We knew what we were getting into with Venice in the summer, its heat, its crowds, its disregard for order, so we splurged a bit more on our hotel than we might ordinarily have. We lived in luxury for three days and three nights at the Palazzo Stern on the Grand Canal. We kept congratulating ourselves on this decision throughout our stay. Yes! This was the place to splurge. With the vaporetto stop just outside our door, we could move through the crowds by boat and arrive without fatigue each evening to watch the sunset in San Marco Square. We could easily ferry over to Zattare for dinner on the waterfront of the Giudecca canal. We could take another ferry across that same canal to gaze at the entire lagoon from the bell tower of the St Giorgio Maggiore. We could wander in our Dorsoduro sestieri without encountering hordes of people, and we could lunch in the shade of the public giardini in nearby Castello. Our proximity to LaFenice opera house gave us the courage to face the crowds to witness its newly restored grandeur after the fire by arson of 1996. We loved living on the Grand Canal. Early each morning we could hear the boatmen delivering goods to the hotels and restaurants. We spent hours watching every kind of boating activity: gondoliers, private taxis, traghettos, vaporettos carrying happy people on vacation. From the safety and comfort of our window, it all looked good. It was very hard to leave this beautiful place, the Palazzo Stern Hotel, with its attentive and pleasant staff. We departed by the public airport taxi (which picked us up at the vaporetto stop directly in front of our hotel). It couldn't have been easier. But it was so swift, we barely had a moment to look back. Ah Venice and its light. Ah Italy, its beautiful places, it's delicious food, its lively people. When will we return? Will we return? We hope so, soon.