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5000 stairsteps, 40 ciao bellas, 12 trains, 8 pizzas, 3 women, 1 report

5000 stairsteps, 40 ciao bellas, 12 trains, 8 pizzas, 3 women, 1 report

Old Sep 15th, 2013, 04:43 PM
  #141  
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raincitygirl, We had definitely heard not to buy the knock off bags and that there were big fines, but didn't know the rest of the story. It was surprising to suddenly have a group of men just racing past us laughing and have the policemen be so unconcerned. From what you are saying the government has basically given up and I suspect the local law enforcement just come along to make them move every once in a while.
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Old Sep 15th, 2013, 04:52 PM
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Yes I think you are right, we saw the same thing when we were in Venice, they weren't always laughing and sometimes the police did look serious but after a while the police would leave and out they'd come again and spread out their wares.
OUr hotel was down a little alley and we often saw them clustered in there waiting, usually one of them had a cell phone out and would get a call with the all clear.

When we were on the Amalfi coast last fall I noticed there weren't any of those sellers there as there had been tons of them in Naples. We were staying in an agriturismo and I asked the owner's daughter why we didn't see them and she said "because here on the Amalfi we haven't embraced the "male vita". (the bad life: i.e. the Camorra)
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 01:42 PM
  #143  
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We really enjoyed having breakfast prepared for us this morning. A nice change from the do it yourself apartment living we had selected on this trip so far. There are definitely advantages and disadvantages both ways and I'm not sure which I prefer.

We had a leisurely morning and then we were out into a stunning day. Because the weather was so good we decided to take advantage of it and go to Murano and Burano. First though I wanted to go see Ca Rezzonica. It wasn't going to be open the next day (our last day in Venice). One of my daughters was actually nervous about getting back on the vaporetto after our first experience. I used the typical "mom" analogy of getting back on the horse...and back on the vaporetto we went. Of course it was fine and they found that they actually enjoyed this mode of transportation when not stuffed in like sardines!

I very much enjoyed seeing Ca Rezzonica. It was nice to be able to imagine how the venetians once lived, see the frescoes and chandeliers, the many rooms, the views from the top floors of the building, there were paintings in all the rooms and furnishings in some of them. It doesn't take a long time to view but it was enjoyable for us! One thing that was interesting and a tad disconcerting - the contemporary art exhibition had art in many of the museums in Venice including this one. So there would be random, very contemporary pieces hanging from the ceilings or on a table or standing in the corner. A little jarring at times.

Afterward we took the vaporetto a little farther up the grand canal and walked across to Fondamenta Nova to catch the boat to Murano. We managed to get seats and enjoyed the short, breezy ride. The girls were hoping to see a glass blowing demonstration, but unfortunately we arrived too late for that. Either that or it was a slow day! The hard sell that my husband and I received up on our arrival many years ago was completely non-existent.

We wandered around Murano and did a little shopping before having a late lunch at Busa alle Torre. This was a Minchilli recommendation, but we weren't particularly impressed. We all got seafood. I had pasta with crab, meh, it was fine. Unfotunately, I found a couple of pieces of shell so that was a turn off. My daughter had some type of fried seafood plate and it was just ok. Couldn't compare to the fried seafood we had as appetizers the night before. Whatever El had - it was so unmemorable as to have not even been written in the trip notes. The setting and service were outstanding. The food was a little disappointing.

After Murano we took the vaporetto to Burano. The girls just fell in love with this place. They loved the colors of the houses, the miniature canals, the laundry, the colorful hangings in front of the doors...the entire feeling! It was one of those perfect, blue sky days and Burano was gorgeous in the late afternoon sunshine! I think we wandered every back street in this town. Many of them were completely empty. We came upon one piazza and discovered a group of boys playing football. American football. That was a fun surprise.

