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Venice - a magical spell came over me.....

Venice - a magical spell came over me.....

Old Sep 11th, 2010, 08:39 PM
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Venice - a magical spell came over me.....

We woke up from our hotel in Cannes and had our last delightful breakfast in bed. We had to go to the train station because we had to head to the Nice airport. We definitely got to the airport way too early. It was a small airport and it was not too crowded. We waited 2 hours. On top of that, our flight was delayed 25 minutes. When the plane came onto the tarmac, I was frightened to see how small it was. It had propellers! The plane ride was short - only an hour. However, the worse part was the cabin pressure when making the descent. I got a sharp shooting pain to my head that was so crippling. I have never had cabin pressure pain like that before so I was not expecting it at all. Then, more sharp shooting pain to my jaw. Of course, my ears were completed clogged and I could barely hear anything. I was still in shock that I was having this reaction on the plane and kind of embarrassed because I was bent over in my seat. So, imagine this - I am crippled over in my seat and my husband is trying to console me but in between him making sure I am okay, he is telling me how lovely the view is. We made sure to sit on the right side of the plane so we could see Venice on the descent. So, he is thrilled at the view, I am in pain and trying to see the view for the 2 seconds that my pain subsided and then I am back down bent over with pain again. It was quite funny now that I am looking back on it. Our Aliguana ride took 90 minutes on the lagoon to get from the airport to Venice. No one seemed to mind. The sheer amazement of all lagoon, water taxis, no cards, and the appearance of a floating city was mesmerizing. The lagoon was quite choppy with all the taxis and made for a fun ride. When we got off the second San Marco stop the crowds were heavy. We just wanted to get to our hotel and we actually got to it pretty easily. We are Starwood members, to we stayed at the Westin Europa and Regina. The lobby was impressive with these huge crystal chandeliers, amazing furniture, and marble floors. We were even more impressed with our hotel room. However, I wouldn't call it a room. We actually were in a certain section of the hotel that were designated apartments. We entered into our apartment through the foyer. To our left was the spacious room and to the right was the bathroom. Our room was simply amazing. It was huge! We had a sitting room and a desk area. We had a view of the grand canal and were across from the Santa Maria Della Salute. This apartment took my breath away. What a way to start our Venice experience!

We couldn't wait to start exploring so we headed off to Dorosduro. The crowds were thinning and then it happenned - we fell completely head over heels in love with Venice. And she didn't even need to take us to dinner. We almost fell into a dreamlike state and couldn't believe the history that was unfolding before our eyes. It is hard to describe its beauty into words., but I will certaintly try. Every where you turn there is a picturesque canal. However, each canal is unique in its own way and seems to tell a story. We also loved the different colors and variations of each building. Not even the best architect in the world can recreate the originial feel from the 12th century. Dorosduro had a lot of residential buildings and we enjoyed wandering aimlessly through the tiny alleys and hearing the locals through the windows. I never understood what Fodorites meant when they said to wander aimlessly and now I get it. The crowds were getting even thinner and we almost felt like we had the city to ourselves. It was a surreal moment in time and I knew I needed to remind myself how lucky I was because life brings its ups and downs and I knew one day I would have a down moment and when that day occured, I wanted my memory to bring me back to this place....

Will continue this post tomorrow...it's getting late....
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 08:49 PM
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Yay!! Another wonderful installment.I love the feelings you portray in writing! More soon please.
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 08:58 PM
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I meant to type "no cars", not "no cards." That is what I get for posting a trip report really late!

Thanks for reading Kayle. Glad you enjoyed...
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 09:00 PM
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Jill,
Love your reaction to Venice. That is exactly how I feel every time I am in Venice. I love walking out of the train station and facing the Grand Canal. I love some of the churches that look as if they are just floating, all that weight looking so light and ethereal. It gets me every time. I also love seeing so much art work hanging in the exact place for which it was painted. Someone once wrote that when they were in Venice, it seemed unreal, but later was the most real memory they ever had. It is interesting how different people react. DH Lawrence called Venice "an abhorrent, green, slippery city." You might enjoy reading The Companion Guide to Venice by Hugh Honour. It is not a regular guide book with times of openings, etc. It is more like literature, poetic and descriptive.
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 10:31 PM
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Hi Jill & Todd - So Venice has cast it's spell! Well, I had better makes plans....never been to Venice but you have convinced me I am missing out big time!
Looking forward to much more. Have a wonderful time!
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 11:13 PM
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Glad you loved Venice Jill. I would love to go back in a less crowded time of year than July and just wander to my heart's content.

