Monday, October 8, 2007 We got to Venice and checked into Le Meridana in the Lido Section of Venice. To get there, we boarded the water bus from the train station and the bus stopped at various sites along the way. Le Medirana is an Italian villa converted to a hotel with bathroom in every guest room. The hotel is in a nice neighborhood and one block from Lido beach. Our room is roomy and clean.
We then toured various places and wandered into different neighborhoods. No map is needed because one would always end up at a square or the Grand Canal where the water busses stop. We climbed on top of the Rialto Bridge. Standing on this bridge on a sunny October day, you can see flower-draped sidewalk cafes lining on both sides of the Grand Canal and I felt the warmth and the vibrancy of the City. We purposely planned our trip in October to avoid the peak season but the place was still full of tourists. Tour groups from Russia, China and Japan are everywhere. Of course along with the tourists are souvenirs stands and kiosks. This is the only thing I don't like about Venice…way too many tourist traps.
After checking in, we walked a few blocks to a neighborhood restaurant and had some excellent fish dish and pizza. My Blackberry was full of email from work and family about the Cowboys win (Go Cowboys.) I'll miss the big game against the Pats too. Tuesday, October 9th.
Time to tour Venice. Getting around Venice consists of walking (we did a lot of that), gondola ride (very expensive and for show,) water taxi (expensive and for business people ;) and water buses (for the mass.) Streets are not much wider than sidewalks and thus no cars are allowed. I'd bought two-day water bus passes in the US for $45 each and found that this is the way to go.
We left the hotel after a breakfast buffet (same as Eurogarden Hotel in Rome) at 9:00 AM and did not get back until 10:00 PM. Venice is a city built on wooden piles driven into the Adriatic Sea floor. The buildings are hundreds of years old and so colorful, some are partially sinking and others have been restored. Most buildings have been converted to museums, hotels, restaurants and shops. In the midst of this entire splendor, there are canals crisscrossing everywhere bringing commerce to the City.
Our first stop was San Marcos Square, a world famous site where people admire the architecture and feed the pigeons at the same time. The huge compound has a mix of western and eastern architectural flavor, Christian and Islamic flair; and is so awed inspiring. We spent a lot of time there. Lee got into action and started to feed the birds with seeds sold at a nearby stand and she was swarmed.
We had a lunch of spaghetti and salad in an outdoor restaurant and the meal was excellent. In the afternoon, we had tea and coffee at a sidewalk café where live music was played then dinner at a Chinese restaurant. We ate well. If you go, bring a lot of money to Venice. One restaurant charged us $7.50 each person for the white table cloth (it's on the menu ;) and a sidewalk café charged the same for the live music.
Even with all the commercial stuff going on, I love Venice. Lee and I agreed that we should come back to Venice soon and this time, would bring the kids with us.
Wednesday October 10, 2007
We got up, packed, ate breakfast and went to Lido Beach to take pictures. Then we checked out, rode the water bus to the train station, boarded the train and headed for Como, Italy.
So far so good. Our trip has gone as planned and I m looking forward to the next City we'll visit.
I'll post another blog in a couple of days. So long everybody.