but the kids got a kick out of it. So if you happened to be watching the webcams on Saturday at around 6:30 p.m. Venice time and saw two lunatics waving from the bridge, yes, that was us. When we got home, the kids said they could only barely make us out – but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

So, we eventually made it back to the train station, collected our luggage (15 euros for 6 ½ hours – 3 pieces of luggage) and waited in the Trenitalia waiting room. Boarded the train around 7:30 p.m. and said Arrivederci to Venezia :-(

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7. Re: Here's The Trip Report - It's Long!!

What a great report! I really enjoyed reading your day by day account. That first ride on the vaporetto down the Grand Canal is amazing, isn't it! Your hotel just sounds fantastic - what a nice idea to pick up picnic supplies for dinner in your room and then be serenaded by passing gondoliers.

Although I have a list of restaurants to visit for dinner when I return in November, I just always stop anywhere for lunch since when I'm hungry and ready to stop for lunch I'm not in the mood to hunt for a place on my recommended list. Thanks for being specific about what you had and the prices (that's always helpful).

I'm glad you enjoyed your time in Venice.

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8. Re: Here's The Trip Report - It's Long!!

Oh, and I completely forgot. One evening - can't remember which one - we went to Harry's Bar for Bellinis. We each had a Bellini, sat at the bar, paid our 30 euros then checked it off our list.

If you feel it's something you must do, by all means go. If you're wavering, save the 30 euros.

It's kind of a strange atmosphere. Filled with people who are very dressed up. The room itself is positively miniscule, and nothing to look at. It reminded me a lot of my grandmother's basement. But again, just my opinion. Clearly, others love it.

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: Here's The Trip Report - It's Long!!

Thanks ljaguar. Have a wonderful time in November. That must be a nice time of year to visit - the crowds have likely thinned out by then.

niagara falls.canada
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10. Re: Here's The Trip Report - It's Long!!

Yes you did warn us it would be long. Thanks, it is a most interesting read and I will return to it later to-day. Thanks again for taking the time to give this account of your travels.