Having been home now for 3 ½ months, it’s time to relive memories and place another trip report on the Forum. This was our 10th trip; the first was in 1984, way before Trip Advisor, Destination Experts and the sharing of information. Things have changed over the years. But our love for Venice has not changed, we are among those that have had a magnet placed in our hearts, and Venice keeps drawing us back. A few years ago, as we traveled to a farm stay in Le Marche, before our stay in Venice a Scottish couple introduced us to a new concept: Take SKI vacations. No, not that kind of ski, this is Spend Kids’ Inheritance, and that is what we do--in Venice!
We usually travel in the late summer and early fall, but this time wanted to experience Venice in a different season. So, to celebrate my 63rd birthday, off we went, for a little over 3 weeks in March and April. We had rain, we had wind, we had cold and yes, we even had snow! It did not deter us one bit. This trip was different also, because in the springtime, there is no Biennale, so the planning and preparing was different. One of the most important parts of the planning was to secure an apartment. We chose Truly Venice, and were able to stay once again in an apartment overlooking Campo San Stefano. What a joy to look out the kitchen window and see: the woman that came to the news stand every morning- the attendant’s dog knew her on sight, as she always had a treat in her bag; and the children and their parents gathering after school to have the children play (hopscotch, even) while the parents chatted; and the distinguished looking gentleman, that picked up his paper and sat on the bench every morning. And another joy, seeing Yvonne and Barb waving from the campo below! More about TA friends later.
Filed away, next to my passport, is another precious travel document: my IMOB card. For us, since we return to Venice yearly, we made the 40 Euro investment (each) to get the transportation card, it is good for 5 years, and we “reload” trips to the card as needed. Filed away also is the map of the routes to take in event of a high Aqua Alta. During the spring season, most of the high water tide flow was late at night. For the first time in all the times we’ve been in Venice, we heard the warning siren, blasting 3 hours ahead of the tide’s arrival. Stunning sound, I posted a YouTube video in a thread about Aqua Alta a few months ago (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187870-i57-k6329556-o10-Acqua_Alto_Tonight-Venice_Veneto.html. See post # 17) I have an Android “smartphone” so I had the app for weather and tide at my fingertips, I used it often. A chorus church pass is always one of our purchases, and it is always stunning to see masterpieces of art adorning the churches, and we purchased the guide book (with all the churches in the chorus) to take home and reference the artwork to the church, as sometimes the memory can be a blur!
Staying in an apartment is a lovely wonderful way to experience Venice. We had easy access to the Billa market on the Zattere as well as the Punta Super quite near our apartment. Both are good, and what one lacks, the other has covered. One of the strangest encounters at the Punta was a YOUNG teenage girl asking me to buy limoncello for her. No. Then the boys asked my husband to buy beer. No. We liked the array of deli items at Punta, but preferred Billa for produce and meat/fish/cheese. The apartment allowed us the freedom to have wind down time, do laundry, and for me to cook! And one of the special joys was cooking for 2 days to have an open house with many names that are recognized on this forum: Yvonne, Jessybobs, Sushisue, Sandtown, TAB and Chris. What a joy to have several hours to chat, laugh, eat, drink and finally put faces and voices to the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarves”, well, at least some of them!
My husband has become a student of “all things Venice” over the years, and so when my cousin arrived, he put on his guide personality, and I enjoyed seeing Venice through the eyes of a “newbie” as we visited churches, the Doges Palace, the Rialto Market and the islands of Torcello and Burano. It gave me a refreshed perspective. And of course we introduced her to some of the finer things: wine, prosecco, sgroppino and grappa. She took a photo in Burano, and when she returned home, went to one of those “paint your own” ceramic places and painted a plate featuring the colorful houses; what a great idea!
Morning Coffee as we were strolling was at Didovich in Castello, 5.20 euros for 2 cappuccinos. Since it was my birthday trip, we had a “spirited” coffee at the Florian, we indulged 2 times (both rainy days, so the alcohol in the coffee was especially warming!)…..We also met up with Rosa (yes, that Rosa) for coffee near the Jewish Ghetto along the Cannaregio Canal. Another treasured memory!
Afternoon Spritz. We hunt around for the best, of course it is at our favorite B&B, the Locanda Orseolo, but out and about town: our 2 best were Naranzaria, Grand Canal view, Rialto side 8.40 euros for two, and Bar All’ Angelo at Campo San Stefano 8.00 euros for 2. Many others, but those were the favorites.
Lunches out Pier Dickens, Campo Santa Margarita for wine and pizza (39 euros for 2 of us) or pannini and wine (23 euros for 2 of us) Tratoria Da Paolo, at the Arsenale pizza, wine, tiramisu and 2 double espresso 53 euros. On Murano, our favorite is Buca da Torre da LeLe we had pasta and wine (house wine has LeLe’s face as the comedy/tragedy drama mask on the label) can’t find the receipt, but it was around 50 euros for 2. On Burano, after we visited the lace museum, and before we purchased lace at Olga’s place, we had wine, risotto and espresso at Da Romano 71euros for 2. My birthday dinner was at Barababao, near the Rialto and Coin department store. An antipasto to share, wine, 2 pasta entries, espresso and grappa was always under 100 euros for 2, we visited several times! We are always greeted by name, so it has become a favorite place.
Our traditional “music” event is Interpreti Veniziana at San Vidal, our stay is not complete unless we have Vivaldi Four Seasons at that venue. A wonderfully “live” building and the musicians are brilliant. Others may have different places to enjoy Vivaldi, this has been our annual favorite.
Many more things to share, but others have covered those aspects in great detail on other threads. I treasure our stays in Venice, being recognized at grocery stores, restaurants and cafes is a delight, the loveliness of so many things Venice just makes my heart happy. I look forward to Fall 2014, a return to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. On to future planning. Ciao!