Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

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

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

Old Dec 9th, 2005, 07:57 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,254
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello Statia,

I will have to try the Caffee Corretto with Grappa when I'm in Venice. Something new for me.

I can also tell that I will have to put aside a few more $$ for my meals and drinks. Seems a bit more pricey than I remembered.

Happy holidays! (And a very happy birthday to your mother today!)





kopp is offline  
Old Dec 9th, 2005, 08:14 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,151
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Statia, I ALWAYS think that a week is a hard trip duration because it's impossible to adjust to the time change. Like you, I'm awake from about 2 AM til 5 AM, then I want to sleep. Sleeping pills are the only thing that works for me.
Catbert is offline  
Old Dec 9th, 2005, 09:26 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,095
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Statia, you're inspiring me to write my trip report. DH and I spent 6 nights in Florence from Nov 19 to 25th, then 6 nights in Venice returning home on Dec 1st. We, however, had awful weather (cold and rainy) but hey, it was Venice so it was perfect!
Margaretlb is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2005, 10:00 AM
  #24  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,114
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
kopp, it can be as pricey or inexpensive as you wish, honestly. There are plenty of affordable places, as well as those that are splurges. And, of course, there is always pizza, calzones and the likes for lesser expensive meals from time to time.

I also find that staying in an apartment saves on meal costs with being able to have things in the fridge and pantry for breakfast or snacking. Then, we can splurge a bit with what we save.

Catbert, we also found another reason later in the trip for my being awakened so often.

Margaret, I'll be looking for your report!

I'm still editing the next installment and hope to get it posted soon.

Next....."Murano, Burano, Torcello & the Slow Boat Back" or "Taming the Beast"
Statia is offline  
Old Dec 11th, 2005, 01:14 PM
  #25  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,114
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wednesday, October 26

We had decided to do the outer islands this day so that we didn't leave them for the last minute and possibly not get to them, since we missed them on our previous trip. I got everything together and we were out the door by 10:45 a.m., even in light of "the beast" and my not getting into a good sleep until 8 a.m. We headed down Strada Nova, toward Castello, and then took some of the smaller calli, past Chiesa Gesuiti, and ended up at the Fondamenta Nuove vaporetto stop. It was a foggy, chilly day and in our opinion, perfect weather for a boat ride around the lagoon to the various islands. We planned to stop first at San Michele, but the vaporetto continued on past it. After the fact, I thought that maybe we should have told the captain that we wanted to stop off there, and perhaps the boat doesn't stop if no one is on the dock and no one asks to get off there. But, it was too late by that point. So, we continued on to the island of Murano, about 10 minutes away.

Murano was a small, but pretty island. I have to admit that it wasn't quite as quaint as I was expecting, but we enjoyed our limited time there, nontheless. We basically strolled up and down the main canal taking a look in various glass shops. I was specifically looking for seashells, since my household theme is tropical. And, I found EXACTLY what I was looking for at Domus Vetri D'Arte on Fondamenta Vetrai. The shells were so colorful and intricate, and I even bought some sea coral and starfish, as well. They were all just beautiful and were carefully wrapped for our travels home. I also want to say thanks to Jocelyn and moldyhotelsaregross for getting some Murano glass shopping info to me while I was in Venice. That was very thoughtful of you both!

After taking in Murano, we boarded the vaporetto for the 20 minute further ride to the island of Burano. We heard the deck hand yell "Buraaanooo" at the first stop, so we got off there and that was a mistake. We were wondering why only a handful of people disembarked with us and the rest stayed behind. We soon realized that we must have gotten off at the wrong stop, but figured we were just seeing Burano "through the back door," as Rick Steves would say. We found our way to a bicycle path that overlooked a small lagoon with colorful houses and fishing boats moored before us. So, we headed in that direction and after crossing a bridge, realized we were finally in the right place. Once we entered the main canal area, it was as if we'd been dropped into a box of crayons. Wow! I figured that coming from an area of the world where the homes are all painted various tropical colors, Burano wouldn't be that big of a deal to see, but I was pleasantly mistaken. It reminded us of a little Italian Saba, which is an island just north of us that captures the same quaint atmosphere and is also known for lace making. We wandered up and down the various canals on the island and ventured into various shops, just taking in all the color and relative quiet once we were off the main canal. It was truly a gem of an island.

After passing thru the campo and wandering some more back canals and calli, we finally ventured back to the vaporetto stop and took a well needed break on a park bench while we waited for the next boat. When it finally arrived, we boarded and headed for the island of Torcello, "the Mother of Venice," about another 5 or so minutes farther. We got quite a chuckle that while embarking, the deck hand continually shouted out, "TORCEELLLLOOOO! NOOO MURANNNNOOOO!" By this point we had asked to be sure we were embarking the correct boat, and I guess that clued him in that others might be as clueless as we were. When we disembarked at Torcello, we were surprised to see the island so calm and quiet with hardly a soul on it. I've read since then that the total population is 20. I guess that would explain it. I knew that the island was pretty much uninhabited, but the quiet was still a nice getaway from the crowds on the vaporetto and other islands we'd been on that day.

We walked the narrow canal down to Locando Cipriani, planning to have lunch there, but knowing that it was getting late. Turns out that the terrace was closed and we prefered not to eat indoors, so we decided to forge ahead to the church and have lunch after our touring, at another place that had outdoor seating which we had passed along the way. Onward we ventured to Santa Maria Asunta and marveled at the ancient church, which was founded in 639 A.D. There was a bit of a line to get in the church itself and I was rather tired and brain dead by this point with having less than 8 solid hours sleep in three days, so we settled on seeing the Sacristy instead and we were very glad we did. It was small and peaceful inside and we witnessed a stunning impromtu event. We were sitting there in the silence with a few other visitors when a small group of four or five visiting Italian priests broke out in unified hymns with no musical accompaniment. I knew the words to most of the songs they sang in Latin and thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of their voices. It was a very spiritual and uplifting experience as their strong voices reverberated off the ancient stone walls. After they left, DH and I were not far behind and we continued browsing the rest of the grounds and commenting that the trip to Torcello was worth it if for nothing else but to have witnessed that marvelous spectacle. It was really a moment that we will never forget.

