So many times on this trip, I had to stop and pinch myself to make sure I was awake. I couldn’t believe that we were standing in this place of beauty, with so much history all around us. Venice was a dream come true! I didn’t think about the fact that some of the buildings would have mold on them. I guess a couple thousand years of sitting in water will do that to you! It didn’t take long before I just let go of that thought and fell back in love with this beautiful place.
If you are traveling from the U.S. to Venice, don’t count on being too “productive” on that first day. We opted for a flight which landed in Venice mid-morning, thinking we would have most of the day to sight-see. In reality, by the time we took a bus to the water bus to our hotel, we got there just before noon. Since we were too early to check in, we left our luggage at the hotel so we could grab some lunch and get a start looking around. When we sat down for lunch, we realized how tired we were. We walked around a bit and as soon as it was time to check in, we headed back so we could freshen up and sit down for a while. We were careful not to sit too long and especially not go to sleep, since I’ve always been told to hold out and go to bed at your “normal” bedtime so you can acclimate to the timezone more quickly. Taking a nap will throw you off for days.
Our hotel, Palazzo Giovanelli, was right on the Grand Canal and close to the San Stae stop, which made the water bus an excellent choice for transportation. We purchased a three day pass, so we could just scan and go, and stop wherever we wanted to. It’s pretty easy to figure out the water bus line and where you can stop to get closest to what you want to see. The bus ride itself was fabulous – a tour in itself. I took tons of pictures and some turned out better than others as we bobbed in the busy canal.
For you timeshare owners, we paid for our hotels in Venice and Barcelona with Hotel PointStays, so we didn’t have to dole out any more money. This almost two-week cruise took quite a lot of our vacation time so we had points to spare. The cost in points was hefty, but we felt it was worth it. Both hotels were fabulous and close to the action! Be sure to get an adapter for your blow dryer because even though the cruise had “American-style” plugs, the hotels did not.
The buildings were more like works of art and the cafes – fortunate to be located right on the canal – were adorned with flowers. Another pinchable moment. OMG! We are in Venice!
The Rialto Bridge is the oldest of four bridges crossing the Grand Canal and was the dividing line between San Marco and San Polo. I’m sure there’s a joke there, but I can’t seem to find it (groan). It was built of stone in 1591 to replace its wooden predecessor after a partial burning and two collapses and is an architectural icon of Venice. And any bridge that also contains venues for shopping is great in my book!
We found a great little restaurant right at the base of the Rialto Bridge, where we had our first Italian Alfredo and some awesome wine! Good thing we could just grab the water bus to get back to the hotel because the wine and our lack of sleep was catching up with us!
We opted not to take a gondola ride, since we are usually ones who will avoid the more “touristy” of activities. I was told by someone before we left, that you would want to have a gondola for just you and your honey, but then there would be no one to take your picture. We went to Venice in June, which was a very busy time and it didn’t seem very romantic to be bobbing along in the water and vying for a place in line, all the while dodging water buses and personal boats. Maybe next time!
Another advantage of having an extended view aft stateroom was the great views as we left the port. Even though there will be several other blogs about Venice, I’ll show you some of the pictures from our departure, just to keep the water views of Venice all together.
As you will notice in the final picture, the tower seems to be a little off-kilter. On one of our tours we were told that Pisa is not the only city blessed with a leaning tower!
Next: St. Mark’s Square.
OMG! We’re in Venice, Italy!