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Just when I thought I had Venice figured out!

Just when I thought I had Venice figured out!

Sep 21st, 2012, 04:38 AM
  #1  
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Just when I thought I had Venice figured out!

On September 2 we flew into Venice -- coming from JFK with a change at Heathrow. I had read that the big Regatta would be taking place on the Grand Canal that afternoon so contacted our hotel, Locanda Orseola, regarding if that would be an issue on our arrival at about 1 PM. I received a great lengthy response, saying that NO, the Regatta would not affect transportation by boat from the airport to San Marco, which is a fairly short and quite easy walk to our hotel (with only one very small bridge. The letter explained water taxis and the Alilaguna, as well as alternative methods, which I was already pretty familiar with. We opted to just take the Alilaguna rather than a water taxi direct to our hotel.

So we arrived, just a little early and by just after 1 we had walked all the way out to the boats by the airport. I had 90 euros in my pocket from our last trip and felt that was fine, since the Alilaguna is much less than that, and I could even use a credit card anyway. But when we got to the booth for the Alilaguna tickets, they told us there were not running -- they had just stopped because of the Regatta. The hotel was WRONG! No problem, we'll just take a water taxi instead -- and went to the company that our hotel had recommended. But only one problem. The fare is 110 euros and is cash only.

So Peter sat while I went all the way back to the terminal to seek out an ATM. I have a brand new Capital One ATM card linked to my checking account, so was shocked when the very first ATM gave me a message "this card is not authorized for international withdrawals". Huh? Clearly I had discussed that with Capital One. In fact it was the WHOLE reason I had opened that account and gotten an ATM card for one. I sought out another ATM and it was the same bank and again gave me the same message. I would have called Capital One collect on the spot -- except my phone was in my bag with Peter on the docks. I have a BofA ATM card as well, but it was also in that bag! I stepped into a little shop and asked about other ATMs. The girl said there was one right outside their door and when I mentioned that it wouldn't work for my international withdrawal, she said, "oh yes, that happens to a lot of Americans." She directed me to another ATM sort of hidden away upstairs. Yes, it worked fine. And for the record -- so did the 5 other ATMs I used in Italy and Spain over the next two weeks.

So, back to the docks, got the water taxi and we were on our way to the hotel. I've never taken a water taxi before in Venice (this was my sixth trip there) and I must admit it's a nice extravagance. We especially loved pulling up on the tiny canal to the back of our hotel and ducking our heads to enter through a small door into the lobby!

When we mentioned our problem regarding the Alilaguna, the clerk was upset. He even pulled out the letter sent by ACT that explained the Alilaguna from the airport to San Marcos would NOT be affected by the Regatta! So much for that!

But suddenly I had a new respect for those who mentioned they are uncomfortable relying on ATM machines for cash on their arrival to a European city, even though it all worked out fine in the end.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Sep 21st, 2012, 05:55 AM
  #2  
 
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Thanks for the ATM info in Venice.

I had a problem with the ATM machine in the Krakow train station. I had no Zloty on hand upon arrival and needed some cash for the taxi. I used my credit card which many people say not to do but I needed the cash. For the small amount I requested I paid 60 cents interest which would have been less if I had remembered to pay back the cash withdrawal immediately. Sometimes it's worth using a credit card for the small amount of money charged.

I find things usually do work out.

Hope you had a great time in Venice!
adrienne is offline  
Sep 21st, 2012, 09:10 AM
  #3  
 
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You will never figure out Venice! Never! Venice is a time-portal to the past
foodor is offline  
Sep 21st, 2012, 09:14 AM
  #4  
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True, and if anyone says "I never get lost in Venice. I know my way around that city", then I feel sorry for them. Getting lost in Venice is a big part of what it's all about!
NeoPatrick is offline  
Sep 21st, 2012, 09:19 AM
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We had a similar experience with our WF ATM card this summer after we had given them our complete itinerary too. Glad it all worked out. We love meandering through Venice, getting lost and finding surprises along the way.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Sep 21st, 2012, 09:28 AM
  #6  
 
