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Caffe Corretto from Calle to Calle - Statia "Wings It" in Venice

Caffe Corretto from Calle to Calle - Statia "Wings It" in Venice

Old Dec 7th, 2005, 01:26 PM
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Caffe Corretto from Calle to Calle - Statia "Wings It" in Venice

As I sit here nursing a caffe corretto with grappa (a late afternoon occassional delight that we picked up in Venice and brought home with us), I am fondly recalling the details of our trip. I didn't do nearly as much journaling as I usually do on our European adventures, so I am going to have to work more from memory this time. I am typically very much a planner when it comes to travel so I have never really winged it on a trip before, especially not a trip to Europe. However, this was our second trip to Venice and we saw all the "must sees" on our list the last time we were there, so this time we figured we would just decide what to do and see as each day came along. I had originally planned on exploring a sestiere a day in this magical city on the Adriatic Sea, but with only 5-1/2 days left after travel time this idea didn't pan out as I had hoped. However, we were still able to see and do a lot in that short time, yet could continue to return again and have plenty to accomplish that we have yet to, in two trips. Although Venice is small, there are so very many charms about her and I wonder if it might take a lifetime to fully experience every one of them.

October 23, 2005

"We're Finally On Our Way!"

We arrived at our tiny, island airport an hour prior to our 10:30 a.m. scheduled flight and were told that the earlier flight to St. Maarten was just arriving and we could get on it if we wanted to. Yes! The trip was already starting out well with only having to wait at our first departure point for a few minutes before boarding the nine-seater aircraft for our fifteen minute flight over the Caribbean Sea to endure our first layover of the journey. When we arrived, the Air France desk had yet to open, so we had an early lunch and then eventually got checked in for our continuing flights. We then spent the next few hours at an Indian restaurant and bar owned by a friend of ours, which is located just across the street from the airport. Luckily the time passed rather quickly and by 5:00 p.m. we were taking off towards the mountain on St. Maarten enroute to Paris. We usually loathe the eight hour journey over the Atlantic, but this time it went by surprisingly fast. A little dinner, a little wine, a rum punch, a couple of movies, some snoozing off and on and voila...we were at Charles de Gaulle before 7:00 a.m. the next morning.

October 24, 2005

"Pinch Me....Are We Really Back?" or "Sleeping with the Wild Beast"

In order to be comfortable on the flight, not to mention six hours in the heat of St. Maarten, I wore a skirt and sandals on the flight, figuring I could change into wamer clothes when we arrived in Paris. I did not count on having to deplane on the tarmac and board a shuttle bus outside in the cold since we have previously always had a jet bridge when arriving that particular airport. So, I looked a bit out of place in the 50 degree temps with my summer clothing while everyone else was bundled up as we boarded the shuttle bus that would take us to immigration. Thankfully my jacket was easy to get to so I wasn't too terribly chilled.

I always notice everyone complaining about Charles de Gaulle and how difficult an airport it is to transfer at. DH and I have never had a problem with finding our way around as everything is well marked. I will admit, however, that it is not the most organized airport in the sense of the amount of maneuvering one must to do get gate to gate. For instance, the shuttle bus took us from the aircraft to terminal 2F where we went thru passport control only to turn around and get right back on the same shuttle bus to go to terminal 2C. When we arrived at 2C, we went thru passport control yet again. This all just seems that it could be a little better organized, but that's just my opinion. It was even crazier when we connected on the return flight but I'll get to that later.

We looked up our flight to Venice on the monitor after going thru passport control a second time and were shocked to see there was an earlier flight that we could probably make since we had only carry-on luggage. We hurried to the security check point for the gate we wanted, yet once we saw how long the line was we realized that we would never make it. Oh well....we just had to wait as planned. After my changing into something warmer, we had a light breakfast and did some browsing. I made it a point to seek out the pharmacy in order to purchase some Lidene Doxylamine that so many of you Francophiles recommend for jetlag. We planned to get some at the French pharmacy in St. Martin before our departure but couldn't because of it being a Sunday and the pharmacies being closed. My DH will be forever thankful to your recommendation for this product because he works nights once a month and after using it in Italy he has begun using it when he has to sleep during the day. It's changed his life and he's tried many sleep aids over the course of 20 years in his line of work.