That evening we had dinner at a restaurant recommended by our B&B host called Rosa Rossa. They have some Johnny Depp memorabilia due to the fact that he came here often while filming some movie. We enjoyed our meal here! The decor and feeling is slightly more modern than many of the restaurants in Venice - perhaps a little more hip? We had some grilled vegetables which were very good - not overcooked. Arugula salads. Em had a pizza - I don't remember what kind - but she liked it. El had a steak with gorgonzola sauce. I had the gnocchi gratinata. It was baked and had prosciutto and was delicious. I wouldn't mind having some right now! (They had a lot of seafood dishes at this restaurant as well, but we were seafooded out after our lunch)

We lingered until late at the restaurant and then wandered through the magic that is Piazza San Marco at night time. The bands were playing, people were dancing and laughing, even the guys selling the toys that light up and fly into the air added to the ambience. Such a special place after the crowds are gone!
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 02:06 PM
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and something else that I couldn't identify that looked like tiny (maybe 2 inches) whole octopus - perhaps that was squid, too? It had lots of little legs (or tentacles?)>>

sounds like baby octopus. we once had a starter in Rome that turned out to be baby octopus cooked 6 ways - delish.

lovely report, Kay - where next?
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Old Sep 17th, 2013, 03:22 PM
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I will be sad when your report comes to an end. You have made Italy come alive! And how wonderful to share the experience with your daughters. I look forward to enjoying some of your recommendations when my husband and I go next spring. We are especially excited about the accommodations in Florence! Did I overlook where you stayed in Venice?
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Old Sep 18th, 2013, 06:56 AM
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Wonderful TR!

I'm beginning to wonder if the Italians don't just keep the same clothes hanging on the line! Isn't it funny how many of us take shots of laundry? LOL.

Yes, I think the police do a rather benign enforcement with the gypsies and the bag men. Mixed feelings about it.
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Old Sep 18th, 2013, 06:56 AM
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Was Depp's movie "Don Juan"? Not sure.
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Old Sep 18th, 2013, 07:05 AM
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I think the movie was "the Tourist" with Angelina Jolie.
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Old Sep 18th, 2013, 09:32 AM
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Just rediscovered your report while sitting in our apartment in Venice. The vaporetto ride from the station sounds very familiar! It was quite scary and rather offputting, not a great first impression of the city, although we too tried again and found it much easier without luggage! Thank you for the restaurant recommendation- will try it tomorrow night if we can.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2013, 04:30 PM
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Thanks everyone!

annhig - I guess it was baby octopus. It was certainly delicious.

Drchris - in Venice we stayed at a bed and breakfast called B&B 3C.

TDudette - It seemed that some of the people in Burano had even color coordinated their laundry with their house! It was fun for us because we never see laundry hanging outside here.

raincitygirl - you are right - it was "The Tourist."

newgail - hope you liked it! Sorry that your vaporetto ride was similar. Yes, very offputting!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2013, 05:20 PM
  #151  
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We woke to another glorious day in Venice and after breakfast at the B&B we bagan our last day of this vacation by going to the fish market and the Rialto bridge. The girls were fascinated with the various kinds of fish - many that were new and odd to us. It was fun mingling with the local shoppers.

After watching the activity on the Grand Canal from the beautiful Rialto and perusing some of the touristy shops we decided that it was time for more coffee. We sat at a cafe on a small square and the couple at the table next to us struck up a conversation. They were from the northeast and had noticed our accents and wanted to know where we were from. Then they had a slew of questions about the southern US.

These people had traveled all over Europe and a bit in Asia but knew very little about the south in their own country. Fortunately they were genuinely curious rather than condescending and we actually enjoyed our conversation with them. I think that they were a bit disappointed to learn that I don't know a single person with a "Duck Dynasty" beard. I did agree that we were probably more religious than the rest of the country especially when you include SEC football in your list of religions.

We spent this day wandering in and out of churches, down little alleyways, over bridges, beside canals, through piazzas. We were thoroughly lost more times than I know and thoroughly enchanted with everything we saw.

Santa Maria dei Miracoli was our favorite church. My daughters were enthralled with it. They had worn shorts because the weather was warm, but had each brought a scarf which they would tie around their waist in order to be in compliance with the dress codes. This was never a problem. One hint if you are travelling with young people. Have them bring their student id with them. The churches had student rates and even though my daughters obviously look student age they were always asked for their id.