Enjoying your report so far.
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 11:33 PM
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Jill,

You are getting me so excited about Venice, I am taking my husband to Venice next month for the first time. I made him read the beginning of your report and you got him excited also. The last time I was in Venice was ten years ago with a broken heart. I can't wait for the rest of your trip report. Great writing!

You will really enjoy the bag you bought in Paris, somehow it is more special if you buy it in Europe.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 12:44 PM
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Venice was my favorite city out of the 5 cities we visted. Will write more soon....
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 12:50 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to include us on your trip with these reports! I remember all your careful planning planning planning here on the forum and I'm thrilled it's working out to your expections (and more)! kindly, suze
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 01:06 PM
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Thanks Suze for all your advice all the way!
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 04:26 PM
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Jill, looking forward to more.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 05:30 PM
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Aaah, add another Venice-lover to the fold. You did such a good job describing your reactions to that magical, fantastical city.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 05:35 PM
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Day 1 continued....

We were getting hungry so we headed off to La Bitta, which was recommended by Fodors. This place served mostly meat dishes, which is rare in Venice. It was a small place with a cute interior of wood beamed ceilings. We actually almost passed it because there is no sign on the front. That was a good sign! If they don't need tourists, then it must be a good local place. Todd ordered a medium filet, and got a medium rare. He still enjoyed his meal along with his potatoes. I actually ordered a pasta dish because I wasn't in the mood for steak. My meal was also very good. After dinner, we went to get some ice cream in Campo Santa Margherita. It was delicious and the atmosphere was very lively. It seemed like a lot of locals from the University. It was so neat being in Europe during the world cup as there was an energy in the air. All of the local university students were watching the game and having fun. We started to head over to St. Marks Square because we heard how magical it was at night, so we purposely avoided the crowds during the day so that we wouldn't ruin the experience. Well, it was a sight to be seen during the nighttime. The way there was a light on every window on the buildings around the Piazza San Marco. It really illuminated the square. You could even peak through the 2nd floor of the Quadri restaurant and saw their waiters serving guests with their white gloves. I envisioned people dining there in the 12th century and I also envisioned people dancing in that room as well. I don't know why I saw that, but for some reason I did. It seemed liked a good place for a ballroom with proper women and gentleman dancing along the windows. Unfortunately, the basilica was being renovated and the left side was covered up with scaffolding. By far, the best part of the ENTIRE European trip was the mini orchestra playing in St. Marks Square after dark. It was the most romantic part of the whole trip. We slow danced under the starlit sky in this beautiful square while listening to some of the best classical music by the best musicians. How often do you experience this with the one you love? Sometimes the musicians switched the tempo up and played something lively and upbeat. To see so many people clapping their hands in pure happiness was another magical moment. Here we all were - all different cultures, speaking different languanges, but the universal language of music does not have borders. Some asian family was clapping along next to us and nodding their heads with us. Even though we didn't speak the same language, we both knew this was once in a lifetime experience. I made a mental note to always remember this moment - freeze it in time. I know life can get daunting at times and I can always come back to this place in my heart. At one point, when my husband and I were slow dancing , I started to tear. I know it sounds cheesy, but I couldn't help myself. I felt so blessed to have this opportunity to be in Venice, in this magical square, to be so in love, and to have good health. It was an overwhelming feeling. I always knew that life had blessed me, but this was an experience on a whole different level. There is something about musicians playing classical music that just melts my heart. We actually had a charity/work event to attend the next night and I knew it was my time to really give back. I was excited about it.

Well, we headed back to our hotel and fell asleep in the Westin's "heavenly bed." (you have to experience their bedding!) It was a perfect way to end a perfect day.

Good night Venezia....
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 06:26 PM
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I'm glad that you enjoyed la Bitta - it's one of our favourite places to eat in Venice. "Our" apartment is about 100 yards down Calle Lunga San Barnaba from la Bitta. I like the proud statement that they make - "No fish" - a little bit of Venetian perversity there.
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 07:07 PM
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We actually had a really hard time finding it and passed by it several times without even realizing it.