We then spent some time outside the airport terminal enjoying the crisp, cool air (something we just don't get here in the tropics) and were shocked to see that it had yet to become daylight at 8:00 a.m. Sunrise where we live is always before 6:00 a.m. so the daylight hours in Europe always throw us off track. It's even stranger when we are in Europe in the summer and it stays daylight so much later than here in the islands. When we finally decided to head to our gate, we stumbled upon a different security check point which had NO LINE whatsoever. Darn it! Had we bothered to look for that security point earlier we might have made the earlier flight to Venice. Once inside the gate area, it was time to let the shopping begin! In our Parisian tradition, I had to buy myself the "next size" Eiffel Tower statuette as I do each time I go thru Paris, as well as some chocolates and an Eiffel Tower key chain for DH's "new driver" daughter, Little Statia. Before I knew it, I had racked up quite a little bill purchasing all sorts of odds and ends for family and friends who collect various things, so I figured it best I get out of the stores before we had no money left for Venice.

We finally took off for Venice at 10:30 a.m. and I slept quite sound from before take-off, thru the hour and a half flight, and didn't wake up until we landed. I couldn't keep my eyes open for the life of me! The rest did me well, however, because I felt fit as a fiddle when we arrived Marco Polo airport about noon. It was so wonderful to look out the window and see the grey, misty, foggy weather. Ahhhh. That is something we were hoping for in that it would be such a nice change from the constant sunshine and warmth we have here at home. We called our rental agent upon our arrival, after finding somewhere to purchase a local phone card, and then found the ATVO bus to Piazzale Roma just outside the arrival hall. We arrived by train from Florence on our last trip, so the bus was a new experience for us. We had been told by various sources that we could purchase the 3.00 euro tickets from the driver, but when the bus arrived a few minutes later he told us that we had to purchase them from the machine. Thankfully the machine was located right there at the stop. Some local people were even very helpful in assisting us with how to use the machine. Or, perhaps they were thinking "darned tourists!" and helping to hurry us along so they could purchase their own tickets.

We had been concerned about heavy rain upon our arrival since the forecast had called for rain during our entire stay, but the weather was a perfect 65 degrees. It was a pleasant 20 minute drive into Venice and we disembarked the bus and began looking for the water and a vaporetto stop. We found the nearest canal, but had a bit of a time finding the vaporetto. However, after walking around a bit we finally stumbled upon it. I guess we were a bit tired by this point and didn't quite have our wits about us. We bought a 72 hour vaporetto pass for 22.00 euro each this time since DH said we were not going to rely solely on walking this trip. We only rode the vaporetto twice the last time. Of course my argument with his theory was that we would miss seeing so much with not walking everywhere. However, I have to say that he was right in the end. We still did a ton of walking and saw a lot, but it was certainly nice to jump off and on the vaporetto at our leisure in order to get to places more quickly this time.

We then boarded the vaporetto (and got it right this time in knowing the difference between the vaporetto landing and the actual boat) and headed to the San Marcuola stop and our apartment in Cannaregio. We rented our apartment from Venice Rentals, just as we did the last time, and were very pleased with everything once again. We didn't get to see our rental agent, Denise, this time but she did send her assistant, Julie, to meet us. After a quick walk from Chiesa San Marcuola, across a small bridge, and around a corner to a small campiello, we were officially "home" at our apartment on Calle Columbina, practically next door to the Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi Casino, a mere 19 hours after we left our other home behind. As we hiked it up to the fourth floor we were glad that we could indulge in guiltless eating on the trip since we would be getting plenty of exercise. We had a double bedroom, a single bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and a wonderful little terrace overlooking the Venetian rooftops and the bells of Chiesa San Marcuola. Julie was wonderful in showing us around, marking all nearby attractions and necessities on a map, giving us emergency phone numbers, and answering any questions we had.

