Sunday, November 22, 2009

Venezia 2009 - Part I

Arriving at San Marco Airport after 13 hours of flying from Dallas with a connection through Frankfurt, we collected the luggage and made our way outside to the middle of a perfect sunny day.

You know that feeling where you've been somewhere before and you know where to go? Well, I was experiencing that because I had been to Venice and this airport two years earlier. Finding the way to the water transport, I made the easy decision to take a water taxi.

You see, last time here I had taken a water bus, which is great if you have lots of time to kill. But with me carrying mom's luggage, I didn't want the hassle. As a warning on the water taxis, people cram in like sardines and it is easy to miss a stop, especially if you are carting around four pieces of luggage.

The water taxi had us to the White Lion on the Grand Canale within 7 minutes. I wish I had remembered to bring my water skis because it was an incredibly fast ride. I also wish I had the foresight to call ahead and have the owner meet us at the canal entry. Most of the buildings in Venice have a door directly on the water side and a door on the 'dry' side. I think it's supposed to be more fancy if you arrive at the water side. Oh well, next time. As you see below, it wasn't a super fancy entryway on the canal side... At least there were no visible four legged carriers of the black plague or anything.

A few doors down from my hotel was the Ca d'Oro, which had a considerably more elaborate canal entry court. It was slightly more expensive to book this ancient museum palace, so I went with rustic charm instead.

Before we were completely out of the water taxi, an annoying man walked up and asked the driver how much to go to St. Mark's square. The driver responded '95 euro', and the man stormed off indignantly because he thought he could get a cheaper rate since the water taxi was already there.

Rounding the corner to the hotel, I noticed right away that the building was ancient. This was great because I enjoy carrying heavy bags up several flights of stairs. No, really.

The White Lion was ideally situated on the Grand Canale, with my balcony having views of the Rialto market and the Bridge. In other words, a perfect place for 1) purchasing a bread, fresh tomatoes, cheese and a bottle of wine and 2) consuming the aforementioned goods while soaking in the incredible architecture and history and chuckling at the occasional tourist floating by in a gondola. This location coupled with a prime location on Strada Nuova ensured a fun stay.

After checking in, I still wasn't tired because I was in Venice! So I went walking through the characteristic back streets until I was good and lost.

I play a game in Venice called 'find the bridges with no handrails'. This time I only found two, here is one...


  1. What a trip. I'm enjoying it as much as you. Actually, probably not.

  2. Oh I love those pics! Especially the 2nd one, what great detail! Bridge without railings, I'm amazed you found one, better yet two.

    Very nice, I like your trips!

  3. I played a similar game in Venice when I was there. Mine was called "Let's see how many times you can get lost in one day". I lost count. Honestly, it's like a giant maze of canals and bridges. In the nicest way. It's lovely. But I swear I'll never be able to navigate that town. Although I did love the no traffic thing. Very nice!

  4. Lovely stuff and great photos. It's an amazing place Venice.

    It's known as the Birmingham of Italy, you know.

  5. Annoying? I wasn't annoying you cheeky punk, I was just getting on with it. And as for "indignantly", it was simply a determined walk.

  6. Ok, what's up with the bridges without handrails?! It looks charming but what if you fall into the water?

    I would totally pay $5 to see that happen.

  7. That view from the balcony, what little bit is shown, is orgasmic.

    And what do you mean? It's not cool to ride in a gondola? Damn.

  8. Funny how you're not tired when you've arrived somewhere exciting, even when you've been up all night and travelled all day :)

    It looks beautiful. I can't wait to go to Venice.

  9. Tennyson,
    It was kind of fun now that you mention it.

    Thanks! Yeah, back in medieval times, they really knew how to lay down a great 'opus sectile' pavement.

    Vegetable Assassin,
    I used to play that game also, but now, I find that I kind of have a sixth sense about which way to turn to get to where I want to go.
    Except not on the Lido, I've only been there once.

    The Jules,
    Thanks, it is my favorite place.
    Birmingham, eh? I'll have to go there as long as it's not like Birmingham, Alabama.

    Aha, I thought as much. Just testing you.

    Dr Zibbs,

    Dutch Donut Girl,
    They didn't have safety bureaucracies back then. Think of all the money they saved by not having to put on hand rails!
    Also, it probably kept people from drinking too much.

    Yes, it was a nice view for sure!
    Gondolas are ok, but not when some of the tourists get an 'entourage' going of 1) singer, 2) accordion player, 3) flower holder guy???
    They are kind of relaxing though if you are just gliding through the canals, it's a weird 'floating' feeling. I guess it's one of the reasons they call this place 'Serinissima'.

    Green Ink,
    You will enjoy it! I'm excited for anyone that is going to Venice.

  10. Ohhhh, sigh... I want to go back!!!

  11. How much is 95 Euros in American dollars and was this place the gentleman was going pretty far?

    I love the back alley way, that is awesome...and the bridge w/o handrails totally wouldn't have kept this girl from drinking too much! ;o)

  12. LiLu,
    Well tell us about the first time you went!

    $150, no, not far... a five minute boat ride.
    The narrow ancient streets are part of what I love about Venice. I'll bet it wouldn't keep you from a glass of chianti or two...