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Italy was HOT...but the Limoncellow was COLD!

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I just returned from 11 wonderful nights in Italy, 3 in Venice, 3 in Bologna and 5 in Rome. Italy is as wonderful as ever! I had never been there in July and was a little concerned about the heat (I don’t do well in very hot, humid weather) and the crowds. Much to my surprise, neither was really a problem. I work in a school now and have to take the bulk of my vacation in the summer.

As I have known for some time, I want to move to Rome. Tomorrow would be good! :-d I continue to enjoy traveling alone. You meet a lot of interesting people, and they’re more likely to really get into conversations with you when you’re by yourself. I won’t bore you with the details of getting to JFK when a major route you usually take is completely closed and, this being rural Upstate New York, you have to go WAY out of your way to get there. This is the sort of thing that happens when you travel, best to just get past it and enjoy the trip! I got there a lot later than I would have liked but made the flight just in time. At least this time I wasn’t without my luggage for the first five days!

I arrive in Venice on time and buy my 72-hour vaporetto pass (come out from getting your luggage, turn left and go past the long line at the ATVO desk on your left (where people are getting Alilaguna tickets) to get to the ACTV desk on your right, where there will be no line – no credit cards, you have to have cash). The pass covers the ACTV Orange #5 bus to Piazzale Roma, which takes around 20-25 minutes (it doesn’t cover the ATVO express blue bus, which maybe takes five minutes less) and of course then covers the vaporetto to your hotel. For those of you who have read my previous reports, you know that I have arthritis in my knees and therefore move a lot more slowly than most and want a hotel with an elevator. There’s no way to travel to Italy without doing a lot of walking and a lot of stairs, but I prefer not add more to get to my hotel room or apartment at the end of the day.

I have a short walk to my hotel, Palazza la Scala, where I had stayed last time in September 2005. Since I am a returning customer and agree to pay in cash, they give me a price of 150E per night for a double room/single use (quite a discount for this time of year). The hotel is located between the Rialto Bridge and San Marco, closer to Rialto. I don’t use the Fodors favorites because they don’t have an elevator. Also, I know a lot of people want something quiet and out of the way, but I like to be in the thick of things, so this is a perfect location as far as I’m concerned. Even though I’m pretty sure I stayed one floor higher last time, the room I have is identical. Double bed, desk/chair, small bathroom but not as small as some, small shower but again not as small as some, phone, safe. Good buffet breakfast, with ham, rolls, croissants, yogurt, fruit, juice (including blood orange), coffee, Danish, cereal.

The main thing is…I’m in Venice! I get a shower and am ready to head out. Jetlag hits me more on the way home than on the way over. I managed to sleep for probably four hours on the plane and really don’t want to take a nap anyway. I just wander around the area, soaking in the ambience of Venice. After a while, I start to sort of look for the restaurant where I have an 8:00 reservation this evening, Trattoria Sempione. I actually find it at 7:00, and even though I usually don’t eat this early, I’m hungry and decide to go in then. They’re empty at this hour, so it’s not a problem. Actually, it turns into a slight problem. The food is very good. I have the Sardine Soar (with pine nuts, which is different), the Butter-Fried John Dory Fillet, and Tomato Salad (which is literally a huge bowl of cut up tomatoes, nothing else), as well as water and 2 glasses of wine (54E). The problem is that the waiter is hovering (he doesn’t have any other customers to look after). I feel like he’s just waiting for me to finish the sardines, and in fact, that is the case. As soon as I finish the last bite and put down my fork, he is there to swoop away the plate. Now, I like good service, but I feel like I am being watched every second, so it is uncomfortable. One other thing, the 12% service is not included in the price listed on the menu, very unusual in my experience in Italy. So, good food but I am not comfortable there.

I wander a bit more after dinner and eventually go over to San Marco to see the dueling orchestras. While they were good last time, I think the quality of the music is much higher this time, especially at Florian’s. Not only do they have a flute in the group (and I play the flute, so I know how good he is), but their female violinist is amazing, the best among the three orchestras. Of course, it’s expensive, 10E for my Limoncello plus 5.80E for the cover charge, but you’re paying for the ambience, the music, the experience, being in San Marco Square in Venice on a beautiful evening…

Have to stop now, will continue tomorrow...

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