Once Julie departed, we immediately headed out to find the grocery store in order to stock up on a few items for the apartment and check out our new neighborhood. We previously stayed at Campo San Aponal in San Polo, so we were looking forward to enjoying a totally different neighborhood this time. We found Billa, the local grocery store, very easily with Julie's directions and were shocked to see such a large grocery store in Venice. Previously we have only shopped at very small stores. We picked up some vino (of course), some caffe, fruits, bread, cheeses, gnocchi, ravioli, salad, bottled water and the likes. I had brought along a rolling bag as you see so many Venetians using for the sometimes long journey home from shopping, but had forgotten to bring it along in our haste to get out and about. So, it was quite a workout lugging the groceries home, up and down bridges and along Strada Nova, not to mention up the four flights of stairs. So, after we arrived back home we had some well earned Pinot Grigio and Asiago formaggio on our terrace for our efforts.

After unpacking and getting organized, we ventured out again to just relax and get reacquainted with magical Venezia. We decided to make use of our vaporetto pass and went to San Polo to pay a visit to the old neighborhood. Everything was just as we had left it two years ago....imagine that in a city that is over a thousand of years old? I have to admit that there was one change. The net cafe we previously frequented was no longer in business, but otherwise it was as if we had stepped back in time. We wandered into Biancat, the infamous florist from Donna Leon's novels, as well as our florist for our vow renewal on our previous trip, and the florist actually remembered us from two years ago. Aside from providing the flowers for our vow renewal, DH had purchased roses from him to have in our apartment on our arrival before. When we walked in, he looked at DH a little funny and said, "You're the one with the wedding suit.... from a couple of years ago!" Wow. I was stunned. He had been so gracious to us for our ceremony, but we had no idea he would remember us two years later.

We continued wandering around past our old apartment, into Campo San Polo, back through Campo San Silvestro, up and down the Ruga, and finally settled down for a vino and spritzer at one of our favorite little outdoor wine bars from our previous trip, Ruga Rialto Bar. Ruga Rialto is nothing special, but it holds special memories for us since we had previously sat there on most evenings to take a break, people watch, journal and look at our photos from the day. It was so amazing to be back considering we never really thought we ever would be since we have so many places on our "trip wish list."

After doing a bit more wandering and passing through the Rialto fish market, we took a traghetto back across the Grand Canal and headed back to Strada Nova. We had never taken a traghetto before and thought it might be a bit tough to stand, rather than sit, in a gondola as it crossed the slightly choppy waters, but it was actually quite easy. We vowed to use the traghettos often this trip, but never really had the need to again after that, so I was glad we got to experience it at least that one time. I asked DH, "Don't you think the gondoliers get bored going back and forth in the same passage all day long?" He suggested that maybe it is the "gondoliers in training" that run the traghettos. Perhaps they get used to the same route back and forth across the Grand Canal before they start traversing the smaller, more narrow canals. I know that it takes a great amount of skill to be a gondolier, so this was just a joke, but it does seem that it would get very monotonous doing the same route back and forth all day long.

When we got back to Strada Nova and Rio Terra San Leonardo, we walked up and down the area window shopping and people watching and just enjoying the atmosphere. We also found Planet Internet with its adjoining laundromat that was recommended by several of you, and sent an email home that we had arrived safely. DH found a wonderful little cichetteria right next door where the patrons were mostly local Venetian men enjoying their evening spritz. He joined them quite often during our trip while I checked my email daily and we both enjoyed the delightful and very local cichetteti that they offered. I think that DH tried virtually everything they had on any given day or evening, and he loves nothing more than conversing with older local men of any city/country that we visit. "The wise ones" as he calls them. The name of the place that he enjoyed so each day is da Luca & Fred, located at Ponte delle Guglie, Cannaregio 1518.

By this time it was dark out and we decided to take the vaporetto back toward Rialto. We got off at the Rialto stop and walked our way over to Piazza San Marco. In our meandering thru the various small calles, we eventually happened upon the Burger King that DH had sworn didn't exist in Venice. I got a good chuckle of of that one. Hummpph! I was right! When we finally entered the piazza with the evening glow of lights and the dueling orchestras playing in the enormous square while people danced under the darkened sky, we were mesmerized. The basilica with its glowing gold mosaics, the grand stature of the campinelle overhead, the pure boldness of "The Drawing Room of Europe," as Napoleon called it. The scene was so surreal. I don't think it is something one can get used to, or take for granted, no matter how many times you visit Venice.