Once we had our fill of the one and only site on Torcello, we began the slow stroll back toward the lagoon and stopped off for lunch along the way. We ate at Ristorante il Trono di Attila and had a wonderful meal close to the canal. It was 4 p.m. by this time and I was starving, having not eaten since dinner the night before. DH, on the other hand, stops for a slice of pizza or cichetti various times while I'm shopping throughout the day. I just don't have TIME to eat when I'm traveling in Europe. There's just so much to see and do that food is the last thing on my mind. DH started out with a huge portion of mussels, while I had shrimp scampi. He tasted my shrimp and said that it was much better than his the night before at Da Raffaelle. We then moved on to lasagna for him and seafood spaghetti for me. He also had a platter of mixed, fried seafood, and we shared a half litre of wine, as well as a caffee coretto each to keep up our stamina. The total bill was 75 euro and we found it quite affordable for the items we had. The service was also excellent and since we arrived well after lunch, yet before dinner, there were only a few other European patrons so the meal was very relaxing.

When we boarded the vaporetto to return to Venice proper, we simply boarded the first one that came along although we knew it would be the "long boat home", since the mosquitos were starting to get to us at dusk. I understand that the mosquito population and malaria is what eventually drove most everyone out of Torcello and I can see why, but it is still a beautifully tranquil island to visit, nonetheless. We didn't mind the long boat home since it was a much larger boat than the ones we'd taken thus far, and it gave us a chance to sit on the upper deck and relax as we watched evening approach and the fog roll in. We made stops at Burano (where we could REALLY see how much the bell tower leans as we were departing), Punta Sabbioni, and the Lido before finally disembarking at San Marco in Venice Proper. The total trip was at least an hour and a half, but it gave us some nice down time off of our feet. I think I tend to run poor DH's tootsies in the ground on some of these trips, so he seemed to especially enjoy the down time.

After disembarking, we strolled around Piazza San Marco for a bit and then began wandering the back calli towards the Questura so that we could see just WHERE Commissario Brunetti's office is in the Donna Leon novels. Then, after some more wandering around Castello and San Marco, and just "getting lost in Venice," we finally boarded the vaporetto back at San Marco and headed home. It was an exhausting, but wonderful day.

Since we'd had such a large, late lunch, we decided on some simple pizza and calzones at the apartment for dinner that night. For once, we were in at a decent hour and DH persuaded me to take one of those little French sleep enhancers. I finally gave in knowing that I HAD to get some rest or I would be useless by the next day. I was doing fine up to this point, but didn't know how much longer I could go on very little sleep. DH promised me that he would keep the windows closed that night so that I wouldn't wake up more concerned about the neighbors being awakened by his nightly snorning ritual, than it waking me. And, he said he would not go to sleep until he knew I was in a peaceful slumber. So, I got ready for bed, took the little "blue bugger," DH tucked me in, and then I lay there reading Donna Leon while he sat on the terrace doing the same. Almost an hour later, DH came in to check on me and I was still wide awake. So, he said, "I've got the trick....let me plug this fan in and turn it on...you need the hum to fall asleep." I told him that wasn't going to do any good, but needless to say, that was at 10:30 p.m. and that's the last thing I remember until I awoke at 7:30 a.m. the next day. Hallelujah! Either I tamed the wild beast, or at least caged him for the moment!

Next......"Lunch with a Dear Venetian Friend" or "The Amazing Race to the TIM Store"
Statia is offline  
Old Dec 13th, 2005, 09:58 AM
  #26  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,114
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thursday, October 27, 2005

When I woke from my FINALLY peaceful slumber, DH had already gotten breakfast made, did a load of laundry, and had caffee waiting for me. He was SO glad that I'd finally gotten some rest. We were pleasanty surprised that the weather was very, very foggy on this morning. We could barely see the bells of San Marcuola from our terrace and we loved it! We had talked to our dear Venetian friend, who now lives a bit outside of the city, by cell phone since we'd been in town, and had planned to meet her for lunch on this day. I've never used text messaging on my phone, but luckily I'd read up on how to do it when I first got the phone because I had a text message from our friend telling us to meet her at Campo San Bartolomeo at 1:30 p.m. I knew she was in a meeting in Venice that morning so I was thankful that I knew how to text back and told her that we could do lunch at La Zucca if she had time. She sent a message back, "Great!" Before we headed out, I did some journaling and wrote out some postcards, and then off we went.

First stop was to dry our clothes at the laundromat, me to check the email, and DH to have his daily ritual at da Luca & Fred next door, as well as pick up some fruit at San Leonardo market. Thank goodness we had remembered on this trip the golden rule of not touching the fruit and vegetables ourselves, but rather let the vendor be the only one to touch the items. Of course, not for the first time, DH had to give "laundry lessons" in how to use the machines to other tourists that were doing the same as us. Once we got the clothes back home, after a market stop or two, we headed out to Ca' Rezzonico to tour the palace. Unfortunately, we were a bit rushed with having to meet our friend, but we still managed to see everything, just not in the slow, meandering manner that we are used to. We used our Rick Steves guide for this museum and found that it gave a good, and sometimes humorus impression of everything overall. The ballroom was simply fascinating and I only wished I could step back in time for a moment and witness a grand gala there at the largest private venue in the city (5,600 square feet) complete with lifelike Tiepolo frescos on the ceiling. We also enjoyed reading about the various furnishings and history of this 16th century palazzo as we ventured room to room. We wished we'd had more time to view all of the paintings in a slower manner on the top floor, but we had an appointment to make so we didn't get too much time to really absorb it all.

