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Trip Report There are no Venetian blinds in Venice! (report and photo link)

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We flew Luftnansa with the first leg on United, stopover in Frankfurt, and on the way home in Munich. Frankfurt, on a Wednesday, looked no better than sadly famous Los Angeles airport, busy mayhem. Venice Marco Polo was easy going home – clear signs, not many people, and the security line going fast. Of course I couldn’t figure out the self-check-in kiosks, there was an employee helping others like myself. From Munich we got the new airbus. Air conditioner was not working, so we were sitting there with 33C (91F) inside, the attendants looked like glazed donuts – everybody was sweating. Once the motor started running, cold air came in, the rest of the trip was fine. Felt strange going downstairs to the lavatories on the lower level.

I tried to buy the vaporetto (water bus) passes at a discount in advance, my credit card’s code didn’t work, so for a few dollars more we got them at the airport, and what a convenience it was! Immediately we put it to good use taking the bus 5 to the hotel. Who said the vaporetto lines are easy to figure out, never traveled with me! Wrong direction – check. Wrong boarding platform – check. The electronic display is there for all lines, but line 42 stop was behind a temporary construction fence with unloading at a different platform – additional confusion. Oh, well, it was like adding spices to cooking – more fun.

It was easy to get around with English only, or to be exact, without Italian, just needed to know how to say it in Italian (or have your stop or museum name written on paper), and any older woman would point in the right direction. We loved this: take vaporetto, walk around to see the area, back to vaporetto to the next stop. So many bridges with steps avoided this way! And discoveries, like walking from Accademia through a narrow street to a plaza, then on to Zattere – yes, it’s possible to walk from stop to stop without bridges.

Tried a few Italian phrases I’ve learned before the trip. Probably my Russian accent is close to Italian as in reply to my greeting I was bombarded by an explosion of Italian language – switched to saying hello and the key word in Italian. This worked, along with (polite) hand gestures.

Hotel. The Arlecchino hotel was fairly easy to find, only had to ask once. There is one bridge from P. Roma where the airport bus stops – low wide steps, easy to manage the luggage. Many people, especially the older ladies, have shopping bags on large wheels that they just drag over the steps, not afraid the wheels will fall off!

Never thought it would be possible to find a hotel room smaller than a cruise ship cabin. The bed was rock hard, I kept thinking of people with bad backs – how they sleep on hard surfaces on doctors’ orders. The water pressure in the shower was great, meaning water on the floor after shower; there was no shower curtain of course. My husband looked into the restroom and said: look, we have 2 toilets! Yes, first meeting with the bidet :) No shampoo provided, one shower cap, 2 shower gels not replaced in 3 days. The view was nice, on one of the side canals, bridge, and what not. The room and the whole hotel were very clean.

Not all floors are accessible by lift. I saw people walking up, and even a couple carrying a stroller probably to the 1st floor (that is above the ground floor, equivalent of floor 2 in the US). The breakfast was so good, I would stay there again just for it! Breads and pastries on the tables with white table cloth, coffee in individual small white coffee pots is brought to the table, everything else is buffet style – cheese, cold cuts, eggs, cereal, fruit, yogurt, juices.

We stayed in the P. Roma area, and for us it was good – we were looking for an easy access to everything. ACTV bus 5 from the airport to the plaza, vaporetto stops, free shuttle to the cruise ship. The shuttle does not stop at the ship; we had to walk a little with the luggage. The shuttle looks like a huge bus with luggage compartment, clearly signed, stops on the opposite side from the vaporetti. Going back we chose the ship shuttle to the airport for $30 per person, a taxi would be 30-40 Euros. That shuttle bus was on the left side when you get off the ship, don’t ask the port personnel, they will direct you to the free shuttle to P. Roma, ask people with NCL logo.

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