We strolled around for awhile, stopping here and there to take in the scene and the music, continuing to pinch ourselves at the thought that we were back. We then strolled along the waterfront and past Harry's Bar where we boarded the vaporetto at San Marco Vallaresso and headed back to San Marcuola. It was such a lovely night with the cool breeze as the vaporetto lumbered up the Grand Canal and we peered at all the lit up grand palazzi along the water's edge. Upon our return to our own neighborhood we figured it was getting past dinner time so we settled on something simple near the apartment. At the end of our calle was Ristorante Serenissima and we figured that since we were getting quite tired after our long journey it was nice and convenient for dinner close to home.

Much to our surprise, dinner was very good and the service was excellent. The restaurant is located right on Strada Nova between Calle Columbina and Calle Larga Vendramin, and although that is a busy thoroughfare, the immediate area of the restaurant was pretty quiet. It was so nice to sit outside in the cool night air. We started with an antipasti platter and gnocchi formaggio and then went on to have calf's liver with onions and polenta, as well as veal, for our main courses. I know, I know.....we should eat seafood in Venice, but I'm quite honestly not a huge seafood fan and living on an island we don't get good meat very often so we have to take advantage of it when we can. Our meal also included salad and potatoes, along with tiramisu and a fabulous dessert wine afterward. We also shared a half liter of Classico red wine with dinner and the total bill was 85.00 euro after all was said and done.

As we were sitting there enjoying dinner I got a big smile on my face at one point and said to DH, "Gosh, we just can't get away from it, can we?" He looked at me and couldn't figure out what I was referring to. I said, "Listen." Then, he started laughing himself. We are so accustomed to it at home that we hadn't noticed the music coming from a pizzeria a few doors down. It was Bob Marley we were hearing all the way over in Venice, Italy. Go figure.

We were thoroughly stuffed and down right tired when we returned home. We were glad we had only to walk a few doors up the calle to our apartment and after getting ready for bed we were glad to each have our own Donna Leon novel with us in order to continue following Commisario Brunnetti on his crime solving adventures in Venice. DH was smart enough to take one of those little, blue French sleeping pills before bed and was fast asleep by midnight, but I was afraid it might make me feel groggy the next day so I passed. A decision I would later regret.

It was such a nice treat to sleep all bundled up with the windows wide open and the cold night air coming in the room....that is until my DH began his nightly earth shattering snoring. Although my BIL once commented while we were staying at his house "I could hear you snoring at the end of the driveway!," DH's snoring honestly does not affect me at home or when we are traveling (I guess I'm used to it). This time, however, I woke up about every fifteen minutes all night long closing the windows and opening the windows; closing the windows and opening the windows. I guess I was afraid the neighbors across the calle might think I had hidden a wild beast in the apartment and I was desperately worried that his snoring would awaken them, but when I would close the windows it would get warm and I would then eventually have to open them again.....until the beast started up and I had to shut them once more. Every time the wild beast started up again I don't know who might have been more mortified....me or the neighbors. So, needless to say, I didn't finally fall into a deep sleep until 7:00 a.m. the next morning....once "the beast" was up and it was quiet.

Next....."Exploring Cannaregio" or "The Wild Beast Strikes Again"

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Old Dec 7th, 2005, 01:41 PM
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Thank you. I'll be watching for the next installment.
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Old Dec 7th, 2005, 01:52 PM
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So far so good Statia. I have been looking forward to your report. You do such a great job. Can't wait for the rest.

MY
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Old Dec 7th, 2005, 05:05 PM
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Great reading! Wish I had a caffe corretto on this end of the screen! Looking forward to more...
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Old Dec 7th, 2005, 06:39 PM
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Let's all get our caffe corretti (what is the plural of that?) ready and sip together as we read the next super installment!
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Old Dec 7th, 2005, 09:02 PM
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I really liked my hotel near the San Marcuola vaporetto stop on the Strada Nova, and I can just visualize exactly where your apartment is. I hope the sleep issue got better, but otherwise it sounds like a great trip so far!
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Old Dec 7th, 2005, 09:05 PM
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Oh, Statia, I've been waiting for your report, and it does not disappoint! Your descriptions are wonderful and remind me of my trip in Sept. Looking forward to more...
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Old Dec 7th, 2005, 09:18 PM
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Loving this, Statia!
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 06:11 AM
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This is lovely....perfect accompaniment to my (rather late today) morning coffee & memories of my first Venice trip many moons ago.....in late December. Looking forward to the rest!
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 06:20 AM
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waiting for more, Statia
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 06:36 AM
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Brava, Statia! I think I'll go pour myself a caffe corretto (Aurelio Zen style). Love the literary references. Just think, in a few short months you'll be back in bella Italia!
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 07:05 AM
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Great report! Thanks for the tip on Donna Leon - I never heard of her! Does it matter what order you read her books in?