When we were to board the vaporetto back to Rialto, we realized that our 72 hour pass was almost expired, so DH bought two 5 euro passes that would last us 90 minutes. When we got off at Rialto, we easily found our way to Camp San Bartolomeo and heard our friend calling our names. Hugs and kisses abound and it was so good to see her again! For those of you who didn't read my last trip report for Venice, this friend and I met thru email when I was referred to her to take care of the arrangements for our ten-year wedding anniversary vow renewal ceremony in Venice in 2003. In all our planning and emailing daily over the course of a few months, we became quite close and she even officiated our ceremony. Needless to say, we have remained dear friends to this day.

We all then boarded the vaporetto again and headed for the San Stae stop to have lunch at La Zucca. It was a wonderful, small osteria located on a relatively quite calle next to a bridge over a canal in the Santa Croce sestieri. Although there was space to sit inside, we opted to sit outdoors where no one else was, so we could enjoy being able to catch up with one another without distracting other diners, not to mention the fact that it seemed a bit warm inside. I asked our friend if this was okay since she was bundled up in a leather jacket and we were in only pullover sweaters. She said that she was fine outside, and added that Venetians begin wearing a jacket at a certain time of year, whether it's necessary or not. It didn't make much sense to us, but we had certainly noticed that we, who live in the heat of the tropics year round, were quite comfortable without a jacket every day, yet we saw pretty much everyone else wearing a jacket each day even though it wasn't really cold. I honestly got quite warm just watching our friend sitting there eating with her leather jacket closed up through the whole meal. She didn't seem cold at all, but I certainly would have been hot wearing leather when the weather was so nice out. There were even times that DH and I were kind of hot in just our pullover sweaters. Go figure.

We enjoyed a fabulous meal at La Zucca, including a baked, finely grated zucchini dish starter that a friend and poster here told me I HAD to try there (boy, was she right!), avacado with mustard vinagarette (who would have tought?) pasta with gargaonzola sauce, pasta with zucchini, sausage and beans, pumpkin with goat cheese, and traditional Venetian biscuits with a sweet dessert wine. I don't think I have to say who ate what, since you know that my DH had the most dishes. The total bill with wine and caffee corretto, of course, was 75 euro for three people. Quite a steal if you ask me, and the food and service were great! This restaurant came highly recommended by many people, and it certainly did not disappoint.

Eventually, our friend had to get going, so we walked with her to Piazzale Roma so she could meet her husband and we could see him to say hello again, as well. We had more catching up to do as we walked and it was kind of sad that our short time together was ending, but it was so nice to be able to meet up, if even briefly. I gave her a St. Eustatius T-shirt for her son, since he's now outgrown the last one I gave him, and we finally all hugged and went our separate ways. DH and I continued back thru the Santa Croce area and stopped for a bit at Al Timon, a small, local cafe that we'd stopped at in that area on our previous visit. We sat outside, enjoying the nice weather, journaling, looking at photos, talking, etc.

About this time, my mother called on the cell phone. As we chatted about Venice, she said, "I am still going to make it to Rome one day." Little did she know at that time that my sister and I had already been planning a dream trip to Rome for her birthday in March. So, that kind of made my day since my mom has never set foot in Europe and we are going to finally make her dream come true now.

We then ventured thru the various calli heading back towards Rialto, along the Ruga, looking for one last item to put in Little Statia's gift package from Venice. We had been picking up little things for her all along our trip and told her we would mail the package directly from Venice. I wanted to add one more small item in it, but time was running out since we wanted to get it in the mail that day. So, we decided to get her a Murano glass necklace and after looking in various shop windows, DH settled on a beautiful red and gold blown glass heart necklace in the window of the tiniest of shops, where a Venetian woman was busily making her crafts. Once that item was bought, it was a rush to the main Rialto post office in order to get the package out that day. And, of course, since we were passing right by Commissario Brunetti's house in our shopping expedition, we just had to go by there and take a peek.

You have to admit that the Rialto post office is quite a building, and looks as if it's housed in a former palazzo. Luckily, they had a regular line and a tourist line, so we didn't have to wait all that long in order to post Little Statia's package and all of my postcards. Then, it was on to the San Marco area for more photo ops. I could just take a photo at every corner, every bridge and every calle in Venice. It's so unbelievable the beauty and magic of that special city. We finally arrived back at Piazza San Marco and I couldn't help but snap, snap, snap away as the fog began rolling in and the air and light took on a whole new persona once again. I'm not a photographer, not by a long shot, but I enjoyed experimenting with various options on my fairly new digital camera.....and DH was most patient with me as I continually stopped along the way when I would see something I wanted to capture.

At one point, we passed Giardinetti Reali and saw an older man konked out on a bench in the garden. His wife was sitting next to him anxiously reading a guide book and she would look at the book, look at him snoring with his head tilted back, and then look back at her guidebook This scenario was repeated more than once. DH and I laughed about it and said, "Oh look...there's us in 20 years." DH added, "Yea, I'll bet she lets him sleep for about ten minutes, then wakes him up and says 'You've been sleeping for an hour, dear. It's time to move on. We have more to see!'"

