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Finally...our 19 day glorious October 2007 (very long detailed) trip report to Italy!

Finally...our 19 day glorious October 2007 (very long detailed) trip report to Italy!

Old Mar 17th, 2008, 04:11 AM
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adventureseeker, It sounds like you had a great itinerary! We've visited Rome twice, so the next time we visit Italy, this is sort of the itinerary I'm thinking about. Thanks for your report!
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 04:54 AM
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We were in Venice for a week in November and one of my favorites was the Rialto market too. I have so many photos of the fruits and vegetables and fish, some friends think I'm a little nuts.
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 05:07 AM
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What a great trip report!!! Thanks for posting...need it to balance the negative blurbs.
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 05:24 AM
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Wonderful report. Terrific format. Great detail. This will become a classic.

For your "To do" list for your next visit, if you haven't already done it, add having a drink on the floating dock at the Europa Regina hotel with views back across the Grand Canal to the Santa Maria Della Salute. fantastic and well worth the price.
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 05:37 AM
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I too was thinking of taking a water taxi to LO. Coming in through their cute little door sounded like the perfect way to arrive. Did you speak to anyone who did that? Do you regret not doing it? Thanks!
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 06:39 AM
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Grazie to all...

bfrac,
You and I probably have the same photos: globes of eggplant, crates of tomatoes, baskets of hazelnuts. I haven't gotten to it yet, but on morning #2....we did it all again. Were we nuts, yes, probably but had the time of our lives.

Here's our photo gallery...
the food and drink report:http://flickr.com/photos/debandstan/...7603706202008/

Samsaf,
we often wonder if the magic will still be the same the 2nd and 3rd time around. We think so since we won't be rushing off trying to "check musts" off the list. We'd have to time to really savor in areas and on activities we loved on trips past. You'll find though that the rest of the trip is more busy than day #1....no plan!

gregeva1,
We try to be optimistic travelers and roll with the punches. Truthfully, it was in the cards that everything (so far, anyway) was working out perfectly. As the report continues, there will be a blip here or there. We always try to look at the positives...most of the time, anyway. We're under Venice's spell...it's just Day #2.

JulieV,
Grazie for your kind words. I have found that the detail trip reports I've read with lots of "how this made me feel", "what I'd do next time", etc. were the ones that gave me most help in planning my trip. So...it's my turn to give back to the traveling community. I often think it's way too much information, but that's how I roll! We'll definitly add the Europa to our (still ever growing) list of what to do next trip.

BarbaraS,
No regrets on the Water Taxi. I did make the Alilaguna a bit more dramatic than it was (ie. the putt-putt, etc.), however...it would've been a very cool entrance to step right into that window, especially on a first visit to Venice. Again, I wasn't feeling to make the splurge.

Ciao for now.....
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 07:23 AM
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Oh yes, and the peppers, Treviso radicchio, scallops...! We must have the same traveling souls. You are off to my other favorite island soon. We've been home 3 weeks and I miss it.
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 07:32 AM
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bfrac,

What islands are you traveling to?

I recognize your screen name from the Hawaii board. You've given me excellent advice on our upcoming trip to the Big Island...less than 2 weeks and counting. Pray for lava!

And yes, our BI trip will be more of the same: adventure, great delicacy and local drinks (esp. those strong Mai Tais that taste nothing like they do in the islands)!

Ciao for now.....
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 07:51 AM
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Just the BI for this year. I will keep hoping for lava for you (and whales). We missed it this time but saw it 2 years ago flowing into the ocean. I'm hoping to go back to Italy this fall but so far nothing is definite.

The magic of Venice is just as real the second time if not more so. We went back for a second trip to stay a week and get it out of our system, but it now has a deeper hold on us.