Thanks,
Sally
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 07:36 AM
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Hi Statia,

Thanks for sharing. Great report.

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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 08:26 AM
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It's about time! ;-) Been looking forward to your report.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 08:29 AM
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Lovely, Statia, just lovely!

As I'm still checking into Venice apartments, I'll look into the one you stayed in. Four floors up, hmmmm? As you say, though, good for the diet!

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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 08:42 AM
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Hi Statia

Very much enjoying your trip report. It was interesting to me to read about a journey that began somewhere other than here in the states. Also, I can understand your affection for another climate, it must have felt wonderful!

Looking forward to reading more...

Thanks for taking the time, Tiff
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 09:14 AM
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Sally,

The order of Leon's books matters a little, but not much in comparison to some series author's.

Death at La Fenice is the first.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 10:29 AM
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Thanks Ellen! I will look around on Amazon for the right order then, but will start with Death at La Fenice.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 11:16 AM
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SRS -- there's a great website www.italian-mysteries.com that has info about Donna Leon's books and lots of others. Also, if you can't find all her books on Amazon, check your local library online (if they offer that); that's how I found the older ones.
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Old Dec 8th, 2005, 12:43 PM
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Thanks so much for the nice compliments. As you know, I thoroughly enjoyed many of your recent reports, as well.

Sally, if you are a Venice fan you will love the Brunetti series by Donna Leon. We have all but five now and I've ordered those rare ones from used book dealers via amazon.com. I had to have them sent to a friend in the US and hope to have them all here by the new year.

On to the next installment....

October 25, 2005

"Exploring Cannaregio" or "The Wild Beast Strikes Again"

DH had closed the bedroom door after he was up in order to allow me finally get some much needed rest. I woke up at 10 a.m. and lept out of bed not wanting to waste any of our time in precious Venezia. Although I only had about 4 hours of solid sleep after such a long couple of days, I felt pretty good. DH had caffe ready when I got up and had already done a small load of laundry when he told me of his first "traveler mishap" with his initial cup of caffe earlier that morning. He said that he put "sugar" from the sugar container in his caffe and nearly spit it out immediately when he realized he'd put salt in his cup instead. I looked at the condiment tray in the apartment and said, "You dork....THIS one is the sugar, THAT one is the salt." Well, my theory was shot down pretty quickly because both conatiners were filled with salt. So, it turns out DH isn't dim after all. He did eventually find a bag of sugar in the cabinet, however, so I didn't have to endure salt in my own first cup of the day.

We enjoyed our caffee and a light breakfast on our terrace and discussed what we should do that day (by this time the whole winging it idea is already feeling very odd to the well planned traveler in me) and we decided to use our guidebooks and explore the Cannaregio area more in depth, since we never had the opportunity to venture into this area once on our last trip. Our first stop, however, was the pharmacy to buy some Breathe Right nose strips and whatever else we could find to tame "The Wild Beast."

The pharmacist was very nice and helpful in showing us various products and we bought pretty much everything that might work because I HAD to get some decent rest that night, as did the neighbors. I honestly don't think the neighbors actually ever heard the beast since I was busily up and down closing the windows all night long, but I try to be a considerate to others, so we were buying these products not only for myself, but for them as well.

