Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Hanabillies head to the Serenissima and beyond
Notices

Hanabillies head to the Serenissima and beyond

Reply

Oct 9th, 2012, 08:26 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 307
Hanabillies head to the Serenissima and beyond

Finally it's here! Months of planning and years in anticipating...the day is here! Right now we're in London, and will be flying off and landing in Venice around 1:00 today!

When I say I have dreamed of Venice, I don't mean i saw a travel poster and sighed, thinking "someday I'd love to go to Venice..." No. I mean in my sleep, deep into REM, recurring dreams of an enchanted place where the streets are water, and people are transported through those streets, eye-level to fabulous buildings, not at water's edge, but right in the water. It never occurred to me that this was an actual place, thinking rather it was someplace i had created to escape to in my dreams, where I felt connected to all of time, right there in those streets of water. It wasn't until oh, maybe 15 years ago when I described those dreams to a friend and she immediately exclaimed, "Venice!' did I realize i dreamed of place that actually existed. Naturally, over the years my obsession grew, knowing I would be there one day (and wondering, had i been there before?)

So, when I say that day is here, you can't imagine the butterflies.

So, the trip coming up: We'll be six nights in Venice, four in Bologna, followed by a week at an agriturismo in Umbria. Ii will try to keep my report short enough to be readable in one lifetime, but please forgive me if I wax on a little. I owe heaps of gratitude to many here who have contributed to my planning (and stoked the dream machine a little too, i dare say.) It was Sr. Franco who suggested the Ca Sagredo, and when I noted that it was beyond our budget, Jamierin advised that I check Luxury Link and lo! We're in at about half price - still a splurge for us, but doable. Thanks also to Peter, ellenem, john123, and all the fabulous trip reports. The information adds so much to the planning,and I hope i can pipe in a little that will help the next Venice newbie.

I'll be back.
hanabilly is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2012, 05:33 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,057
Glad to haved helped with your planning and ready to ride along on your journey!
ellenem is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2012, 09:01 AM
  #3
ekc
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,645
Wax on as much as you would like - looking forward to hearing about the trip!
ekc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2012, 10:09 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 344
I love love love Venice, and am excited to read your trip report...I only hope it lives up to your dreams!
Sidny is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2012, 03:12 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 1,690
I may not have had the dreams but I am so excited to get to go to one of the places I have always imagined. I cannot believe I am going in June of 2013! Please write and describe ALL you want and know that many of us will be reading. I can't wait!
willowjane is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2012, 03:51 PM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 307
Well, I know now I will not have the vocabulary to describe all of this. I should have brushed up on my superlatives. We arrived on schedule today around 1:00. A little disappointed to see the rain had not cleared as predicted. But hey - if you're going to be rained on a little - why not in Venice?

Sidny- no worries on this living up to my dreams! I have poured over pictures and videos ad infinitum, but nothing can match that first glimpse of the palazzos on your first ride down the canal. One thing pictures cannot do justice to are the textures. The grill work, the aging brick - oh, man - I wanted to touch it- run my hands across it...

After arrival and claiming bags, we picked up a water taxi to the hotel. I know this was probably a splurge we didn't need to make, but I so much wanted that drive through the lagoon, "top down" so to speak. (The boat's, not mine!) The rain detracted a little, but it sure was fast and painless... and what fun to step up out of the boat, greeted by the very kind and helpful staff member (in this case, Steven.) After check-in he gave a brief tour of the hotel common areas, and this is where I first found myself stumped for any adequate superlatives. I mean, how often can you respond with "Wow" and leave the impression you've done anything past ninth grade? Let me just say this: While we're not seasoned world travelers by any means, we have had the good fortune of taking a couple trips to Europe prior to this one. I have read what I could, and even taken the virtual tour from the hotel's website. Sneaked in a peak at the webcam from my desk at work whenever I could. Still, with all that, stepping through the doors of the piano nobile, with its frescos, terrazzo floors and glass chandeliers, it's pretty hard not to come off like Jethro and Ellie Mae the first time they laid eyes on the cee-ment pond! But that's me, and I've learned to embrace it

The hours of flight yesterday along with the time change were catching up to us. I had hoped to head out walking, and maybe in sunshine we would have, but the weather made it easy to choose a little nap instead. That turned out to be just what we needed, and when we woke maybe a couple hours later to the sound of a siren heading up the canal, the rain had cleared. Church bells were sounding 6:00 as we stepped outside, and I think that's when it hit me - I'm here! Just in time for us to walk next door and pick up the vaporetto (I had purchase passes online, and we printed out the tickets at the airport while waiting for baggage.)