After leaving the piazza, we headed towards Campo Santo Maria Formosa and sat down there to enjoy a spritz con aperol. About this time, my sister tried to call me, but she kept cutting out. So, I tried to call her back and realized that my cell was out of time! It had been so nice to reach and be reached when we wanted that we decided we'd better head back to the TIM store and top up our time on the phone. We knew they would be closing in an hour, so we headed that way and found ourselves continually reaching dead end calli and hitting dead end canals in the maze that is Venice. Normally, this doesn't happen to us all that often, but lo and behold, when we were in a hurry it happened about every five minutes and we almost became frantic in making it to the store in time. Ok...let me rephrase that. "I" almost became frantic. It got to the point where we were literally running in our haste to get there, and still becoming disoriented and misguided. I'm not a cell phone fanatic by any means (half the time I don't even have it with me at home, and I probably use it only a handful of times per month), but with having no phone in the apartment, we liked the idea of being able to be reached, if need be, not to mention the fact that it's cheaper for family to call us in Europe than it is here on our island. So, on we went, meandering, getting lost, looking at the map, asking directions, nearly panting, etc. We finally reached the TIM store within minutes of closing time, out of breath and sweating. Whew!

Once we were topped up again, we sat down to rest at an outdoor cafe and were very glad for the well needed break after our "Amazing Race" style marathon across Castello and Cannaregio. We got a good laugh at how idiotic the whole scenario was. Once we were rested, we stopped to buy some vino for the apartment and headed home to relax and talk on our terrace. Of course, in Venice this means "whispering" since you can literally hear a pin drop after 9 p.m. We discussed whether or not to take a day trip out of Venice the next day, as had been our plan all along. We talked about going to Verona, Vicenza, Padua, and even all the way to Piran, Slovenia while looking over the various notes I'd printed out from all of you and brought along for such. As much as we wanted to and had planned to take a day trip, we ultimately decided that with only two days left, it was really going to rush things and that it would probably be best that we stay in Venice. After all, we still had more we wanted to see there. We were kind of disappointed we'd decided against the day trip, but knew that in the long run we would be happy to continue exploring Venezia and wouldn't be so rushed with our little bit of time remaining.

About 9:30 p.m., we decided to head over to Campo Santa Margharita for some nightlife, since we understand that is "the happening" place after hours. We had by now bought a 24 hour vaporetto pass for 10.50 euro each, so we hopped onboard at San Marcuola and disembarked at Ca' Rezzonico, then went thru Campo San Barnaba and walked onward to Campo Santa Margharita. There were mostly college aged kids around, and although we don't mind being with younger people (we sometimes forget that we ARE actually older than them), we opted to sit by ourselves at an outdoor cafe and have a dinner of cichetti, along with a limoncello. We finished off our time there by enjoying a gelato each (Melon and After Eight flavors) and watching many dogs romping and playing with one another around the campo.

I have to add here that many times in our vaporetto journeys or when sitting in a cafe, we had fun picking out various Venetians who we felt could pass for the characters in Donna Leon's novels. We spotted a perfect Commisario Brunetti one day on vaporetto #82, then we found Vice Questore Patta one evening on the #1. We also found a perfect look-alike for both Vianello and Signorina Elletra in a campo one day. Then, one evening while we were having dinner we spotted Paola, Chiara and Raffi, as well!

After leaving Campo Santa Margharita, we meandered thru the now quiet calli and campos on our way to San Silvestro to catch the vaporetto back home. We were too late, however, and ended up having to walk further on to Rialto to catch one that was running that late. We enjoyed our late night walk thru Venice and relished the quiet, arriving home about 12:30 a.m. I slept peacefully again without the aid of the "little blue bugger." That is....until the construction worker began banging on our apartment wall early the next morning.

Next - "Tears at Scuola San Rocco" or "Is the Building Moving or is it Just Me?"
Statia is offline  
Old Dec 15th, 2005, 06:08 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,151
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yoo Hoo, Statia..... I'm sitting here with my caffe corretto, getting progressively more inebriated! Where is the next installment?
Catbert is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2005, 10:56 AM
  #28  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,114
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Friday, October 28, 2005

"BANG, BANG, BANG." Quiet. "BANG, BANG, BANG." I was ready to open the window and shout out, "Yo, Dude! Take a break, man. Isn't it about time for a caffee?" I would never do that, however, because I know he's just trying to make a living and I honestly had no business sleeping at 9 a.m. while in Venice. So, up and at 'em! Time for more laundry, the laundromat dryer, checking email, and DH's ritual with the guys at da Luca & Fred. I am sure most readers are thinking, "Gosh, you sure do a lot of laundry," but to be honest, a small European washing machine will hold about two pair of pants and two sweaters and that's it. So, laundry becomes a daily thing in order to keep up with it and we honestly don't mind at all if it means being able to travel light. We are always busy doing other things while clothes are washing or drying anyhow.

I had asked DH what HE wanted to do today since although I had tried to include him in daily plans, he always stated that we should just do whatever I decided. I know he enjoys the things we do, and I've always been the trip planner anyhow, but I try to include things that he is most interested in, as well, even if they don't interest me all that much. Well, his response this particular morning was, "I just enjoy being here in Venice and seeing you smile....the joy on your face is all I need." (Ok....just melt my heart now). I still tried to get him to tell me what HE specifically wanted to do or see since we were getting close to the end of the trip, and he finally told me the same thing again, so I decided to pick out a few things for him.

I knew that he was really wanting to see the Jewish Museum just as much as I did since he enjoys reading about and studying Jewish culture. So, we planned to attempt seeing the Jewish Museum again on this morning. We waited in line for over a half hour and then realized that they had several large groups and their computer system had gone down. It looked as if it would be a long time before we would get in, so we decided to head over to Gam Gam, a Jewish trattoria, and try to have lunch. There wasn't a seat in the house, nor on the canal, so we dudded out in that department, too. It was nice, however, to see everyone enjoying themselves in a family manner and we honestly felt as if we might be intruding if we were to attempt to eat there at that particular time. Gam Gam had been on our list since the begining of the trip, however, so we were disappointed that it looked like we weren't going to get to eat there at all. We'd gone by there a few times in our journey and it was either closed or didn't look like a good time to "pop in."

