Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Trip to Venice, Italy - First 2 days

31 May 2010, Venice Italy

I arrived in Venice on an overcast day, but by 11:00am, the clouds broke up and the sun came out. My flight landed about 30 minutes early despite our 1-hour late departure out of Philadelphia (lots of air traffic). I purchased the 7-day VeniceCard prior to leaving the USA, which supposedly allowed me to take the water boat to Venice. Not so, so I took the local bus to Venice and then the vaporetto to the Zattere stop (#2), which was close to my hotel.

My room at Pensione La Calcina is very small. You walk in and take 2 steps down to the area where the twin bed, night table, and desk is located. To the right from the entrance are 2 steps up to the bathroom. There is a nice small balcony with a table and chair and a view of a small side canal. While the room is very small, it is charming with it' high ceiling, hardwood floors, neutral wall paper and tile in the bathroom.

I met my friends Ann and Kirk along with Candice, who were in Venice for the day. We met for lunch at Alle Zattere, which is located just down from my hotel. Three of us enjoyed pizza (mine with proscuitto) and Kirk had a pasta dish. It was great meeting friends for lunch. The restaurant is right on the water, so we enjoyed the views of the Guidecca canal.

After lunch, the three went their way and I went out to explore the area. It was great to be back in Venice. The day was beautiful and there were many tourists all around.

I tried to get money from three different ATMs, but for some reason, I couldn’t get any money. I wanted to get euros while at the airport, but a note posted at the ATM stated “maximum 250 euros). Well, I didn’t want to do multiple transactions, so I decided to wait till I got to Venice. I later realized I was using my bankcard instead of my debit card. Both are blue cards.

Being tired from a long flight and no sleep, I rested in the room for a while before going out to dinner.

I went to a grocery store, Billa, a 5-7 minute walk from my hotel. I purchased an inexpensive bottle of red wine for just 3.99 euros (and it was quite good!) and a bottle of limoncello (3.59 euros).

I made my way to a vaporetto stop and headed to dinner. I met up with the three from earlier today at La Zucca. I had dined here two years ago. Delicious food (tagliatelle with pistachio nuts and a gorgonzola sauce; and baked eggplant – shared a liter of wine), and a fun evening. The place was packed, as it’s a popular place.

After a short walk around the area, I took the vaporetto back to the Academia stop and walked back to my hotel. Anne Kirk, and Candice took the train back to Verona.

1 June, Tuesday

My hotel serves breakfast out on the terrace in good weather. It was a beautiful day. I ate some yogurt, sliced ham and cheese, bread, fruit, and tea. As I ate my breakfast, I watched a long procession of fishing boats. The fishermen were protesting some new law where they cannot use their fishing nets and minimum size requirement for fishing shrimp, calamari, and other fish. As they moved down the canal, they blew their horns loud and long.

I stepped inside the Museo della Musica, where I saw many old violins and other string instruments. The music of Vivaldi was playing while I was inside. I decided to purchase a ticket for a concert on Friday at 9pm. I had the choice of two concerts, one being Le quattro stagioni, The Four Seasons. Since I went to a similar concert in Paris, I chose the second one. I believe it’s a variety concert (25 euros).

I made my way to Piazza San Marco and toured the Basilica. I had downloaded a Rick Steve’s audio tour, so it made for a nice visit inside. The ceilings of the Basilica are amazing with the gold mosaics. The Piazza was filled with tourists and pigeons.

I wandered around the back streets, took pictures, and then had lunch at Osteria da Alberto. It was my second time there. At the table next to me (all are close together) I asked the woman how she liked her pasta with clams. “Excellent”. I ordered the same dish and I agreed with her. We started to talk and she asked me where I was from. When I said Maryland, she asked where. Frederick. "Are you Monica?" Yes! "I'm Barb.” We had met via the slow talk web site (discussion board) and had made plans to meet for dinner with a few other travelers. Small world. I couldn’t believe we were sitting next to each other.

After lunch, I went to the island of Burano. I spent 1.5 hours walking around the small streets. The houses in Burano are painted in different colors: Purple, blue, lavender, red, orange, etc. Many of the windowsills had potted plants and flowers. It’s such a colorful and charming place. Burano is known for lace making, although I believe most is produced in China.

It took 1.5 hours to get back to my hotel. I had to change to a different vaporetto at St. Mark’s. It’s great to have the 7-day transportation pass, where I can get on/off anytime I wanted to.

I met up with Barb, Jan, and Sandi for dinner at my hotel (their restaurant La Piscina) outside on the terrace. It was a pleasant evening. For dinner, I had the crostini misti and the pappardelle pasta with duck ragu. Everything was delicious and filling.

While dining, we could hear the horns of the fishing boats. Towards the west, the fishing boats were docked and tied together.

After dinner, Barb joined me for some wine on my tiny terrace. Chatted for an hour or so. I walked with her to her apartment, which was located about 5 minutes from my hotel. It was a nice walk back.


Anonymous said...

Makes me nostalgic for Venice, Monica. Jill is trying to get me to commit to a trip next spring - I think I'm about ready to start traveling again.

love, June

Anonymous said...

Wow - sounds like you are having a fabulous time. Crab legs when you get back for sure : )

Anonymous said...

Monica, lokks like the first two days are going well! Have fun!!!

Larry S

Anonymous said...

Absolutely Love glad you made it there, Monica !!


Jill said...

Jill is definitely trying to get June to commit to a trip next spring :)

I hope you continue to have a wonderful, wonderful time!


nancyhol said...

What a fun time you are having so far! Thank you for letting us travel along with you!