Just before dusk we grabbed #1 and headed in the direction of St. Marks. We were enjoying our seats in the open back of the bus, taking pictures with the last available light and sharing the experience with a fellow traveler equally enthralled-a young lady from perhaps an Eastern European country-and trading the picture-taking favors of her with one back drop, and us with the next. So immersed, we missed our stop by one or two stops, and ended up walking back to St. Mark's - I think from Giardino.

We stopped for a drink at Harry's bar - hoping to see some literary ghosts. We saw none, but enjoyed our drinks and the people-watching show. Nothing had really started yet in St. Marks, and it seemed a little chilly to enjoy outdoor drinks, so we headed back to our own neighborhood.

We enjoyed a very nice dinner at Vini da Gigio, just a block or so from our hotel. Nothing over the top fantastic, but everything very good, and a perfect welcome dinner. We shared the "specialties of Venice" antipasta. My dear one had the spaghetti con seppie. I passed on the primo, knowing I would sneak a few bites of the seppie. I chose the fegato (yum!) and knowing how much he likes fish and chips, I suggested the frito misto for DH. He said this was fish n chips to the 10th power.

Whew, what a day. Let's see what this magical place holds for us tomorrow. Buona notte.
hanabilly is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2012, 06:51 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,955
Venice is so gorgeous, isn't it? It's the first "real" European city I ever went to and it did not disappoint. I loved sitting at the cafes on San Marco square (even with all the pigeons).

I would love to go back with my husband, who has not been there. And, I am such a better, smarter traveler thanks to the forum!

Can't wait to read more!
denisea is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2012, 08:15 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,995
Hanabilly: anxious to hear more of your "newbie" trip to Venice. Your writing is very colorful, and I for one will read your report happily. It will be fun to see it through your eyes.
taconictraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 11th, 2012, 12:45 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 2,056
Please keep up with the details, it is so enjoyable to hear about a first time trip by someone who APPRECIATES it.
tarquin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 11th, 2012, 09:37 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 741
I second Tarquin.
Delaine is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 12th, 2012, 11:33 AM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 307
Okay,I'm back again. We had a couple busy days (big surprise) and now I have some time as we relax and rest our feet before dinner. Speaking of resting the feet - let me back up a little and give you just a little of the back story. You already know that I've long dreamed of Venice. I booked this trip when I was off work immobilized for 3 months after foot surgery. See what too much idle time does? So, now I'm about 7.5 months after surgery, and I had hoped I'd be further along in the recovery...gurrr. I am walking, but still have some discomfort and weakness. Plus, the other foot is hurting from compensating, and the opposite knee as well. So, I've got two bad wheels and a bum knee...what would that be in the automotive analogy? I tell you that not to squeeze out any pity from you (though I would't be above that) but to help set the scene a little - explain why we take a 40 min. vaporetto ride for what might have been a 15 min. walk, and also why it might take us longer to get where we're going, and run out of gas a little sooner.

I had a daily schedule of things I wanted to do, planned (I thought) for the optimal day of our visit. But with heavy rain forecast later in the week, I decided to try to do more of the "outside" things earlier on, and save museums for the rainy days. Plus, my husband has a cousin who was stationed in Aviano, and married and stayed here after he was out of the service. We got in touch with him, and we will be training up to Pordenone tomorrow to spend the day with him and his wife. Never pass up a local tour guide!