I can't wait to read more of your report. Your photos are great, I'm remembering and salivating.
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 08:36 AM
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adventureseeker,
Loving your report--like many others, reading of all these places takes me back to the wonderful days we've spent there......and there is still so much we haven't seen. Your pictures were great. Two months from today we'll be back in Venice and with any luck, will come across some of the scenes you captured. Keep it up!
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 08:51 AM
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Terrific report---love the format---easy to read.
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 09:37 AM
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Usually I find myself fading as I try to read these long reports, but yours is keeping me spellbound. Maybe because we leave in less than 3 weeks for our Italy trip - also landing in Venice and staying at LO. I am making notes, all the while acknowledging that my DH and I will not be rising so early! For those of us who are trying to come up with a meal budget, could you give some idea of the cost of your meals? The Delta flight out of JFK to Venice had the seatback tv systems? That is much better than I expected - I hope our flight has that as well. And finally - at LO, you were able to get into your room that early in the day? Also something I am hoping for.

Looking forward to your continuing report.
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 10:04 AM
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Loving your report. Looking forward to more!

Reading your report brings back such wonderful memories of Venice - I can't wait to go back!
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 10:24 AM
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Thank you all for your kind comments. It's been a fun project poring through my scribbled notes and journals reliving our trip.

I appreciate the captive audience who is getting something out of it all (we've stopped boring our friends/family with details a very long time ago).

I'm green with envy that many of you will be in Venice soon.

Buon Viaggio!
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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Thanks for answering my question. It will definitely help me during this planning process.

I adore all the details and time you are putting into this report. Do continue!
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 10:33 AM
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butnotrmpt,

Simple meals at <b>basic trattorias</b> in Venice run something like this:

Pizza 5E, Salad Mista 4E, bottled water 3E (most times more costly than vino), Pasta (no seafood) 6E. House Vino runs 3E for a 1/2 carafe. Generally we'd share all that: meal for 2...21E

You can get it for more or less than these prices. Average <i>coperto</i> (service charge for bread/table service INSTEAD of a tip) approx. 2E per person.

For great inexpensive meals I'd opt for an overstuffed panini (4E) at a deli with a glass of Prosecco (4E).

LO will do whatever to accommodate early arrivals. We arrived at the inn at 1ish and they had our room available. If not, they'll gladly store your luggage.

Enjoy...
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 10:50 AM
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Enjoying your report, adventureseeker. I can see you put a lot of time and effort into it, and it's reminding me much of my and DH's first trip to Venice to renew our vows for our 10th wedding anniversary. Looking forward to more!
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 11:02 AM
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adventureseeker,

I remember all your planning!

Thanks for the great report, so far. You are really bringing back lots of great memories.

Grazie
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 12:05 PM
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Hi adventureseeker, we are doing almost the same trip you did, but in reverse order. We aren't going to Tuscany as we stayed in Castellina in Chianti in 2006. This time we are squeezing in a very quick visit to Sorrento so that we can go to Pompeii.
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Old Mar 17th, 2008, 12:08 PM
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<b>VENICE-PART 4

DAY 2 (October 12, Friday) continued

Let's get busy.....

<u>HOW WE CONQUERED JET LAG</u></b>
I should point out now how we dealt (or didn’t) with Jet Lag. We had hardly any sleep for 2 nights and a time change which was 9 hours ahead. Travelers on this board mention time and time again about how crucial it is to immediately get onto your destination’s clock. This method really worked for us. We went to bed at the local time that we would back home, got up at the same time, etc. But, we allowed ourselves a catnap on Day #2 before dinner.

<b>Back to Venezia…..

<u>LO</u></b>
We’re done with breakfast (I promised not to go on and on about LO’s breakfast, but will say that it was hands down the BEST breakfasts of our entire 19 day stay in Italy) and had some great conversation/connections with some guests at LO. A pair of women (one from Florida and one from Boston) who were going on a cruise the next day we clicked with immediately. I think that is the beauty of travel…meeting wonderful people from all over. They asked us about restaurants and we told them that tonight was the night we were dining at Vini da Gigio. We first heard of Vini from posters on Fodor’s. LO made reservations for us here way in advance. LO’s Barbara mentioned this was one of her fave places since they serve traditional Venetian flair. I was sold after viewing their website. It looked like a place we’d enjoy: excellent food, energy, ambiance, locals, etc. We invited our new friends to join us….so they said “yes”. LO happily changed our reservation to 4 persons.