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If you're not lost in Venice, you're doing something wrong!
StCirq is online now  
Sep 21st, 2012, 02:16 PM
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"But suddenly I had a new respect for those who mentioned they are uncomfortable relying on ATM machines for cash on their arrival to a European city, even though it all worked out fine in the end." - yep

And per StCirq we've done something right - and maybe more than once
Dayenu is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2012, 02:11 AM
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glad everything worked out Neo; Love love love Venice; been there 3x. Are you going to do a trip report?
Rhea58 is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2012, 03:54 AM
  #9  
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Thanks, Rhea. Sigh. I guess I'd better get busy, huh?
NeoPatrick is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2012, 07:05 AM
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Yes, Patrick, get busy! We want to hear all about it. Where else did you go this trip?
Holly_uncasdewar is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2012, 02:11 PM
  #11  
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3 nights Venice, 7 nights Siena, 1 night on Lake Bracciano, and 3 nights in Madrid.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2012, 03:53 PM
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What? You went to 4 destinations and 2 separate countries and went to a hotel where you only spent 1 night?

Naughty, naughty.
pizzocchieri is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2012, 04:31 PM
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We needed to spend a night before catching our plane in Rome to fly to Madrid. Forgive me please, oh great Pizzocchieri, the master of all travel, but it was a logical and wonderful thing to do, even if it's not the way YOU travel, and I'm sure you are the MASTER. Geez, what a pain in the a__!
NeoPatrick is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2012, 05:36 PM
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I have never, ever traveled to Europe without a few hundred euros in my pocked.
What is the advantage of not having money at your destination?
danon is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2012, 07:35 PM
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"I have never, ever traveled to Europe without a few hundred euros in my pocked. What is the advantage of not having money at your destination?"

I have never, ever traveled to Europe with a few hundred euros in my pocket. I often have a few £/€ left over from previous trips. But usually not more than $30-$40 worth.

"What is the advantage of not having money at your destination" The main 'advantage' is that buying currency ahead of time is expensive. Probably 99% of the time there are no problems - I personally don't plan for the 1% or 2% snafu possibility.
janisj is online now  
Sep 22nd, 2012, 08:25 PM
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"Buying currency ahead of time is expensive".
not where I live
It was alway more expensive getting if from the ATM if I needed additional funds.
danon is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2012, 08:37 PM
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< It was alway more expensive getting if from the ATM if I needed additional funds. >>

What? Can you explain? Where the heck do you live?
StCirq is online now  
Sep 22nd, 2012, 09:00 PM
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I buy euros from one of the several big foreign exchange companies in my (Canadian) city....not from a bank.
There is no commission .The FE companies are rather competitive.They will give you a better rate
if purchasing a large sum.

Even if there was an advantage in buying euros in Europe, I would rather spend a 20-30?dollars
more
and be ready to continue my trip after landing in Europe instead of looking around the airport for an ATM
tired and jet lagged.
After all, a trip usually costs several thousand dollars ...why not be worry free from the start.
But, a chacun son goût
danon is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2012, 09:26 PM
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p.s.
Regardless of where the transaction takes place one is not exchanging currencies but rather selling their county's currency and buying , in this case, euros.
I would be curious to know how much money can be saved buy purchasing-let's say 300 euros -
at the Amsterdam or Rome airport instead of in London or Boston.
danon is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2012, 03:59 AM
  #20  
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danon, perhaps you missed the part where I said I had 90 euros in my pocket when I landed. Under most circumstances that would be more than enough cash to last my first couple days! (It has been for me in many, many past trips.) The only reason I had to use an ATM on arrival was due to the unannounced closure of the public transportation -- something I had even checked out in advance. My point was that sometimes the best laid plans. . .

And while you act like looking for an ATM on arrival is a bad thing, you seem intrigued by wandering around airports in various cities checking out where you can get the best rate -- not my idea of a good time, either. I'm still confused where you think in an airport you can "buy" currency at a better rate than getting it from an ATM. Like others I'm skeptical that you can "buy" euros generally cheaper than getting them from an ATM -- particularly if you have a no fee ATM card.
NeoPatrick is offline  

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