I could spend 6 months in Venice and not tire of it...
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 07:12 PM
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We're going back there in November for a couple of months. We'll never tire of it either! If you are feeling homesick for Venice, you might enjoy this:
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...st-verbose.cfm
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 08:13 PM
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Jill, we also spent a day (in late April), just walking through the Dorsoduro neighborhood and found it to be so excessively charming. The wysteria was in full bloom everywhere, the sky bright blue, about 75 degrees.

I'll always love Venice. Who can possibly ever forget a visit there?
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Old Sep 13th, 2010, 10:38 AM
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Day 2 Venice

We started off our morning walking along the Riva Schiavoni, which is along the lagoon where all the cruise ships come in. We wanted to check out the Castello neighborhood, but wanted to check out the Hotel Danieli since that is another Starwood property. The lobby was gorgeous, however that area of Castello was so congested. I actually preferred the tucked away location of our hotel. We turned down Via Guiseppe Garibaldi and found it very charming. Then, we stumbled across a nice park and found it to be a shady refief from the hot sun. We relaxed on a park bench and soaked in all the scenary. I saw an older Venetian woman hang drying her clothes over the balcony. Then, we aimlessly walked along the lagoon and found ourselves all the way out to Saint Elena. We wondered through some neighborhoods and were never so happy to be "lost." Eventually, we headed back to Castello and had lunch at the outdoor cafe Pauolin in the Campo Stefano and we do NOT recommend this place. My lasagna was not cooked all the way through. Oh well. We know Venice is not known for its food, but we were hoping this place would be good since it was in the Fodors guidebook. We then went to s small grocery store for some water and headed back to our hotel for a rest. Todd awoke me from a small nap with a surprise. He said he went to Gucci while I was sleeping and had a purse in mind for me! So, we walked to Gucci and I picked out my amazing new purse at a significant cost savings from the US. We then headed over to the Zattere to try the best gelato in Venice at Gelato Nico. It was indeed delicious! We also enjoyed the walk along the Zattere. I found it much more enjoyable than along the lagoon in Castello. (too many people over there) We always tend to gravitate towards the lagoonside walks. The Zattere is very scenic and and peaceful. There seemed to be some amazing restaurants jetted out onto the canal.

We then continued to walk around the Dorosduro neighborhood for a bit. I really like this area. It has many small canals and narrower streets. We walked through the Guggenheim museum which was gorgeous and we even walked as far as the Santa Maria Della Salute church. The sun was beginning to set and we knew we wanted to do our gondola ride at this time. We found a gondielier named Andria "Andrew" who was a 5th generation gondielier. He took us on the most perfect gondola ride. Mostly down the smaller canals and for a very small bit down the grand canal so we could see the Rialto bridge. Sunset is a glorious time in Venice and it is my favorite time of the day to witness the beauty of Venice. The light that reflects off the water gives the buildings a special glow and everything in Venice just seems that more enchanting.

Will write more later....
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Old Sep 13th, 2010, 05:57 PM
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Okay Jill..give it up, which Gucci purse did you get? What a nice husband. I ducked into a shop there and left my husband and son outside, found a gorgeous black patent bag I'm still in love with 2 years later, and as I was paying the bill, the saleswoman looks to the window in alarm and there is my husband shaking his head and making the throat slashing motion.LOL. I assured her it was just my husband, not some crazy person.

Reading your report brings back good memories of Venice. You write well,making us feel the romance and magic of Venice.
Can't wait to go back with my husband.

Keep writing,you are fulfilling our wanderlust until our next trips!
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Old Sep 14th, 2010, 05:15 AM
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Hey Raincitygirl! I got the vintage web boston bag. Take a look! http://www.gucci.com/us/styles/247205FWCZG9791

That is a funny story about your husband! My husband wants to do that sometimes because I have a weakness about purses.

You have to go back with your hubby! It was my favorite city in our European vacation! It was so utterly romantic and St. Mark's square after dark with the mini-orchestra is so amazing. Amazing isn't even the word for it! I don't know what word describes a feeling of pure bliss....

I will have to start reading some of your posts now...we seem like two peas in a pod.
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