Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Venice ! w/ edits

We had a wonderful lunch in Venice the first day. Sara had a fresh fish which the waiter is removing from the bones here. I ordered Salad Marco Polo since I had often fixed Julia Child's recipe for Sphagetti March Polo that she prepared on Mr. Roger's Neighborhood once upon a time, an easy one for children to fix. And sure enuf, they were quite similar, both good.

Saint Mark's Cathedrial on St Mark's Square is just about the number one tourist 'hot spot' in Venice so I had warned Sara that it would be over-run with human beings, pickpockets & pigeons since it was July. All the bus loads of tourist groups go there for sure. It was just about unbearable for us, so we followed some advice in a 5 yr old book I had that said one particular sidewalk cafe was the only one that would let you sit around and enjoy the good live music and have a drink with out it costing you a week's wages. So, we found this particular spot, ordered coffee and were super glad to get off our feet. The waiter was friendly and imensely interested in the short piece about the cafe in the guidebook, he borrowed it twice to show the manager, etc....then he slapped us with a $20 tab for our two itty bitty coffees. He should have comped them to us for all the bother about borrowing our book, etc...and we had no idea that he'd be adding a 2.50 Euro each 'sitting fee' plus a 'service fee' for the water he put on the tray w/ the coffee, ( and for the spoon to stir it with I suppose) the menu didn't mention these add ons. Live and learn....& avoid St. Marks square cafes altogether is my advice. But, don't avoid Venice :o)

Notice the large cruise ship going thru a canal in Venice very close to St. Marks Square. You can see it behind the crowds. It looked so weird, like a ship on a city street.

The water in Venice is this incredible shade of opaque tourquoise that I have never seen any place else. It is totally different from the aqua waters of places like the Caribbean or Key West, etc....and because there is usually a soft mist in the air, the reflected light is so unusual. Venice really is a fairy-land looking place.

Sara commented that it was a shame that age and decay wasn't as attractive a characteristic in humans as it is in architecture in Venice.

The view from our hotel windows. We were at the Hotel American on a side canal. It is a nice place, that is reasonable priced in a city known for outrageous priced hotels. I booked it thru my (click here)-own hotel booking site and got the best price available, I ck'd the other popular booking engines and my site uses the same one that Sam's Club uses and it usually has the best prices. I also read a lot of reviews before I booked it. The staff was great and the mini bar beers were just 2 Euros, not a rip-off like most mini bars. This was good because Venice is not a town with a grocery on every block like most.
It was a nice quiet 'street' and we only noticed later that our bathroom was partly constructed in a box that hung off the side of the building. You couldn't tell it from the inside. It was very nice, even tho it was on the third floor (no elevator). The hotel is named the Hotel American but is not 'American' in any way, so they are changing the name back to the original name of many years back, Hotel Dinesen, since they said the Hotel American name had hurt them in the Asian tourist market who wanted a real Italian experience and thought theirs might be like a Holiday Inn or something. I spoke with the young man who is in charge of their website and he was a super nice guy and very knowledgable ( a wonderful change after most of my computer experiences on the trip)

The front of our hotel had the traditional wooden striped poles in front that boats could tie up to.

We were soooooooooooooo glad that we got up and on a train that actually left the station this morning. It was over sold and some people had to stand for part of theway, not us tho. We got 3 hrs sleep in Rome last night, but that was OK, the hotel was so sweet they brought us tiny, itty bitty expressos so strong that you could fix flat tires with them at 5 am and knocked softly on the door to wake us up. We arrived in Venice about 11:30 am.
My suitcase wheel has broken from intense over use. Up and down a bazillion stairs, in underground systems, train stations, etc....boom, boom, boom, even tho I have carried them a lot rather than use the wheels. But this one I had consoladated the papers stuff and books, etc so that I didnàt have to open it again----wrong, I will have to reorganize and redistribute the weight between my two little bags. I am just not going to buy a new wheeled one in the worlds most expensive city on the last day.

This hotel has free internet in the lobby, one computer, so if someone starts waiting, i might have to give it up. The keyboard is weird, and the curser disappears, but it works pretty well.

Venice is a fairy land , like a dream land, but it has too many tourists in July. As expected, St. Marks Sq was way too crowded and we got to the cathedrial just after it closed. Sooooooooooo ,We went to the Lido where most US tourists do not know about and sure enuf, it was lovely. We went out into the Med Sea and waded around (didnàt have on swim suits) and took photos and rode the vaporettas around. Lots of fun.


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