Venice

May 1, 2012
Our adventure began on Sunday, April 15. We flew United to O’Hare, we had a two-hour layover and barely made our connection to Zurich. We were also forced to check our carry-on suitcases because the weight limit was 8 kg. A weight restriction never occurred to me when squeezing everything we’d need for two weeks into two carry on roller suitcases. Each suitcase weighed 12 kg. Oh well. I thought I packed light for this trip, but as it went on I decided the next international trip we’re packing even lighter.

We flew Swiss air to Zurich and again from Zurich to Venice. Swiss is a great airline. Seats are comfortable and fairly roomy. Each seat is furnished with its own TV and remote, we had access to a variety of programming and games. I watched three movies to pass the time. I could pause, rewind and fast forward as needed. We were served snacks and meals. I expected inedible food like our flight on Philippine Air when we traveled from Vancouver. However, Swiss provided a nice spread. I was quite impressed. Attendants were friendly and always smiling. Our layover was quick and painless, as was customs. Flights were timely, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

After a short 17 hour flight - it seemed long at the time, but I had new appreciation after traveling a very rough 24 hours to get back home - we arrived in Venice on April 16.

While this trip had been a dream for ages, it was reality for only a short time. I had a month to make arrangements so there was fair amount we would be winging. We let one of our favorite quotes be our guide, A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving - Lao Tzu.

I had booked us hotels for our journey, and I was armed with a list of sights and a few places to grab a bite that were not to be missed. I planned for us to take trains between most destinations, and bus or ferry to others. As for the rest? We’d take it as it came.

There are only two ways to get around in Venice by boat or feet. We were staying on Guidecca, a residential island across from Venice so a boat it was! A water taxi was the quickest option to get there from the airport, but at €120 it was out of the question. We took Alilaguna, a slow waterbus, for €15 instead. We enjoyed the sights along the way…

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Before long we were dropped off at our home for the next two nights, the Residenza Grandi Vedute.

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These apartments are connected to the Hilton Molino Stuckey Hotel, which provides a free shuttle to Venice. It runs daily about every 30 minutes. The Vaporetto stop is less than 10-minutes away. We stayed in “Sandolino” which is a nicely appointed one-bedroom apartment.

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The bed was a bit stiff and the shower was tight, but otherwise the accommodations were great. Watching the sunrise over Venice from the bedroom windows was a lovely way to begin the day of our 8th wedding anniversary.

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I cannot recommend the Residenza Grandi Vedute enough. The fridge is stocked daily and we loved the espresso machine. Frank made me a cup each morning. Every hotel we stayed in Italy included breakfast, but this set up was our favorite.

Luca, the manager, was welcoming and he kindly offered a restaurant recommendation, Ristorante Pizzeria Do Mori. Which is where we had our first meal, we had risotto with mixed seafood and gnocchi with crab. Both were delicious, but the real winner here is the pizza. I know, in Venice? Yes, pizza… in Venice. We saw the pies coming out of the oven and knew we had to have one so we took it to go - Pomodoro, with salami and rocket. It was delicious! So much so it was actually our favorite pizza eaten on the whole trip.

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The following night we had dinner again on Guidecca at Trattori Al Cacciatori. This restaurant is a real gem. We had a fantastic meal! Grilled squid, gnocchi with gorgonzola, and tagliatelle with duck ragu, all washed down with a fine beer bottled in Venice, and finished with tiramisu and complimentary limoncello and grappa.

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In addition to the two dinners on Guidecca, we also had a €22 lunch while touring Venice at Bar Do Porte. It’s not far from the Grand Canal-Rialto Bridge. We had ham and cheese sandwiches, but these were not like those that mom would pack your lunch.

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Everything I read about Venice said the best thing to do was to get lost. So, that is what we did. We wandered the labyrinth of winding narrow streets until we covered the entire island. The residential areas were by far our favorite. We had great fun navigating the twists and turns finding dead ends or algae laced steps that descended into the murky waters.

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It wasn’t until visiting Venice that I was able to grasp how accurately depicted the Venetian truly is. Sheldon Adelson’s painstaking attention to detail was definitely noted. I was able to easily recognize every sight because I see it at home regularly.

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I never gave much thought to a city that is run by boats. I was so intrigued by deliveries, everything from perishables to mail & parcels, garbage collection, and even construction. Oh, and the highway?! I just loved it.

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We felt we spent the perfect amount of time in Venice. A third night would be nice if you would want to visit Murano or Burano. We enjoyed Venice more than we expected. It has a slower pace – thanks to the lack of motor vehicles.

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Arrivederci, Venezia!

2 comments:

Jay said...

Awesome write up! Your pictures are so vivid - and beautiful. I'm not sure what a 'rocket' topping on a pizza is? (Pomodoro, with salami and rocket)

A 17hr flight - I don't know if I could handle that!! 3 movies would help I'm sure. But that leaves you with 9 more hours!

I laughed out loud when I saw the carousel at the Venice airport. Roulette, anyone? Was there a prominent gambling theme in the city?

I can't get over how vivid and stunning the pictures you captured show up on the web.

Looking forward to more details.

Kellee said...

Rocket is another name for arugula. We had two lay overs during our flights so it helped, but in the future I would prefer direct. It's hard to get back on a plane after coming off one where you sat for 9 hours.

The baggage carousel was advertising a casino that was apparently nearby. I never saw any gaming until we got to Sorrento. The had poker in the pubs. Naples had a lot of slot rooms.

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