After the pharmacy, we headed back to Billa for some necessities such as a razor for DH and shampoo and conditioner for me (I have NO idea how I negelected to pack these two essential items....must have been that "winging it" thing) and then to the local TIM store located on the corner of Strada Nova and Rio Terra San Leonardo, just off Campiello dell Anconetta. The staff at the TIM store didn't seem to understand that I just wanted to purchase a local TIM card for my phone (rather than add minutes to my own SIM card), but after DH explained the scenario further, they understood and all was well. The staff weren't overly friendly, but they were helpful nonetheless, and we eventually got squared away with a local Venetian phone number and time on our phone. I know cell phone questions come up often, so I will add that I have a European model Nokia phone that is unlocked for which I have bought SIM cards in the US, but wasn't certain I could get a card for it in Italy. But, the TIM card we bought worked just fine. We paid 10 euro for the card, which included about 5 euro call time on it, and then we bought another 30 euro in call time. The calls to the US were about 50 cents per minute, so we ultimately had 70 minutes in call time. What I didn't factor in, however, was that calls to the West Indies were much more expensive, so that used our time up a bit more when we occassionally checked in here at home. So, if you are pricing for calls to the US from Venice, you can figure that a TIM card with 70 minutes on it will run about 40 euro. Incoming calls were free, much to my surprise, so it was kind of nice to get the occassional unexpected call from my mom, sister or best friend while we were there, not to mention being able to be reached in case of emergency since our apartment had no phone this time.

We finally got going on our exploration of the Cannaregio sestiere at 1 p.m. We started out on the far west side at Chiesa degli Scalzi and followed my Knopf CityMap Guide to the various sites to see in the area. Next on the list was Ponte de Guglie and Palazzo Labia (which we had a bit of a time trying to locate). We then ventured up Fondamenta di Cannaregio to the Ponte dei Tre Archi, which is very unique. One area I really wanted to see this time was the Jewish Ghetto. Being raised a Catholic myself, I do not know all that much about the Jewish faith, but have a close friend who is Jewish and the culture simply fascinates me. So, this area was on the top of my list. We ventured into Camp Ghetto Nuovo only to find the museum and tours closed for the day. We were disappointed but vowed to return when they were open on another day. We then headed over the iron bridge, and farther east, to Fondamenta della Sensa and Campo dei Mori, admiring the statues of the infamous three Arab merchant brothers. Next stop was Tintoretto's casa, which took a bit of time to locate, but we did eventually find it. The casa was very simple and rustic, and it was later interesting to think of him painting there while we were viewing his infamous works at Scoula Grande di San Rocco. Next stop was Chiesa della Madonna dell'Orto, home of Tintoretto's last remains and some works of both he and his son.

By this time it was already getting to our usual "take a break, have a vino, journal and people watch" time. We normally fit a lot more in one day of exploring in Europe, but we got a late start due to the wild beast in my bed the night before. So, after a quick stop at the outdoor San Leonardo market, which has a wonderful array of fresh fruits and vegetables, we went back home to find that the clothes washer door had STILL not yet unlocked. We finally called our rental agent and as always, she was very gracious in explaining a couple of ways to remedy the problem and DH had it figured out in no time. Then, it was on to the laundromat to dry the clothes. With the cool and moist air in Venice at this time of year it would have taken days to dry anything on our terrace, so we opted to just throw everything in the dryer at the laundromat while I checked my email and DH went for his daily visit to da Luca and Fred next door.

By sunset we were enjoying vino, bread and cheese on our terrace and discussing what to do for the evening. I have heard and read a lot about Ristorante Da Raffaele, so we decided to have dinner there, We are not reservation types so we were hoping we could get a table. Although we usually have an itinerary, we still tend to go with the flow and hate having to be somewhere at a specific time. So, we took the vaporetto to the Giglio stop and easily found Da Raffaele hoping for the best. It was rather crowded, so we decided to go to Piazza San Marco and have a drink while enjoying the dueling orchestras and wait for the earlier diners to clear out. After all, everyone says you must experience sitting down for an expensive drink to watch the dueling orchestras in St. Mark's Piazza at least once in your life, and the experience did not diasappoint.

We walked up and down the piazza trying to decide whether to sit at Quadri or Cafe Florian. DH said it was my choice and I ultimately decided on Cafe Florian because of it's history After all, it is the oldest (since 1720) and Casanova himself drank there. I had a Kir Royale and DH had a Florian Cocktail. The waiter pointed out on the menu that there was a 5 euro per person music cover charge, as well. The total bill came to 35 euro for two drinks and a half hour of orchestral enertainment, but the experience was well worth it. Our elegant drinks came out on a gleaming silver tray with some small snacks of olives and chips. The scene was so beautiful with the lights dancing off the gold mosaics of the basilica while we listened to the orchestra play familiar tunes. As we sat there enjoying the moment and relishing the beauty of the piazza and music as we sipped our drinks, we commented that we have certainly come a long way from being young and dating, with our splurge night consisting of a couple of cheap beers and dinner at Red Lobster.