We finally decided to head to St. Mark's Basilica and hoped there was no line to get in. On our last trip, during the summer, the line was SO long every time we tried to see it that we never got around to going inside. This time, however, the line was very short and fast moving, so we finally got to venture in. All I can say is, "Wow!" I have seen photos of the gold Byzantine mosaics, but pictures just do not do it justice. It's hard to fathom the amount of time and work it took to place all those tiny tiles of gold and other beautiful colors, millions and millions of them, all of them depicting stories from the Bible. It is truly amazing. There was no charge to enter the basilica itself, but there was a small fee of 1.50 euro each to see the Golden Altarpiece, a site which I highly recommend. The altarpiece is a stunning golden wall of religious scenes studded with various gem stones and it's hard to fathom what the value of it must be in today's world, maybe even priceless considering it took several centuries to create. The body of St. Mark himself (yes, the one who wrote one of the New Testament gospels in the Bible) is also buried under the altar here, which I found simply fascinating. After more admiring in the basilica, we headed upstairs (1.60 euro per person entry fee) to admire more artwork, the original bronze horses and the copies of the same that are now outside on the loggia. It was very interesting to see the detail of mosaics of the basilica up close at that level, as well as to see the original bronze horses and know that they were made during the time of Alexander the Great and have traveled so many places over time before ending up here. The view over the piazza and piazetta from the loggia was simply awe inspiring.

After our tour of the basilica, we decided to venture across the lagoon to San Giorgio Maggiore. We waited at what we thought was the right vaporetto stop just down the Riva, but after seeing several boats come and go and none of them being the right one, we eventually realized we were waiting at the wrong stop for San Giorgio. We, along with a few other people. So, we then found the correct stop a bit farther down and the boat was there in no time. After crossing the lagoon in front of St. Mark's Piazzetta, we entered the church and spent some time admiring the various works of art, as well as the cool, white marble inside. It reminded me a bit of the Church of San Lorenzo in Florence. We then headed up the elevator to the bell tower, which was 3.00 euro per person, if I recall correctly. The view towards San Marco and Santa Maria della Salute was beautiful, just as we'd seen it in various photo books over the years. The view in every other direction was also very nice. It was a cool and breezy day and we were just enjoying the view and nice weather up there....until the bells started chiming. Was that ever loud with the bells being immediately above our heads. Needless to say, everyone had their ears plugged tightly with their fingers until the chiming ceased.

We then caught the vaporetto back to San Marco and took another to the San Toma stop in order to tour Scuola San Rocco, but first it was time for a cafe break at Al Timon just next door. We enjoyed a vino and some pizza and seemed to quickly adopt a local dog who kept sitting right by us at our table. DH fed him a bit of pizza toppings, which the dog happily accepted. However, later when DH tried to give him some pizza crust, he simply turned his nose up at it as if to say, "No way, man....why do you think I would want just crust? I'm Italian!" I know for a fact that neither of OUR dogs would ever turn down pizza crust, toppings or no topppings.

We finally ventured over the Scuola di San Rocco and upon entering the second floor we both wished that we had managed to fit this in on our previous trip. The Tintoretto's housed here are phenomenal! Entry was 5.50 euro per person and worth every cent. We started out in the Great Upper Hall at the infamous Crucifixtion. My DH literally had tears in his eyes viewing this masterpiece. For one man to capture so much in a single painting was truly inspiring. There was so much going on in the scene and so many stories of that Biblical scenario captured in one piece of work. Although we continued through the remainder of the Scuola viewing all of the wonderful masterpieces that Tintoretto spent 20 years painting, at no fee, we continued returning to the Crucifixtion over and over. The remaining paintings were also exquisite, and the Scuola provided mirror tiles to view those on the ceiling, but the Crucifixtion really seemed to be special. Another thing I really liked about Scuola di San Rocco is the decor and calm inside. It was so peaceful and warm with the baroque red decor that it was as if you could just stand there viewing the panitings forever, and there was plenty of seating if one got tired of standing. The Scuola also offers Vivaldi concerts and I would love to one day attend one, being able to view the huge Tintoretto masterpieces, framed beautifully in gold, all around me while listening to masterpiece music. However, it was not to be on this trip.

We were virtually the last ones to leave the Scuola and strolled toward San Silvestro and our usual afternoon stop at Ruga Rialto Bar & Cafe. We sat outside enjoying a spritz con aperol and vino while journaling and talking. It was at this time that I noticed another osteria that came well recommended by a friend here. Unfortunately, it was closed, which I found surprising after 6 p.m. in the evening on a Friday night. So, we nixed the idea of an early dinner and decided to head back home for some time on the terrace. Vaporetto #1 was sardine crowded at this hour on a Friday and we were squished from side to side as passengers entered at each stop along the way from San Silvestro to San Marcuola. DH whispered in my ear, "I hope nobdy has gas." The attendant had to continually push through the crowd to open the gates at each stop yelling, "Permesso! Permesso!" A word which we learned early on in our trip and found to be very useful when we needed to get off the vaporetto ourselves.

When we returned home, we were reading on the patio when DH looked at me and said, "Is the building moving or is it just me?" Knowing I hadn't drank THAT much wine, I had been wondering the same thing as I felt I was continually swaying back and forth. We eventually decided to go out strolling and shopping in the Canneregio area and we continued feeling the swaying every time we stopped to sit at an outdoor cafe. We finally realized that we had just flat spent too much time on boats that day and actually found not having our land legs a bit humorous. It was downright odd, to be honest but I guess that's island life when you don't have car, as we are used to at home. One trattoria that we found this particular evening was called Da Nini, located on Rio Terra San Leonardo near Ponte delle Guglie, and we went back to this same place a few more times during the rest of our trip. Our server was very attentive and informative, not to mention really good looking since DH caught me ogling him a few times , and he made the best spritz con aperol that we had come across. Another stop we made was to da Luca & Fred for some broiled squid with herbs. The place was packed, but they always have such unique things out that DH and I just had to check what their menu included that evening, as well.

