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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Venice, the long start


(Now this is showing out of order because of an edit I tried that didn't work.)
After the early arrival of the flight, we got to baggage claim and Margaret got her bag without my noticing, and bag delivery ended without my seeing my bag until I finally did.  In baggage claim I just saw a Travelex ATM; because of Travelex's reputation of high charges at their in-person exchanges, I was reluctant to use their ATM, although I guess any extra charges would have been disclosed.  Then in the arrivals hall, I didn't see any ATMs; I had Margaret watch the bags while I went to the departures level.  There I made two withdrawals of the machine's maximum of €250; I would have preferred €300, but this would cover the apartment payment and getting around for the day.

I got luggage carts that worked like shopping carts, inserting a coin that would be returned when the cart was chained to others.  We loaded it and took it to the Alilaguna dock, for the airport boat where I'd bought tickets online for a 1-euro discount.  I needed to exchange the voucher for tickets at the office by the dock.  There was a wait a little past the scheduled time to board, having them hold the luggage at the top level, somewhat ordered by destination, while we sat in a ring of seats on the lower level.  We had the nice view to make the approach to the city by boat.

I had planned this because the apartment representative had promised tomeet us and take us to the apartment, implying that it would be ready in time for our early arrival.  On Friday, however, I got an email not to expect it to be ready until 11.30, to allow for cleaning after a previous check-out.  I texted about our boarding, and figured we'd sit at a café until we heard it was ready.  There was no obvious spot right at the Guglie stop; as we were starting to look, we got a text to be at the S. Marcuola vaporetto stop in 20 minutes or so.  I looked for that and reached a few dead ends simply opening to the Canal Grande.  i eventually found the spot, and so that this stop, which would be the one of choice, would be closed from Monday through the week.  My phone rang, and I think Sara, the rep, simply turned the corner to see where the ring was coming from.  She and the man with her led us to our apartment, showing us there and it looked very nice, a studio apartment with a kitchen that was very nice and worked as a separate room, with a counter for eating and computer work.  While it was close to the Strada Nova (going by other names), a main walking thoroughfare, it was on a quiet street.
We were determined to keep active through the day.  We chose restaurants from the Chow Venice book and author Shannon's handwritten updates.  We had a nice opening lunch at Casa Mia, towards the Rialto.

We'd booked a 4 p.m. skip-the-line admission to S. Marco.  We walked there:  in the wide parts of the Strada Nova, the crowds were manageable, but we got to narrow areas where the crowds were heavy.  We got to S. Marco and the crowds, herded through, with the mosaics not illuminated as I'd hoped for Sunday.  We got home, after a stop for a spritz, and had a pizza nearby before collapsing for the night.

We slept soundly and late for Monday, with our first mission to get a SIM card for Margaret's iPad.  The €10 to get a lot of data time had a total cost of €25.  We walked to follow a back canal; after some distance, we went and stopped at a café for drinks and light eating, while we explored the GPS capabilities of the iPad with data.  I was encouraging Margaret to make that her device of choice while in Italy.  We went home, and I started working on this blog.  There was some drama when I first found my change wallet in the inner workings of the sofa bed.  I also wasn't finding the case for my iPhone, and I felt the need to fold the sofa bed up to look for it.  I found the case someplace else, and then it seemed that the sofa wouldn't turn back to a bed; eventually with a firm push I got it back.

But then Margaret wondered where the iPad was; had she used it since the café?  She used the Find feature on her phone,and found the iPad showing at the café.  We went back there, it was closed, but we saw the man behind the window who gave it back, what a relief.  Going out for coffee became close to dinner time; we were exploring some options of what to do and decided to go back to Fondamenta degli Ormesini where we'd been twice, and eat at Al Timon.  It was crowded, and we first had a selection of cicchetti; then the waiter suggested we might like the steak, which was priced by weight and huge, quite a full meal.

So those are the basics of these first two days, finding Venice great for its uniqueness, finding some crowds but also areas to get away.





1 comment:

  1. Love your photos! Clearly, you two were a little topsy-turvy on your first day. Glad everything had a happy ending. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

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