Karie on Oct 3rd 2007 01:50 pm
Ah, the magnificent tourist trap that is Venice!Â We arrived on Sunday afternoon, and took a Vaporetto (water bus) to the stop nearest our bed & breakfast.Â The directions to our place read something like â€ścross the bridge, and turn left at the bank across from the toy store, walk for a bit, then turn right at the Jazz Club signâ€¦â€ťÂ We werenâ€™t sure how long we would be lugging our bags over the millions of little bridges â€“ up the stairs, down the stairs.Â Luckily we found it pretty quickly (thanks to the Jazz Club), unlike the Preeoâ€™s who had arrived the day before and wandered around for an hour before finding their hotel.Â It seems there are a lot of unnamed streets & alleys in Venice (or maybe just bad maps).
Venice is a fascinating city.Â I hadnâ€™t realized that there are no vehicles at all in the city â€“ not even bikes or scooters.Â Deliveries are made by men pulling cartsâ€¦ up the stairs, down the stairs. That has to be one of the highest paying jobs in the city!Â I never did figure out how their emergency services work.
Anyhow, we were briefly crossing paths with Devon & Jason Preeo, as they were headed off to Florence the next day (where we had just come from), then we will reunite again in Rome.Â We had previously arranged to meet up for dinner that evening, but about an hour after we arrived we ended up running into them while crossing the Ponte di Rialto!Â What are the odds of that?!
The 4 of us took a gondola ride through the Grand Canal and some other very narrow waterways.Â Itâ€™s amazing how well they can maneuver those boats.Â Iâ€™m quite certain that Venetians drive boats better than their fellow Europeans can drive a car.Â However, I was disappointed to learn that the gondoliers donâ€™t sing.Â I did not hear ‘O Sole Mio once!Â Apparently if you want that, youâ€™re better off going to the Venetian in Las Vegas â€“ it really does look pretty much the same.
Later, we ate at the highly recommended Alla Madonna, where we swapped maps & travel tips.Â In typical Devon-fashion, she gave us a list of everything they saw in Venice, and in Jason-fashion, they rated them for us.Â In typical Kaufmann-fashion, our map was marked with all the best places to eat in Florenceâ€¦ â€śoh yeah, and after you get that sandwich, you might want to walk over & see the Duomoâ€¦ and you can walk through the Piazza Signoria on the way to that restaurant with the balsamic steakâ€ťÂ What can I say, we have priorities.
The highlight of our evening with the Preeoâ€™s was eating gelato on the Grand Canal, which was when they asked us to be the godparents of their baby!Â BP (Baby Preeo) is due in February, and we are so honored to play such an important role in his/her life (we will find out if itâ€™s a him or a her next week).
We bid adieu to the 2.5 members of the Preeo family, and Monday we were off to site see.Â Most of the charm of being in Venice is just being in Venice â€“ thereâ€™s really not a ton to see, unless youâ€™re really into art.Â While we do enjoy art, once youâ€™ve seen the work of Michelangelo and DaVinci, the rest seems so average â€“ at least to our untrained eyes.Â Plus, one can really only take in so many paintings of the Virgin Mary in one day.
However, over the next couple of days we did visit St Markâ€™s Basilica, Dogeâ€™s Palace, the top of St Mark’s Campanile, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection museum, and I even fed the pigeons in St Mark’s Square.Â Briefly.Â That was a frightening experience, but I felt I had to do it â€“ similar to skydiving, except that once I was done I had no urge to do it again.
Monday night we met up with Lance & Rachael (the newlyweds) again, who were in town for a fleeting 24 hours.Â We found a place a little off the beaten path that seemed to be mostly full of locals, which was nice.Â And of course, more gelato afterward!Â Â It looks like we might be seeing them again in Cinque Terra next week.
I think these first few weeks are really spoiling us, by being able to meet up with friends randomly across Italy. The rest of our guest calendar is looking pretty bleak, so we need some future traveling buddies. Any takers?