We decided to have dinner in that night since we had various pastas and salads at home, and we got to bed at a decent hour. When we were having dinner, DH commented that we could probably go to Venice and actually LOSE weight, instead of staying the same, if we just had salads like that every night. Then, we looked at one another, burst out laughing and said in unison, "Who the hell wants to do that!" DH and I also finally realized on this evening why "the beast" had been keeping me awake so much at night. I was sleeping on the opposite side of the bed that I usually do at home so that DH could be closer to the open windows and cool air. After all, he gets much warmer at night than I do. I've always been deaf in one ear and with these sleeping arrangements, my good ear was up, rather than being down on the pillow if I were sleeping on my usual side of the bed. This has never seemed to be a problem before, but I slept soundly the rest of the trip once we switched sides, and I never needed a "little blue bugger" again.

Next - "The Last Day in the Magic" or "Nearly Forgetting Daylight Savings Time for our Flight"
Statia is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2005, 11:23 AM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 42,612
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you so much Statia.
cigalechanta is online now  
Old Dec 19th, 2005, 03:03 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 469
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Statia....So glad to see this report. I remember very well the report from your first visit to Venice. And I am enjoying this one too.

Thanks for letting us share the trip with you.
suntravler is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2005, 09:38 AM
  #31  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,114
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks, Mimi and suntravler.
Statia is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2005, 12:06 PM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello Statia, I just sat here and read your report for the first time..it is beautiful and interesting. I sure look forward to the last installment. Thank you for sharing your visit to Venice!!
LoveItaly is offline  
Old Dec 20th, 2005, 02:59 PM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,467
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Statia, this is wonderful! Thank you so much for taking the time to post. Looking forward to the next installment
TexasAggie is offline  
Old Dec 27th, 2005, 09:27 AM
  #34  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,114
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks LoveItaly and TexasAggie.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

"The Last Day in the Magic" or "Nearly Forgetting Daylight Savings Time for our Flight"


We awoke on this morning to vibrant sunshine and clear skies for the first time since we'd been in Venice. That meant the weather was positively perfect for our stay. We had the cloudy, overcast, foggy and cool weather with no rain for most of the trip, just as we wanted, and having the sunshine adding a little warmth to the clear blue skies was a perfect ending to our time in the city. It also made for contrasting photos from the foggy shots we'd taken thus far, so of course I had to return to many of the same places for sunny photo ops.

The first thing I wanted to get done this morning was to finish our personal shopping and gift buying. I didn't want to leave it for the last minute and today was our last day in magical Venezia. Aside from various glass objects, sweaters, olive oil, olives, limoncello, dessert wines, grappa, and the other usual stuff one brings back from Venice, we also found a beautiful Murano glass bowl with little bubbles in the glass in which my new Murano glass seashells would go perfectly in. We also bought some Murano glass letter openers, pullover sweaters, glass antique style ink pens and such. At one particular store, the owner was so nice and helpful and even gave us a price break on a few things since we bought quite a lot from him. We also finally got ourselves a Bialetti Moka Express since we love using them in Italy, and of course, some wonderful coffee to go with it for our caffee corretto at home.

After the shopping was done, I wanted to return to the apartment and get as packed as possible. I never leave packing until the last minute because you never know when you might have some extra room and can do more shopping! After that we took the vaporetto to San Marco so that I could drop a note by the hotel of a dear friend, who is also a poster here, welcoming her back to Venezia and wishing her a wonderful stay. Upon entering the hotel and asking the person at the desk if I could leave the note for her, before I even finished my sentence the person said, "She's my friend, too!" Obviously this friend of mine is practically a goddess in Venice. So, DH and I thought that was very nice. We only wished that our time in Venice wasn't missed by mere days so that we could see one another.

We enjoyed seeing the San Marco area in the sunshine and relished strolling the Riva under the blue sky, as well. Being that it was Saturday, and such a beautiful day at that, it seemed virtually everyone in Venice was out, not to mention many more tourists. After a break at an osteria on the Riva, we decided to tour the Naval Museum. I was sure DH would enjoy this museum, but unfortunately it was closed when we arrived. So, we continued around the Arsenale and through all the little back calli and campos of Castello. Our ultimate goal was to end up at Chiesa Santi Giovanni Paolo.

Once we arrived at the church, we saw many people going in and out of the left-hand side of what we thought included the church. We asked an attendant behind a glass window if we had to pay an admission and he looked at us rather funny and told us that there was no charge. "Oh, it must be free," we thought. It wasn't until we were walking in a bit and noticing medical signage everywhere that we realized we were actually in Scuola di San Marco, the civic hospital that is connected to the church. No wonder the attendant looked at us strange in thinking that we were asking if we had to pay admission to visit someone in the hospital. Guess we can add this one to the "traveler mishap list." Once we entered the actual church, we admired the tombs of many doges commenting that there didn't seem to be much room left for anyone else. There were some lovely paintings, as well, and I really liked the serene chapel.