Yesterday after very nice breakfast at the hotel, we headed up to Fondemente Nove, planning to catch a vaporetto to St. Pietro. I don't know if we were at the wrong place or if we just didn't wait long enough, but nothing for that route showed up. So on to plan B. We had a beatiful and leisurely stroll through that part of Cannaregio. Stepped into Gesuiti after trying to capture its exterior in pictures - very tricky. Thanks to your trip reports I kept an eye our for the "curtains". Unable to take interior photos, I was wishing I could record what I was seeing in my brain - so beautiful! I loved walking through this neighborhood, with young moms with strollers, women with their little grocery carts. Service workers picking up trash with hand carts. "Attenzione! Attenzione!" as the young man cleared a path for his FULL cartload of bottled water at full speed. YIKES!

We made it back to Ca d'Oro, and headed by vaporetto towards St. Mark's. We'll go inside later in the week, but just spent a little time taking outside pictures, and trying not to be trapped amongst the group tours. I had made lunch reservations at Il Ridotto for 1:30. At about 12:30 we decided to head in that direction, thinking it would take awhile to find. I knew the general direction and area, but realized I hadn't brought the address, or even that name of the campo with me. Just as DH was starting to type the name into his Nexxus, I looked up from where we were standing and said, "Look, there it is!" We were about 12 feet from it! The most amazing places might be hiding behind a very non-descript store front. We had a very long, relaxing and delicious lunch. We each had an antipasto, and risotto (as two persons are minimum order.) The risotto was just beautiful. Zucchini, basil, & scallop coral. Do we even have scallop coral? I wanted to order risotto as much as I can while I'm here, as I've never mastered it, and hope to learn by osmosis. Well, clearly I've been doing it all wrong...but I'll study as much as I can this week!
hanabilly is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 13th, 2012, 12:58 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 2
Ack! I can't believe you are FINALLY there. I am living vicariously through you right now. No pressure. If anyone can appreciate and do justice to Venice in words it is you.
florez is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 13th, 2012, 01:10 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 11,448
Your report reminds me of my former attitude toward Venice. I lived in Germany on a U.S. Army base and I traveled a lot. I'd gone to Rome and Florence but never to Venice. I thought it would be jammed with tourists and....I just had no desire to see it.

But then my sister and I began our seven years of yearly travel, and she wanted to go to Venice. When I stepped out on St. Mark's Square, I was stunned! It was so beautiful, so magical. I especially loved the view across the water to the church of San Giorgio. What a wonderful place.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 13th, 2012, 05:07 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 730
Really enjoying your enthusiastic report - I've been looking forward to reading it ever since you made those nice comments on my report about our visit to Northern Italy last May. Isn't Venice just wonderful?? Sorry about the rain but it sounds like you are enjoying it anyway. LOL about the "top down" comment. Your writing brings back all of our wonderful Venice memories. Thanks for writing it and I can't wait to read more!
john183 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 14th, 2012, 12:57 AM
  #15
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 307
Thanks for the replies, all! Boy, to anyone who can keep up with a daily trip report while here, I have new admiration for you. i am so behind, and will try to catch up a little, but will flesh out the details when I'm home.

After our wonderful lunch on Thursday, we took a vaporetto across Giudecca canal to Redentore. Again, I have no words. Well, some, but I will have to make more notes in these awe-inspiring churches where the "no photo" sign must be respected. I'm not beyond breaking the rules from time to time, but not there- I would hate to imagine the consequences. At Redentore we purchase chorus passes for E10 each. I hope we will get a chance to use them enough to pay for them, but if not, I am happy to support the upkeep of these buildings and all the art they hold. They are a gift to the world,and I am so grateful they have been preserved all this time!

