Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Benvenuto a Venice

Venice from the air - click to "embiggen"
 We dragged around Charles de Gaulle Aeroport for some 2 and a half hours, jet-lagged and stressed, with blistered feet from trudging all over the terminal. But finally we boarded the 3:30 pm flight to Venice and only a little over an hour later, we were flying over the Veneto and the lagoon.

We contacted our pre-arranged water-taxi, and rolled our bags to the pier. David, a bronzed young man dressed all in white called our name as we approached. He commandeered our bags and handed us onto a sleek speedboat with a covered saloon fitted up with tufted vinyl upholstered benches.

At first I thought I'd stand up in the open air back deck and take photos of the approach, but then David zoomed the boat over the wakes of other water-taxis and it slapped hard and took a few bounces. I grabbed the bulkhead and retreated into the saloon.

It was like a game, the water-taxis almost racing one another across the lagoon, popping over each others' wake.

Finally, he slowed when we approached the city at the Canale di Misericordia. The sight of houses alongside the canals was everything you read about - and almost seemed like a fantasy. But then you noticed that there was real peoples' laundry hung out to dry from the windows.

Canale di Misericordia
We drew slowly through the canals, gliding under bridges, and then finally opening onto the Grand Canal. We pulled into a dock in front of the building where our flat was.

Grand Canal
 Our landlady met us and checked us into the place - which is fantastic, but I'll tell you all about that later. After a quick tour of the fixtures, the keys, the wifi access and other details, we brushed our teeth, splashed some water on our faces and ventured out into the neighborhood.

Our flat is in the Calle dei Boteri, a street in the San Polo sestiere just east of the Rialto mercado and the fish markets. We strolled out to the Campo della Pescheria where tourists sipped spritzes at an outdoor cafe, and had a prosecco. Here, gondolas troll for customers, including several brides who, arrayed in their finery, posed for photos among the ancient stones.

Tired of tourists, we wandered into narrow alleys and followed trails that appeared to be dead ends, but broke out into hidden passages bisected by narrow canals.

We ended up in a street whose name I recognized from our landlady's recommendations - a restaurant she highly praised. Exhausted and famished, we went in and took a table. What happened next is for tomorrow's post. I hope you'll check in to find out.


Alexia said...

I will certainly be checking in! I am very envious; Venice is the only major italian city I haven't visited. Enjoy!

smalltownme said...

You made it!

déjà pseu said...

Ah, Venice. I want to go back. Looking forward to reading more!!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Oh, I'll be back tomorrow.


Deborah said...

I'm loving it already.

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

Love love love Venice! Have a wonderful time!

Anonymous said...

I love Venice so much. Too bad it's sinking.