After we left Chiesa Santi Giovanni Paolo, DH opted for a gelato....again. I think I only had one gelato the whole trip, but I'm not typically a big ice cream fan unless I really get a sweet tooth. We then used our map to liesurely meander our way through the back calli, alleys and canals of Castello and Cannaregio, eventually ending up at Ca' D'oro, also known as The House of Gold. On our journey we passed the recently restored Santa Maria dei Miracoli, as well as San Giovanni Crisostomo, Santi Apostoli, and many other beautiful churches and campos. Ca' D'Oro is another site that we missed on our previous trip and we enjoyed the tranquility of the museum, not to mention the magnificent works of art. One painting amazed me in particular. It was a painting of San Marco in the 16th century and I marveled to stand there and look at the exact spot where DH and I had called his parents a couple of nights before. Right there by the Winged Lion of St. Mark statue we were using a cell phone to call halfway around the world and here was this painting depicting life around the same statue so many centuries before. Just amazing. I can't imagine they would have had a clue as to the technology of this vast age ahead of their time. The loggia at Ca' D'Oro is a sight not to be missed because of the marvelous view that it affords of the Grand Canal in either direction, fronted by the gothic architecture of the time period. The courtyard downstairs is also lovely, especially the spectacular tiled mosaic floor.

It was getting dark about this time and we figured that our sightseeing was more or less over for this trip. We decided to call it a day and after strolling Strada Nova, we sat down for a spritz and grappa. We went to a cafe on the corner of Strada Nova and Rio Terr San Leondardo, just past the bridge by Calle Columbina. The setting was very nice to people watch and the service was good, but we realized when we were to depart that we had been quite ripped off. The server charged us 18 euro for the same two drinks that we were normally charged only 10 euro at other places. Rather than make a scene about it, however, we chalked it up to the one time we got ripped off on this trip and vowed never to go there again. Instead we headed over to Da Nini where we had enjoyed sitting a couple of evenings before and enjoyed the waiter so much. He was very personable and charming, and as I said before, easy on the eyes.

After we had chatted and journaled and people watched for awhile, we finally decided to have dinner. Our original plan for our last night was to take an evening gondola ride and then dine at Ristorante Riviera. The gondola ride wasn't that big of a deal since we had previously renewed our wedding vows on a gondola on our last trip. We figured that any other ride might be kind of a letdown after that. However, we didn't make absolute plans for either since we tend to like to go with the flow and not have appointments to meet when we are on vacation. It was getting late and we really didn't feel like traipsing all the way back to Dorsuduro for dinner when we had to be up at 4:00 a.m. for our water taxi the next day. So, we walked around Cannaregio looking at various menus and checking out different places for dinner. Each one was either too crowded, had no outdoor seating (which we prefer), or the menu didn't appeal to us. We did finally stop at one place just past Ponte Guglie and had an appetizer of really spicy mussels that were very good, as well as a proscuiutto platter. However, it was quite crowded and the service was so slow that we opted not to have dinner there. We said to one another, "We HAVE had a couple of really good meals at Ristorante Serenissima." It was settled, we would have our last meal at the ristorante that we'd enjoyed the most on our trip and where we by now knew the owner and servers well. On top of that, we would be close to home in order to get in at a decent hour with having to get up so early the next day.

When we got there we were surprised to see the place packed with locals since it was a Saturday night. We did, however, find a quiet little table outside, away from everyone else and indulged in some of our favorite dishes once again. Cuttlefish in ink over spaghetti (which can make one look like they are preparing for Halloween when eating if one is not careful), gnocchi formaggio, calf's liver with onions and polenta, salmon, swordfish baked in wine, potatoes, profiteroles, and wine for a grand total of 100 euro. Everything was fabulous and when we told the owner that it was our last night in Venice, he reminded us about the time change that night for our flight home the following day. I had remembered this before our trip, but by now had forgotten about it with being so relaxed over the past week. Since we had no clock or alarm in our apartment, we had planned to use the cell phone alarm to wake us, but also wanted my sister to call us as a back-up. She was in the US and at 9 p.m. her time it would be 4 a.m. our time. However, we now had the dilemma of "what time does she call us if WE have fallen back on the clock before she does?" This was quite funny to try and figure out after a few vinos and an after dinner limoncello. So, after we returned to the apartment, we ultimately figured out what time she should call us in order to wake us up at 4 a.m. OUR time and let her know of such. Once our final packing was done and we had everything ready to go, it was time to hit the hay since we had to be up in less than five hours.

Next - "Is it ALREADY Time to Go Home?"
Statia is offline  
Old Dec 28th, 2005, 05:14 PM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,254
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello Statia,
This is so lovely to read. You paint a beautiful picture of this wonderful city. Thanks for the great detail. I have enjoyed every word!
kopp is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2005, 02:55 AM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,774
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Statia, I'm tagging the thread so that I can enjoy it when I have more time!
marigross is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2005, 10:32 AM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,288
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh, great! Now I HAVE to go back to Venice after reading your report.

Wonderful narrative, but I really can't wait to hear how Mom reacts to her dream trip coming true!
HappyCheesehead is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2005, 10:42 AM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,989
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wonderful report Statia! It seems to be impossible to not fall in love with Venice, doesn't it! The longer you're there, the more of a spell it casts.
swalter518 is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2006, 09:27 AM
  #39  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,114
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the further nice comments.

"Is it ALREADY Time to Go Home?"

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Our cell phone alarm worked like a charm and we also received my sister's back-up call at 4:15 a.m. She was all costumed up and prepared to go to a Halloween party when she suddenly became deathly ill and I felt so bad for her and worried about her while traveling all day. Turns out it was food poisoning that took her almost two days to get over. While I was doing our final run through of the apartment, stripping the bed, putting all linens together to be washed, and taking care of the trash, DH hauled our now VERY HEAVY suitcases down four flights of stairs for our departure. We were in front of Chiesa San Marcuola at 5 a.m. for our appointed water taxi and didn't have to wait too long, but did enjoy watching the night owls leaving the casino as we stood on the dock. When the water taxi arrived, the driver was very gracious in assisting with our luggage and then he headed towards the train station. DH and I were trying to figure out where he was going once he passed Canale di Cannaregio, since we knew that was the canal we would have to take towards the airport. Once we were past the train station, the driver finally leaned into the cabin and told us that due to the heavy fog, he was unable to take us to the airport via the laguna. So, he was taking us to Piazzale Roma and would find us a ride there.