We finally decided to head back to Da Raffaele and see how crowded it was. On our way back, we passed by the small canal behind Museo Correr where we previously had disembarked the gondola after our vow renewal ceremony for the traditional wedding walk through the piazza. It hadn't changed a bit! Even the flowers by the gondola stop looked just the same as in the photo we have in our living room. When we arrived back at Da Raffaelle there was a table available by the canal, so we sat down to dinner. I must admit that I expected this to be a wonderful dining experience since several people have recommended the restaurant to me. The service was very good, but the food was quite mediocre, which was a dissapointment to us both. DH started with shrimp soup, in which the shrimp tasted frozen, rather than fresh. He also had a mixed seafood platter that was alright, and I had liver and onions with polenta which was quite soggy. The liver also did not compare to that which I'd tasted of my DH's the previous night. The couple next to us didn't seem too pleased with their meal either by the expression on their faces when they asked, "How was everything?" We decided to skip dessert and pick up a gelato later on, although we never did. Total bill for one first course and two second courses with wine was 100 euro. I have to add that we might have just caught Da Raffaelle on a bad night, as I know happens sometimes.

We had planned to head to Campo Santa Margherita for some evening action, but never made it that far. We ended up at a newer, quiet little wine bar called Altrove 360 Bar, located at Campo San Silvestro, instead. This was my first foray into Italian Caffee Corretto with Grappa, and I fell in love with it. DH had it numerous times before, but I had never tasted it. We sat outside and watched the small amount of people come and go in the campo and reslished the peace and quiet after being in the busy San Marco area. After our caffee's, we ventured over to another favorite place of ours, Osteria Bancogiro located at Campo San Giacomo. This is the first place where I fell in love with Venice on our prior trip, after having been there only a few short hours. It's so nice to sit outside, along the Grand Canal, watching the lone gondola glide by on occassion and enjoy the sight of the moon dancing off the water. There were only two tables available and one waiter seemed to be trying to keep up with the amount of locals there, and wasn't succeeding all that well. We were quite surprised that he never even wiped off our table, yet proceeded to wait on local people who arrived after us before he gave us so much as a glance. I was dissappointed, but enjoyed this place so much the last time that I chalked it up to one person's actions, and as I said he was very busy and quite honestly might not have noticed who arrived when. We eventually each had a glass of locally produced vino blanco and loved it. The service was so slow that we didn't stay any longer, but did request a bottle to take home, if possible. The waiter at that point went out of his way to get us a bottle and explain everything about the particular wine and where it is produced, which was very nice of him. Unfortunately, I accidentally tossed the bottle in the trash a few days later before I jotted the name of this fine specimen. Thanking the waiter, we were off on our merry way, heading back home to Cannaregio. Before we headed there, however, we found a quiet place on the Grand Canal to call DH's teen daughter, Little Statia, at home in the US. She had just gotten out of school, although it was very late in Venice, and was so excited to be getting a call from us "RIGHT on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy?!?!" She was tickled pink. We have plans to take her on a ten day/two city tour of her choice in Europe for her gradutation in the future and Venice is at the top of her list, so she was thrilled that we called her from there.

We got to bed about 1 a.m. and NONE of "the beast inhibitors" that we'd purchased at the pharmacy worked. So, needless to say, I went through my routine again of opening the windows, closing the windows, opening the windows, closing the windows. By 7 a.m. DH felt so bad that I'd hardly slept all night AGAIN. He closed the door to the bedroom and went in the kitchen to read, and told me to get some rest. I finally fell into a sound sleep at 8 a.m. I have never had this kind of a sleeping problem on a trip (actually I never have a sleeping problem anytime), so it was getting quite frustrating by this point. I slept solid until 10 a.m. and then got up so that we wouldn't have too late of a start on our day. It was at this time that DH made note of the fact that when I finally fall asleep it is about bedtime at home. Perhaps THAT is why I wasm having such a hard time getting rest at a decent hour.


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