Saturday, November 7, 2015

November 5, 2015 – Sailing into Venice

We are excited to be sailing into Venice today.  We have been told that we will board the pilot around 10 where we will be pulled by a tug thru the canals, first San Marco, then Giudecca then Di Fusina.

For the sail in it is great to be on the Starboard Side but being out on the open decks is great too and you really get a full perspective of the grandness of the area. 

After spending about an hour out on the open decks we went back to the cabin to enjoy some wine and watch sail in from our cabin balcony.

When we docked it took very little time to get clearance and we were off running – well not literally running but we were not going to waste any time.

We walk thru the port building across the parking/drop off areas and towards the people mover.  The cost for it is 1.5 E each and we take it one stop.  Hmm that was very short and we see it is definitely walkable. 

Around the bend and we are at the Piazzale Roma which is the main bus terminal where the buses from the mainland come and go out of.  There are no vehicles on the islands of Venice. 
we bought our tickets here

or you can buy them at the automated machines
Right near the bus loop is at the Piazzale Roma Vaporetto stop and we buy our 48 hour ACTV transit passes (which cost 30E each).  48 hour works out the best for us as it is good from the moment you buy it for 48 hours so this will work until we leave.

Now it does look like a maze here, but the big screen displays what Vaporetto is coming in and what berth you have to go to.  For most tourists you will need the line 1 that is the slower boat but takes you to St. Mark’s Sq.  Or line 2 that is faster and will also take you to St. Mark’s Sq (but note some end at Rialto, just look at the sign on the valparetto).  You can also catch Line 2 going in the other direction too.

But for us right now we want line 1 and we are going to follow Rick Steve’s Grand Canal Tour from his book but also from his Audio Guide.  We take a seat right at the back and follow along.  Wow I am in Venice.

We get off just past St. Mark’s Square and walk across the bridge (one of many) and walk into St. Mark’s Square. 
It is busy but I know this is nothing compared to what it is during high season.  We do the Square’s tour with the Rick’s book and learn about the square and the buildings and the history.

We are meeting up with our friends Julia and Jo who have flown in from England for the weekend.  Originally friends of ours Kim and Norma would have been joining us and Julia and Jo know them even more and it would have been the six of us but when they had to cancel we were going to make sure to include Kim and Norma as much as we could.  

So stay tuned to see how they participated.

We spot Julia and Jo and big hugs and catch up is necessary so we thought why not really go all out and check out Caffe Florian which is right in the square.  We opt to eat inside cause it is stunning.  The walls, the ceiling the floor, well every surface is ornate and painted – a mini Sistine Chapel.

This caffe is known as one of the first places in Europe to serve coffee.  Casanova, Lord Byron, Charles Dickens and Woody Allen have all been served here.

Now we know it is a big splurge (12E for a cappuccino) but it is really the experience and it is lovely and we are so happy to enjoy it with our friends.  We give them two Princess 50th Anniversary mugs and what is funny is they give us both mugs too.

this is a ship's excursion for gondola rides
it is a caravan of boats

this is better, cost is 80E for a ride
and holds up to six
 We start to wander and we cross bridges and travel along roads – fancy shops here.  Beautiful churches, great squares, stunning canals! 

We decide to head to Jo and Julia’s hotel which is near the Rialto Bridge so they can drop off the mugs and we can all use the washroom.  They have a lovely central hotel that is quite reasonable.  

Tonight we are doing a fun tour.  We are meeting up with Alessandro Schezzi for his bar tour (click here for all links to the tours I did).  The tour starts at 6 pm and we meet up with Bonnie/Jim and Joyce/Terry and the rest of the gang. 

 Alessandro is taking us on a Venetian Pub Crawl or in Italian a  Giro d’ombra.  The tour starts and one bar where we enjoy wine and finger foods and Alessandro talks about the wine and the ritual of this pub crawl. 

On to the next place which is quite small but very decorative and well the wine is kicking in and we are all laughing and having a great time.  I even try a pickled onion sandwiched between an anchovy --- note I don’t like anchovies but heck I am Venice and I should try new things.  I did and well I still really don’t like anchovies but it was fun.

should I?

okay here it goes

yuk,wash it down with a lot of wine

Next and last stop is basically a stop outside where we are served more wine and finger foods.

We all say goodbye to Alessandro and then the six of us (Bonnie/Jim/Jo and Julia) all head to a restaurant that was recommended to us by the Head Waiter in our dining room.  And what is funny is the last bar stop we looked to the right and there it was.  Restaurant is Calle Della Madonna at S. Polo 594 very close to the Rialto Bridge.

What is funny here is you see this small opening for the door and then you enter and it is huge with many rooms with waiters buzzing around.

Of course more wine is order.  For my meal I get the recommendation of pasta with beans and it is something I have never had before but was so damn good.  Also very reasonable in price.  Make sure you ask for the house wine served by the litre or half litre, very good and very economical.

After dinner we jump on the vaporetto and back to the ship. This time we skip the people mover and just walk up the roadway

ramp and over the bridge and down the other ramp, past the parking lot to the port (10 minutes walking).

We put out a room service breakfast order and set our alarm clock and as soon as our head hits the pillow we are out.

I will add that the weather was perfect.  It was quite foggy first thing in the morning but it burned off nicely for our arrival.  Once away from the water and on shore it was very warm, sunny but a light jacket is necessary.  Once the sun goes down it does get cool and I wore my light jacket, long sleeve top and I used my pashmina as a scarf or over my shoulders when necessary. You definitely feel the dampness.

1 comment:

  1. that was a wonderful restaurant and I think our group were the only non Italian people there. I had veal Milanese and it was excellent...that was a fun evening.,,the wine tour with Allesandro was great. He in a convivial tour leader and I think everyone had a lot of fun. We went to bars that certainly we would not have found on our own....and the appetizers were great...I liked the Anchovies....:) We wandered around Venice after midnight and it was a totally different...and I might say very cool place, after the day trippers had all left. I could see vampires behind every little deserted street....Bonnie