29th March 2019 - 3rd April 2019
We went to Venice to spend my birthday, I planned it as my birthday present to me. We arrived at the top of the stairs outside the railway station looking at the Grand Canal, already I am in love with Venice. A man with Hotel services on his shirt took out bags to the water taxi and then charged us €10 for the privilege when it was all of 20 meters. In a taxi on the Grand Canal, I forgave myself and carried on being in love with Venice. Our hotel was not far off the canal under the most gorgeous bridge. It is one of the oldest hotels in Venice we are told. It was exquisite.o had told us about was close. A few directions (the wrong ones from a policeman) and we found it. Fabulous lunch back to the hotel to a bottle of bubbly and the end of the afternoon, slightly inebriated. Well it’s my birthday!!
We settled in and then wandered over the bridge to a shopping street and a square. We sat in the square and waited for service. The waiter said to wait and carried on cleaning tables, we waited for 15 mins and walked off to a lovely little place called the Blubar. The waiter Alex was fun and very busy, but the service was amazingly good, we got to eat.
The Rialto bridge is great but the bridge in Florence has my vote. Walking around Venice is easy and fun crossing canals etc. The Basilica and St Marco square is not far, we checked it all out and saw a military parade. Then found Harry’s bar just down from the square. This is the bar that Hemingway drank at and the place the Bellini was invented, we decided we had to have a drink. We had been told the places in St Mark’s square are expensive, we had to take out a loan for 2 drinks at Harry’s Bar ($100 Aust.) glad it is not in the square.
On our walk back to the hotel, a gondolier was toting for trade. I told him he was to expensive (cheaper than two drinks at Harry’s Bar, but he did not need to know that!!) he dropped €10 off the price, into the gondolier we got. Fabulous, he even sang for us a couple of times. Talk about romantic. Then back to Alex at the Blubar for a cheap drink!
Our hotel had a free trip to Murano to see a glass factory, it was a great trip over, the two of us in a water taxi. The glass factory was an occupational health and safety nightmare only 12 people work there, and they are trained by their father etc. Most of the glass was very kitsch, not what I would like, but some was lovely and some just amazing. We were supposed to pay for our taxi fare by buying something the salesman completely lost interest when I explained how we had no room in our suitcases and no home address. We were almost given the bums-rush to the door, so funny. We walked along the canals of Murano, and found a lovely shop run by an American lady we chatted and soon became best friends. I got some great Christmas presents from her shop she gave us some tips on what to do and where to go (and a great place for my birthday dinner). She told us the ferry trip to Burano is worth it.
A wait in the longest queue to get on a very full ferry got us to Burano. A very pretty place all the houses are painted bright colours, it was a happy look. They also make lace there, beautiful. I wish I had an empty suitcase. The trip home was also by ferry with heaps of people. We should have purchased some glass maybe they would have paid for a taxi home!!
A trip to the PO was worth a mention It was very hard to find and did not even have a sign on it, it was up a small back street and we eventually found it, with a little local help. The woman behind the counter said she had run out of stamps and to come back tomorrow!!!!
On my birthday I got best wishes from the hotel and we went to the Doges Palace. I had organised a tour. They said to arrive an hour early because of the queues. No queue we walked straight in so had an hour wait!! The tour was great we went into lots of closed areas where the treasures of Venice had been held. The treasures were mostly from the dowries of girls who had become nuns. We learnt a lot about the history of Venice and how the Doge was an elected office. He had apartments in the Palace but most of it was Senate administration and a prison. Casanova was famous for escaping from it, his prison was pointed out it looked rather nice on the same level as the Doges apartments. The prison got to small and a new one was built which is accessed by the Bridge of Sighs. One of the Doges was very frightened of being assassinated he commissioned the artist Titan to paint a fresco of St Christopher, the saint of travelers (not a real saint). We saw the fresco above the door from the Doges apartment to the Chapel and Senate rooms. Oh, the Doge was not assassinated he died of over eating eels at Christmas dinner!! The Doges apartments which we visited after the tour are jaw dropping. Magnificent does not do it justice. They have just finished cleaning and restoring them. I could have spent an hour looking at each painting and days lying on the floor looking at the ceilings.