Day 02: Venice, You Charmer, You

After a decent night’s sleep, we were up and had breakfast delivered to our room at 8:30 (a nice perk of this hotel).  The plan today was to split up, as there were varying interests in the group.  That’s code, by the way, for my parents wanted to go to a museum we’d already been to.  So Jim and I peeled off, intent on getting to all the neighborhoods we’d not visited in 2007.

More boats and a canal

More boats and a canal

We headed toward the San Marco neighborhood so we could whiz by the famous La Fenice Opera House on our way to the Cannaregio neighborhood.  On the way, I was determined to appropriately photograph “quintessential Venice,” which really meant taking a lot of pictures of canals, bridges, and boats.  It’s a good thing there were no water fowl, otherwise we would never have gotten very far.  Jim patiently waited while every cobblestone was documented, but by the time we got to the Rialto Bridge (only one of a couple bridges that span the Grand Canal), he had lost a little steam and needed a coffee stop.  No worries, all that photographing had worn me out, too.

Gondola traffic jam

Gondola traffic jam

Stopping for a coffee and people watching is one of our favorite activities already, but stopping for a coffee in Venice by the Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal meant not only people watching, but boat watching, too.  And if Italians can be a little notoriously aggressive in the car driving department, just wait until they get out onto open water with no lanes.  Can you say endless entertainment?

Sure, everyone knows where the boats and canals are, but do you know where to find the emergency ladder?

Enough of the boats and canals, here is an emergency ladder

Once caffeinated, we started off again toward Cannaregio, more specifically, the old Jewish Ghetto.  Along the way, Jim found a TIM phone store and finally purchased a European cell phone he’s talked about getting for years.  He calls it his burner phone and it makes him feel like Jason Bourne.  For several hours (and days) after getting it, he’d check it from time to time with anticipation and I would sense disappointment each time once he realized no one had called.  Of course, no one but TIM had the number.  Anyway, phone in hand and no one to call, and after getting a little turned around once, okay 3 times, we finally made it to Campo del Ghetto Nuovo and spent a bit of time window shopping and taking it all in.

Boat market

Boat market

Leaving Cannaregio, we wound our way down through the Santa Croce, then San Polo, and back to the Dorsoduro neighborhood to our hotel.  I really didn’t notice much difference amongst the neighborhoods, they all had canals (check), restaurants (check), alleys (check), tourists (check), and Venetian charm (check and check).   We took a brief rest before all 4 of us reconvened to head out for dinner, making a quick stop first so my parents could get tickets to an evening concert of Vivaldi and Mozart.  They invited us to go, too, but it was difficult to determine what would be less enjoyable, being whacked in the head by a gondolier’s oar or sitting inside a warm concert hall at 21:00 for a couple hours following a huge Italian meal with lots of wine.  Besides, we had visions of ending the evening the proper way, and that was by imbibing in Sambuca, one of our favorite Italian liqueurs.

We had dinner at Taverna San Trovaso, which we all agreed had fairly mediocre food but our waitress was a doll, and then we each went our separate ways again.  Jim and I found ourselves in a piazza not far from the concert venue, and settled in with a couple of Sambucas.  Our attempt at having a third was thwarted by the fact the joint was closing, so we settled up and wandered closer to our hotel, stopping at a place along the lagoon for a nightcap nightcap.  Oh, Venice, you’re still a great time, all these years later.  And that’s not just the Sambuca talking.

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