We had to get moving since we had a reservation at St. Mark’s Basilica at 10:25. We weren’t thrilled about it. Remember that we only loved SM during the wee morning or late evening. So, we skipped it. I figured we could see it on our next trip. We wanted to keep St. Mark’s in our good graces and our love affair with Venice was continuing to grow, so we’d do nothing to jeopardize that. Note: we made advance (and free) reservations through the Basilica website http://www.basilicasanmarco.it/&quot;&gt;htt...casanmarco.it/. I tried to do it a couple times and was frustrated that it wasn’t working properly. Third time was a charm for me. So, if you have problems, try again. It will work (eventually).

After getting cleaned up, we came downstairs. This time we were greeted by LO’s GiGi. He, too was another LO clone….perfect service, smile, warmth, etc. This place is a gem (oops sorry, I’ll get off my LO soapbox).


<b><u>PLAN B</u></b>
DH’s choice: Museo Navale Storico (Naval Museum). Our 7 yr old son loves anything with wings or wheels, so we were making a visit in his honor (and my “older” son….DH). It is only open M-F, so today was the only day for us to see it. We had to walk through St. Mark’s Square. Aargh! As we walked through the crowds waiting in line, standing in the square and taking photos with pigeons, we were pleased that we nixed the Basilica tour this morning. The Basilica is one “must” we wish we’d done, but we’ll be sure to do it next time.

We continued down the busy main promenade towards the museum. We enjoyed watching the construction going on (replacing the pilings in the canal and the replacement of the stones in the walkway) and the gondolas bobbing. We made a mental note of sometime checking out the famed Hotel Danieli which we passed. The crowds thinned out as we got closer to the museum. The museum itself was quite interesting (and I’m a gal!). We spent just over an hour there. It displayed a very impressive collection of naval and maritime artifacts. I especially liked the gondola display and Peggy Guggenheim’s personal gondola.

Time for a gelato break. Me: Vanilla and Choco Chip (yes, I know…boring, but classic! …and delizioso), DH: Limone

<b><u>LA FENICE TOUR</u></b>
LO set us up for a 1pm audio tour. We are fans of Italian Opera and would’ve loved to see a performance here, but there were no shows during our stay. The audio program was long (and boring). I would have much rather had a live tour, but those are limited. We were graced with a soprano audition during our tour. That was worth it. A few robust Italian men belted out arias.

Time for a bite….Another simple lunch at a small caf&eacute;’. Nothing overly special (but then again, we're in Italy): gnocchi pomodoro, mista salad and Valpolicella. We were saving our tastebuds for tonight’s food fest at Vini da Gigio!

We meandered this area near La Fenice which was quite charming and stumbled into a few artisan boutiques nearby. We made a point to take another way back so we could get lost and make new discoveries.

One thing we noticed was how important it was to slow down the pace and look up. We’d seen gorgeous carvings, stonework, bell towers, architectural details etc. that we wouldn’t have otherwise noticed if we were just looking forward. I mentioned that I’m a photoholic. What would we do without digital? One of my favorite photos captured of DH was him looking up staring at something that caught his eye. In the photo, he has the most precious, satisfied smile on his face…priceless.

The lack of sleep is beginning to take it’s toll, so I suggest we rest up so we can enjoy our first REAL meal in Venice. Back to LO. When we arrive at LO, GiGi and Barbara are there greeting us with open arm. We’re exhausted, but manage to engage in a few conversations about what we’ve done, our dinner tonight, hiking, etc. We drag ourselves upstairs and take a much needed rest (2 hr catnap).

We meet our new dinner companions/friends downstairs. We’re excited to be wearing “real clothes” for a night on the town. Finally! Barbara gives us specific directions to Vini. It’s located in the Cannaregio district, but we’re all refreshed and up for more walking. Our reservation is at 7pm. We enjoyed visiting another new area. Time permitting, I’d love to come back another time and explore more. I recognize the restaurant from the photos on the website. It’s about 6:45 and no one is around. I had raved to our new friends about how this was “the place”, etc. Not a soul was around. A few moments later another couple walks up. They go on and on about how they dined here last night and had to come back tonight. Within a few more minutes, people come out of the woodwork. The owner opens the door and we all pile in. We’re in for a treat!

<b>Next...Dinner at Vini da Gigio



</b>
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