Date: Sat 22nd June
Highlight: Blown away by Venice
After sharing our final breakfast with our ‘gypsie’ friends and bidding them farewell and safe travels we headed back to Florence to return our sporty Alpha Romeo hire car. This ‘simple’ drive was causing much angst and hours were spent examining the map to find the best route. We managed to fill up the car with diesel after sitting at the petrol station searching for the lever to flip the fuel cap – such high tech mod cons are not necessary in Italy, you just have to release it from the outside! Actually getting the petrol out of the pump was the next quandary, however after a bit of time, all was sorted. The drive into Florence did not cause us too great a problem and we arrived at the train station to catch the train to Venice with 30 minutes to spare.
Arriving in Venice was quite overwhelming and vey hot! After queuing for 15min to get a map of Venice at the tourist information office, we were told it would cost us 3€ and wouldn’t include the transport routes, so we went next door and purchased a map and sightseeing book for €5! Our Italian tourist information experiences haven’t been that wonderful.
We bordered a ferry bound for San Marco to experience a ride up the Grand Canal,which resulted in a squishy, slow sojourn up the Canal. After disembarking, we made our way through the narrow winding streets and over bridges, our eyes agog at the beautiful Murano glass shops, the masks, the leather, the designer brands. We walked through San Marco Piazza, looked at the basilica (from the outside) and then headed off to find our accommodation, which was next door to the Scala Contarini del Bovolo (unfortunately this building is now closed to the public). We were shown to our room by a lovey older lady, We think she has transformed her family home into a guest house, keeping some of the rooms as her private quarters. We were greeted by a splendidly authentic Italian decorated bedroom, complete with all the stuff from years gone by, but more exciting was the fact that our room was on a canal, only one floor up, so we could each look out windows at the passing traffic below. We also had the luxury of a private bathroom, but we had to navigate from one end of the floor to the other to get to it!
By the time we had checked in and hit the street, all tourist sites were then closed, so we set off to simply stroll the streets aimlessly and enjoy all that there was to offer with the views, the narrow streets, the squares, bridges, all very fascinating! Whilst we did get lost on a few occasions, the maps are useful and there is good signage directing you to the main areas that do help a lot.
We ended up with a very late diner of pasta (possibly due to all the Gelato’s consumed). Then back to our accommodation and dropping into bed being lulled off to sleep with the gentle lapping sounds of water from below as boats quietly moved about at this late hour.