Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Venezia: Day 1

The clock tower in Piazza San Marco
Basilica di San Marco (no photos inside, unfortunately...It's got an amazing gold-leaf ceiling!)
Richard & me in Piazza San Marco

One of my many canal shots...This one was close to our hotel

In front of every church, there's a square (piazza). This one is San Moise, in the heart of the higher-end shopping area (Ferragamo, Prada, etc.)
Gondole! (Seriously, every two seconds we had a gondolier asking us if we wanted a gondola ride..."Gondola, gondola? Romantico!" No, grazie. It's not romantic enough to justify the price...The standard rate is 80 euro for 40 minutes!)
This is what the pedestrian streets look like. I loved not having to worry about crossing traffic--we didn't even see any bicycles!
Gondole (gondolas) moored up for the evening
Richard & me having our first gelati outside Piazza San Marco
Richard & me in Piazza San Marco
The Basilica and the Palazzo Ducale
San Marco--when the sun starts to go down, all the gold really shines!

The winged lion is the symbol of Venice
Richard & me in Piazza San Marco

The clock tower in Piazza San Marco. They have a lot of these 24-hour clocks (we saw them in the Palazzo Ducale, too)

Our first glimpse of Venice--from the water, as it should be!

We arrived at Treviso airport on Saturday afternoon--it's a tiny little airport that only gets used by 2 little discount airlines, Ryanair and Whizz (seriously, Whizz?). There's a 40-minute bus to Venice for 9 euros, round-trip. Ryanair has a bit of a bad reputation, but I thought it was fine. I actually liked the bus ride--you get to see the mainland this way, which is so different from Venice itself.
From the bus station, we took the vaporetto (ferry) to San Zaccharia-San Marco, the stop closest to our hotel. The hotel was great--perfect location, nice and quiet, decent room with lovely windows that looked out on the little side street below. The free breakfast was good, too--bread, meat, cheese, croissants, several kinds of fruit, 3 kinds of cereal, coffee/tea, yogurt, marble cake, juice. They had grapefruit juice that was amazingly sweet--not bitter or tart like it usually is.

After we checked in and dropped our bags off in the room, we headed over to Piazza San Marco. We went inside the Basilica before it closed, and after that we just explored the area and ate gelato (mine was Tiramisu, his was hazelnut--noccio).

The guide book suggested a little place called Cavatappi as a good place for cicheti (tapas) and traditional Venetian cuisine (seafood, pasta). They're a wine bar, and they start serving dinner at 7pm. We got there at 9 minutes to 7, and the host told us that the kitchen was closed and doesn't open until 7. Did we want to have a drink instead? Um, yes, we'll order wine and then in 9 minutes we'll order food...jeez. He let us sit and look at a wine menu, and when he came back to take our order, it was past 7 so I asked for a food menu. He was very rude about it, and to be honest, we just weren't comfortable in the place. I spoke Italian to him, and he responded in English, so I was very sad about that, too. The food was ok, but they had run out of the pasta dish that I'd wanted (how is that possible when the kitchen had just opened and there were only 4 other diners there?).

We went to another wine bar on the way back to the hotel, and had miserable service there, too. My feet were really sore, so I wanted to sit down. It costs extra to have your wine at a table rather than stand at the bar, but I was fine with that. We found a table and sat, and the host took our wine order. He asked if we were having dinner and we said no, just wine (this was all in Italian). He repeated his question in English, and we said, again, in English, no, we just ate dinner. He said (in English), but it's dinner time, 8 o'clock is dinner time. He left, and when he came back with the wine, he told us (in Italian) that we couldn't sit there, that the tables were for people who were eating dinner and we'd have to go stand at the bar. I was ticked. He really should have told us that before he brought the wine, so we'd have the choice to stay or go. The only plus in that place was the fact that he did speak Italian with me, so I was less offended than I was with the guy at Cavatappi.

The rest of the trip improved--I learned how to deal with rude people and when to try to speak Italian and when to give up. Some people were lovely, and some seemed to hate tourists. I can't blame them--we did see a lot of badly behaved tourists (Americans, Brits, Germans, Spanish, Japanese--there's no one bad group, just lots of bad individuals!). But maybe if they hate tourists, they shouldn't live in a city that thrives on tourism?


Debbie said...

I'm so jealous of you two. Great pics, have fun! Only 2 weeks till my state board exams, hope I pass.

Molly Sisson said...

Thanks! And good luck on your boards--fingers crossed!

hotel Treviso Airport said...

It looks like you had some exciting moments in Venice, thanks for the review.

Treviso hotels said...

I am glad you had the opportunity to spend some beautiful moments admiring Venetian beauty.