When we arrived at Piazzale Roma, we saw a couple of other water taxis in our same predicament. Our driver docked the boat and told us to wait while he tried to find a cab for us since the buses were not running at that early hour. He finally returned about ten minutes later, helped us off of the boat, grabbed our bags and rolled them to a waiting delivery type of truck with only a small cab for the three of us for to sit in. Not that we minded, just as long as we got to the airport on time. We were quite surprised that it was going to cost a bit more going this route and we weren't told about it ahead of time. We had agreed to 90 euro for the water taxi to the airport, yet when we arrived at Piazzale Roma, a mere four stops and less than 15 minutes from our apartment, the price was still 60 euro for the water taxi, and then the truck driver wanted another 60 euro for the fifteen minute drive to the airport...a total of 120 euro, when it would have been 90 euro by water taxi all the way to the airport. Both gentlemen were very nice and helpful, but this seemed like a bit of price gouging to us. Just our opinion.

When we finally arrived the airport, the line wasn't too terribly long to check-in with Air France, but it still took some time. When we finally got to the counter, the agent weighed our carry-on bags and said that one of them was too heavy and had to be checked on. I had olive oil, wine, grappa, limoncello, various souvenirs and food items, as well as murano glass in it, so I knew it was quite heavy, but I was now concerened about those items getting broken if I checked them on, even though I had packed them very well. So, I managed to open the bag and pull out a few of the breakables to put in my day bag, but still had a lot left in there when I checked it. We have had problems with lost luggage with Air France so I was none too happy about having to turn my belongings over, but did so anyhow.

Once checked in, we proceeded to the security check point which made Miami International look like a cake walk. I don't recall such a mess when we returned from Venice the last time. There were less than 50 people ahead of us and it took us over an hour to get through the security line. As we stood there moving very little every fifteen minutes, other people would come rushing behind, in a panic, stating in various languages that their flight is boarding and insisting on cutting in front of everyone else. We didn't mind letting some people who were running late in ahead of us, but eventually we had to put a stop to it because we were getting nowhere and would soon miss our own flight. There were a handful of Italian people behind us that finally linked arms and would no longer let anyone through. Thank goodness they put their foot (or feet) down so that we didn't have to, but I honestly thought at one point that a literal fist fight was going to break out right there immediately behind us. They were arguing and yelling in Italian at anyone else who tried to cut in line. I've honestly never seen anything like it at an airport security point. When we finally got up to the front of the line ourselves, I have to add that the security personnel were about as friendly as the immigration folks in St. Maarten, and trust me....that's not saying a lot. I guess they were just very disorganized, but we finally got through and ran for our gate, ending up being nearly the last to board.

Our flight departed on time at about 7:30 a.m. and we arrived Paris in time for our short connection. We then took a shuttle from the tarmac to our terminal, had to change terminals to go thru security again, and then walk to another terminal. When boarding commenced, we then had to go outside, walk downstairs and board yet another shuttle bus to our connecting aircraft. This is the craziness that I referred to in the beginning of my report. Charles de Gaulle isn't all that confusing to us, but it certainly seems it could be better organized and not require so much manuevering with connections. The funny thing is that when we were on the shuttle bus, we realized that a senator in our local government from St. Maarten was standing right in front of us talking to another St. Maarten resident. Little did he know that we were from the sister island of St. Eustatius and could hear everything he was discussing about the government of both islands while we were all so far away from home. I guess it goes to show that we should all be careful of what we say in public, even when we think we are so far from home that no one around us knows what we are talking about. Another story in that same manner is that a seat-mate close to us on the flight over to Italy used to date a girl that DH and I both know here on our island. She actually works with my DH and I talk to her on the phone for business often. It's certainly a small world.

We had a pleasant and smooth return flight to St. Maarten and arrived about 2 p.m. Unfortunately, we had just missed the afternoon flight to our island, so we had to sit around and wait for another five hours to travel the last 15 minutes home. So close, yet so far away. Once we checked in with WinAir, we went over to visit our Indian friend at his restaurant again and being a fan of Venice himself, he wanted to hear all about our trip, as well as update us on what went on in the islands while we were away. When we finally returned to the airport, our flight was running late and we had to wait another hour before finally boarding for our last flight home.

My best friend had our car at the airport, our dogs back home, and even had some wine, cheese, and other goodies in our fridge since she knew we would be tired and possibly not feel up to going out for any dinner (not to mention the distinct possiblity that our local flight home might be really, really late, as if often the case, and we'd have no option whatsoever as far as dining out). She was right, by the time we got home we were tired, the restaurants were closed. and we much enjoyed her genourosity. To my surprise I still stayed up until midnight unpacking and getting everything put away while DH opted to go to bed. And, believe it or not, all my olive oil, wine, limoncello, grappa, and Murano glass arrived safe and in one piece. Whew.

Now that I have "winged it" in Italy, I find that I still prefer to have some sort of itinerary to go by. So, in planning my mother's birthday trip to Rome in March, I will definitely have a "plan" for each day, whether we follow it or not it will be something to go by, especially since I will be showing both my mother and my sister bella Italia.....one of the most beautiful and charming countries in the world.

THE END
Statia is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2006, 12:55 PM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,467
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks so much for a wonderful read Statia. I "winged it" for over a month in 2002 after graduating from graduate school. I have found that I much prefer a plan. While I did have some wonderful experiences on that trip that I might not have had with a strict itinerary, I found that I missed a lot of things I would have liked to have seen. Live and learn I guess
Thanks again for posting
TexasAggie is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:20 PM.