From Redentore we picked up the vap to San Giorgio, and wandered around looking for the entrance to the Campanille, until we realized you have to enter through the church. It was like searching for a key in an old video game. So, we found it, and purchase the 5E elevator ride to the top. We had a short wait in line, with just 6 in the elevator at once. (Hint: there is a restroom just next to the line for the elevator.) What a view from this tower! Just incredible to look down at the canal traffic, and the ants crawling about St. Mark's. To all the photographers - this might be one place where you might be better off taking mid-day shots, as we could really only shoot to the east, with the western sun directly at us at 4:30. Morning would be a beautiful time as well.
hanabilly is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 14th, 2012, 02:21 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 307
After some time at the campanille, we descended and headed again for the vaporetto. Eager to see anything as a "good sign" we were once again delighted when the route we wanted arrived just as we did at the stop. From St. Giorgio we headed back toward Piazze le Roma, and on to our hotel. DH and I don't agree on everything, of course, but one thing we do agree on, is any trip across water is a good one, and any destination that requires arrival from across the water is worth the effort. So, this late afternoon trip along the southern side of Venice was such a treat! It was getting a little chillier, which felt good, seated out on the bow of the vaporetto. Ed - my DH- was scolded by the vaporetto pilot (the only female driver we saw) for standing in front of her window and he quickly plopped into his seat - I wish I could get that kind of response from him - that girl carried some authority!
The ride past the more modern and commercial side of of the island was interesting- how easy to forget that we are in the 21st century, with all the machinations for supporting our life style tucked away in just this area.

I had thought that this boat would take us back to Ca d'Oro, but it didn't stop at every stop - instead we got off at Rialto and made our way through the crowded maze back to Strada Nuovo. We stopped at Gelateria Ca d'Oro for a gelato, and called it dinner.

I watched the gondolieri tuck away some of their boats for the evening, and listened for awhile to the sounds of the passegiata. Too bushed to boogy anymore, I think we both konked out a little after 8:00!
hanabilly is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 14th, 2012, 02:44 PM
  #17
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 307
Friday 10/12
Even with the early nigh last night, we got a late start this morning. Is it still jet lag, or are we just getting old? It must be jet lag.

After another very nice breakfast with the most gracious servers ever (I promise to show you pictures of the breakfast room - incredible!) we head towards Fondamente Nove once again. The sun had been shining earlier, but just as we headed out, a little rain started. Almost deterred, we decided to just open the umbrellas and go for it, and so glad we did. This little bit of rain, and a few minutes of a very light drizzle is all we encountered for the day.

We took the vaporetto towards Burano, and on to Torcello, for a little respite from the crowds and also for perhaps one of the greatest thrills of our trip so far! The walk along the little canal from the vaporetto stop was so pleasant, and enhanced by one enterprising gentleman entertaining us with accordion. We didn't have any coins, and I hoped he would still be there on our return, as I really did appreciate him adding a sound track to our stroll.

Though far plainer, the church at Torcello amazes me even more than any we've visited so far. I am struck speechless, and just cannot fathom the HUNDREDS of years it has stood there. Ed said something about the history these walls hold, and I couldn't help think of the scandal and heartbreak they've seen as well. And the mosaics! We had gone into Harry's bar the other night, hoping to find some literary ghosts, but here in Torcello is where I found them. I thought of the workers - the artist's apprentices, perhaps? Painstakingly creating this wall of beauty 1/4 inch at a time. Wedged into some tiny space in the scaffolding for hours at a time - without the benefit of iboprofen! And here we are, trying to visually drink it all in, centuries later. Whoever you were, thank you.
hanabilly is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 14th, 2012, 04:30 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,955
Enjoying your perspectives...sounds like a great trip! We are all getting older aren't we....all those beautiful sights do help improve the jet lag, don't they?
denisea is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 15th, 2012, 12:02 AM
  #19
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 307
Yes, Denise, a very great trip so far and I feel so fortunate!

The weather has really been quite kind to us, and the heavy rains that were forecast have been nothing more than a drizzle or a sprinkle from time to time. Today is our fifth and last full day here, and I am feeling that sense of panic of what I still want to see and visit. The only way to calm that feeling is to know with certainty I'll be back.
hanabilly is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 15th, 2012, 04:13 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 2
You certainly made the most of your time in Venice. I'm sure your pictures will be amazing. Even though your moving on to the next part of your trip, I know Venice will never leave you!
florez is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:13 PM.