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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Just when I thought I had Venice figured out!

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On September 2 we flew into Venice -- coming from JFK with a change at Heathrow. I had read that the big Regatta would be taking place on the Grand Canal that afternoon so contacted our hotel, Locanda Orseola, regarding if that would be an issue on our arrival at about 1 PM. I received a great lengthy response, saying that NO, the Regatta would not affect transportation by boat from the airport to San Marco, which is a fairly short and quite easy walk to our hotel (with only one very small bridge. The letter explained water taxis and the Alilaguna, as well as alternative methods, which I was already pretty familiar with. We opted to just take the Alilaguna rather than a water taxi direct to our hotel.

So we arrived, just a little early and by just after 1 we had walked all the way out to the boats by the airport. I had 90 euros in my pocket from our last trip and felt that was fine, since the Alilaguna is much less than that, and I could even use a credit card anyway. But when we got to the booth for the Alilaguna tickets, they told us there were not running -- they had just stopped because of the Regatta. The hotel was WRONG! No problem, we'll just take a water taxi instead -- and went to the company that our hotel had recommended. But only one problem. The fare is 110 euros and is cash only.

So Peter sat while I went all the way back to the terminal to seek out an ATM. I have a brand new Capital One ATM card linked to my checking account, so was shocked when the very first ATM gave me a message "this card is not authorized for international withdrawals". Huh? Clearly I had discussed that with Capital One. In fact it was the WHOLE reason I had opened that account and gotten an ATM card for one. I sought out another ATM and it was the same bank and again gave me the same message. I would have called Capital One collect on the spot -- except my phone was in my bag with Peter on the docks. I have a BofA ATM card as well, but it was also in that bag! I stepped into a little shop and asked about other ATMs. The girl said there was one right outside their door and when I mentioned that it wouldn't work for my international withdrawal, she said, "oh yes, that happens to a lot of Americans." She directed me to another ATM sort of hidden away upstairs. Yes, it worked fine. And for the record -- so did the 5 other ATMs I used in Italy and Spain over the next two weeks.

So, back to the docks, got the water taxi and we were on our way to the hotel. I've never taken a water taxi before in Venice (this was my sixth trip there) and I must admit it's a nice extravagance. We especially loved pulling up on the tiny canal to the back of our hotel and ducking our heads to enter through a small door into the lobby!

When we mentioned our problem regarding the Alilaguna, the clerk was upset. He even pulled out the letter sent by ACT that explained the Alilaguna from the airport to San Marcos would NOT be affected by the Regatta! So much for that!

But suddenly I had a new respect for those who mentioned they are uncomfortable relying on ATM machines for cash on their arrival to a European city, even though it all worked out fine in the end.

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