It was while wandering through a very quiet area we had a fun and serendipitous event. We happened upon a little glass shop. At first we weren't sure that it was open, but when we popped our heads we heard a voice saying, "Entre, entre." We went into the tiny shop and said hello to the proprietor. I recognized him right away - he was the same glass blower my husband and I had met and purchased gifts for our children from 5 years previously. At that time his shop was near San Marco.

I mentioned that I had been to his other shop and he explained that he had moved so that he could have cheaper rent and follow his heart. He wanted to create whatever he wanted. He told us that he had won several awards and had been featured in art exhibits. His work was now all ocean scenes: fish swimming through coral, gorgeous shells, sea creatures - it was lovely. He then said that now he only did glass blowing demonstrations by appointment, but that he would do one for us. He did! The girls said that this was one of the highlights of the trip for them. So fun.

Lunch was at Ostaria al Garanghelo at the recommendation of the glass blower. Honestly, we weren't very impressed and were expecting more from a local recommended restaurant. I suspect that the owner was a friend and he was just sending some business his way. Still, it was good enough and had some pleasant outdoor seating where we could watch Venice go by.

Of course after lunch we were craving some gelato and every one had suggested Alaska as the best place in town. More wandering through back streets to find it, but totally worth the search! Loved our gelato here. It is all homemade and there are some unusual flavors in addition to the well known favorites.

We went up in the bell tower in the early evening and enjoyed the views. It is true - you can't see a single canal from the tower - so strange.

Yes, we took a gondola ride! I know some consider it a waste of money, but we loved it. It seemed a fitting way to end our last night in Venice. There was an interesting altercation before we got into our gondola. A couple of gondoliers had a shouting argument, in Italian of course, about who was going to take us. I couldn't catch much of the conversation, but my impression was that they typically take turns and the new guy was trying to go out of order. During our ride our gondolier made a couple of comments about how if we were with that other guy we would have scraped the bridge, or run into a wall. That tickled us. He told us that he started riding with his father who was also a gondolier when he was three years old.

It was sunset and we were on a gondola, the city was quiet, the lights were coming on in the buildings. Great way to get another view of the city.

It was pizza for dinner and then some more time absorbed in the evening magic of Piazza San Marco. We couldn't stay up too late this evening as our our flight was an early one and we were catching a water taxi to the airport at 5am.
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Old Sep 24th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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Kay - a great last day. What a wonderful co-incidence to find that glass blower again. did you buy anything?

funny how people think that locals will invariably recommend good restaurants. when we were in Rome in February with our italian teacher [who is italian] she thought nothing of accosting passing locals and asking for a restaurant recommendation. us brits thought that was a bit weird but it worked most of the time.
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Old Sep 24th, 2013, 04:02 PM
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What a delight your trip report has been! Thank you for sharing your memories.

We have just made a reservation for Florence at Residenza Il Carmine, in the Domus apartment. I hope it's not the one with the lumpy mattress you referred to! I have read so many good reviews and like that it is off the beaten path.

Wishing you and your daughters more travel adventures in the future!
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Old Sep 25th, 2013, 05:28 AM
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Truly one of the most fun TRs ever! Thanks, KayTKay.
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Old Sep 29th, 2013, 06:25 AM
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ttt
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Old Sep 29th, 2013, 12:56 PM
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Thanks for the wonderful trip report! You can see from the pictures that you were all having a wonderful time. Your daughters will cherish this trip forever.
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Old Sep 29th, 2013, 01:47 PM
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Loving your trip report. Thank you for taking the time to share with us.
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Old Sep 29th, 2013, 02:09 PM
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I don't know how I missed this trip report when it began, but am glad to read it now. In a way much more fun as I read it in two sessions instead of many. Wonderful pictures! My favorite was the one looking down a colonnade in St. Mark's square with everything lined up perfectly and a glimpse of St. Mark's doorway at the end. Great depth of field.
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Old Sep 29th, 2013, 03:21 PM
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Such a lovely report! So glad I finally discovered it.
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Old Sep 29th, 2013, 08:05 PM
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Great report!
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