Saturday, November 7, 2015

November 6, 2015 – Venice, Italy

Room service arrives right on time and we have a bowl of cereal and some fruit before shower and heading out again at around 7:45.  It is Friday and many of the locals are heading into Venice for work. 

Once at Piazzale Roma after walking there – again we skipped the people mover and just walked to the port entrance, past the people mover, thru the parking lot, over a small bridge, turn right and follow the canal to the people mover again.  Turn left and you are at the Piazzale Roma.

There is a small coffee shop here and it is filled with locals, we get to cappuccinos at 1.50 E each.  We enjoy them at the bar and we are gone quickly.

This time we catch Vaporetto #2 Line that is more of an express route and it is filled with locals.  We grab a seat right in the front and the views are stunning as the world starts to wake, the fog starts to lift and the sun starts to shine.

This line is ending at the Rialto so we jump off and meander thru the streets to St. Mark’s Square (although we easily could of just waited for another vaporetto line to come by if we wanted) but we are early and we are enjoying the walk to the square.

Once in the large square it is tranquil compared to yesterday.

We head over to the Doge’s Palace entrance and pick up our tickets for the Palace and the sticker for the Secret Itineraries’ Tour.  We bought these earlier as soon as they opened up. 

Julia and Jo join us and we enter and are impressed by the large courtyard.  If you have a large knapsack or bag you will need to check it (free).  There are clean washrooms here so I take advantage of that.

 Our tour starts at 9:55 and we are a group of around 20 (guessing) and our guide takes us to sites that are not part of the normal ticket price.  We go down down down to the cells.  Very very damp and we learn the stories behind this prison.

Then we are up higher and we are in the administrative offices and the record’s room. 

where they hung people

We head up and up and up and we are now on the top floor above the Hall of the Grand Council.  

What is neat is later when we are in that grand room we see the impressions in the wooden beams above that we just saw.

Overall the tour was about an hour and a half and I am glad we did it.  The cost is minimal and it is nice to get a small group tour to areas most don’t get to see.

Once finishing the tour we decide to now tour the Palace.

Doge’s Palace was the seat of the Venetian government and home of its ruling duke, or what they called doge. 

This place was built to show off their wealth and power that the Venetians had. 

the last look the captors would have

hmmm wonder what Bernie is thinking as Jo takes a pic

Near the end we get to cross the bridge of sighs and then we are back looking at some of the prisons – different than the ones we saw but still pretty cool, but we don’t get to go into these one.

Once leaving the Palace we are all hungry for lunch but we agree to get away from all the crowds and tourists and head out to the Vaporetto stop and catch line 1 towards the casino to head to the Jewish Ghetto in the Cannaregio Area.  We get off at Campo San Marculoa and start walking in.

The large street of Rio Terra San Leonardo is lined with stores, coffee shops, pastry shops and restaurants.  We pick a small intimate restaurant and order.

Today calls for pizza for me.  I enjoy a four season pizza that has the pizza divided into four with something in each quarter – ham, artichoke, cheese and mushrooms.  Very good.  Some house wine and Bernie gets a beer and we are all enjoying this little break and time to enjoy Italy.

Back onto the road we promised Bernie we would get a pastry and coffee from this stunning shop we passed.  Some espresso and a Rum Baba for me and Bernie gets a Cannoli.  So good!  We are now stuffed.

We walk into the Campo Ghetto Muovo where we see a shop that Julia knows from when her parents visited.  David’s has all kinds of Jewish items. 

Jewish Museum
Across from the store is the Jewish Museum where you can get a tour of some of the synagogues and the museum but I didn’t look into it but we did see some people on a tour.  So if you have done this tour let me know.

After walking around for a bit longer we agree to head back to our respective hotel/ship and rest before meeting up again for dinner at 8 pm. 

We hop on the Vaporetto at the Guglie Stop and take line 4.1 to the port and walk back to the ship.

Many people are checking in but the lines are minimal and they seem to arrive throughout the  afternoon so there is no mad rush like you would experience in a port like Fort Lauderdale.

Our goal was to have a nap but Bernie crashes and I can’t sleep, cause I am worried we will sleep in and miss our meet up with Julia and Jo.

I grab my book and head out to the Atrium and sit in Crooners reading and sipping a tea. 

Right away I can see the makeup of the passengers is very different.  Much older, haven’t seen a kid yet, more people with mobility issues (scooters, walkers and even someone with an assist dog). 

People are getting into the spirit and everyone seems happy.

After Bernie’s nap we get ready to head out again.  We walk out again to Piazzale Roma and catch line 1 to Rialto Market stop and decide to just wander for a bit.  We have an hour before we meet up and we notice we are back in the same area as we were the night prior with Alessandro.  Lot people are out as it is a Friday.

We decide to try one of the little bars to duplicate our experience last night.  We get a glass of wine each 3.5 E each and sip and reflect on the day.  We wanted to get some small finger foods but decided we didn’t want to spoil our dinner.

Wandering some more – although it seems like it is easy to get lost it really isn’t and all of a sudden we are back at the Rialto Bridge and we meet up with Julia and Jo again.

They take us to a restaurant that they had lunch at the other day.  It is not far from the Bridge.   The lovely waitress sits us and we ask for wine and she brings a bottle of white for us and a half of red for Bernie. 

Bernie and I decide to split some items and we get a caprese salad to start then we share a spicy pasta (olive oil, cheese and peppers).  Both were very very good.

We notice a couple very upset at their bill – mainly the cost of the wine and the automatic service fee.  Then a single man is also a little annoyed when he sees his bill.

When we get our bill we see why. First the food was very good and the prices for the food were quite reasonable.  But beware!  Yes there are the standard cover charge that we have seen often.  But here they also charge a 15% service fee.  What really shocked me is when she put the bill down she said “tip not included” gee now I feel a little taken.  But the big thing was the cost of the wine – the bottle was 35E and Bernie’s half bottle was 18E.  We thought we were just getting house wine. 

In the end Bernie and I agreed that we will dwell on the positive, great food, and even better company.  But did we learn something – oh yeah!  Ask specifically for the house wine or pick the bottle you want, don’t let them pick the bottle.  Ask about service fees ahead of time.  And lastly if you are going to eat near a major tourist attraction – we were close to the Rialto – then expect that this may happen. 

We stroll out and Bernie is keen for Gelato and we find Calle della Bissa
I get two scoops of coconut in cup – but not a normal cup it is actually a cup that is made of the stuff the ice cream cone is made of.  Yummy and very reasonable priced – even with it being close to the Rialto.

We stroll back over the bridge and wander around the San Polo area before saying goodbye to Julia and Jo.  We had such a great time with them.  They are a lovely couple and we hope we will get to see them again, either on a cruise or in one of our homes.  Cheers you two and thanks for the memories.


Bernie and I stroll thru the area and then enter into Santa Croce area and wander and we end up jumping on a valparetto that is right there and we go two stops.  It is late, almost 11 pm and we are tired, especially me.

We walk back from the Valporetto stop and back on board the ship is dead.  We crawl into our cabin and we are gone and in a deep sleep.

It does feel weird sleeping on board though when you are docked.


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