Tuesday, October 10th, 2000 Day trip to Venice
Not raining but very overcast and colder than yesterday. Taking the umbrellas in the backpack just in case. Off to the train station with our extra breakfast roll in the pack. No lunch-meat, just a good continental breakfast. Probably good as we both need to lose a few pounds, especially me as I'm eating about the same amount of food as Jim! Not Good!
Caught the 9:26 am train to Venice. Should take about an hour. It’s the milk run, stopping at every town, but we’re not in a hurry. Arrived in Venice and caught the #1 Vaporetto to the Accademia Bridge. It’s a wood bridge built in the 1930’s as a temporary. The citizens liked it so much they petitioned to leave it! Along the way we noticed that it was high tide. The water was above many of the doors into the buildings and they had the benches out for people to walk on in most of the plazas.
Since San Marco Plaza is the lowest and the first to flood I’m sure it’s covered. But by the time we got there the tide was out and we missed seeing that aspect of Venice. Oh well, seen it before! Arrived at the wood bridge and we went to the Accademia Gallery. It’s filled with the best Venetian paintings in the world. It started as a private collection by one man and then Napoleon arrived, took the best art out of all the churches and put them all into this one museum. Right now they have a special exhibition of Bellini Paintings so they are all gathered in one room. His colors are so brilliant, especially the blue. Jim found one that he particularly enjoyed so we purchased a post card of that one for him to take home. It was the “Madonna col Bambino tra le Sante Caterine e Maddalena” by Giovanni Bellini.
Finished with the Museum and took off to find the Boatyard. Took a bit of doing and it also started to rain. Yep, it’s raining again! But we finally found it and it was worth the effort. Looks like a boatyard from the twelfth century or earlier! Back to the Accademia looking for Rick’s favorite Pizza Corner. Didn’t find it but did find a pizza place called Caffe Bellearti on the corner next to the Museum. Had a coke and mini pizza and started on our tour of Venice after purchasing some postcards.
After lunch we started walking towards the Rialto Bridge as I knew that the McDonalds there had a toilette! Arrived and found that they’d gotten smart, they put a lock on it and you needed a code off of a receipt to use the bathrooms! But, all you had to do was wait for someone to come out and go in before the door closed! Actually, we later found public ones for only 1,000 Lire each in the Bartholomew Square (right at the Rialto Bridge) that were great! Something to remember for next time.
Off to San Marco Square. So many signs, it looks like they send you in circles to walk past every store on the island. It’s shorter if you use your map and find your own way. But then you tend to get lost. But, as Rick says, you’re supposed to get lost in Venice, just remember that it’s an island! Lots of birds and tourists in San Marco Plaza. The orchestras are still playing. There were two out this afternoon. The scrim is finally down from the front of the Ducal Palace. First time we’ve seen it without. The clock is still covered with work scrims. Checked our old hotel and the area. Thought about getting a drink and listening to the music, the rain had temporarily stopped, but decided to do something different.
We decided to start with number ten of Rick’s Pub Tour and work backwards. It’s too early and most will be closed, but I don’t think we’re going to do it tonight. There are actually thirteen in the book. They are really a challenge to find. Small little holes in the wall with a few tables and mostly standup! Most also serve food or ice cream, etc. Some were open for business all day. We found six of the seven that we searched for. By that time it was nearly four in the afternoon. Off to find Harry’s Bar which is very near San Marco. By this time we were over by the Rialto Bridge again. Found Harry’s…very crowded. Mostly Americans who want the added experience. They only serve drinks, mostly cocktails. I enjoyed a scotch on rocks (Chives Regal) and Jim had two different drinks: A rum punch and a Bellini which is the drink developed by Giuseppe Cipriani who founded Harry’s Bar in 1931. It was financed by a wealthy Bostonian named Harry. Made famous by Earnest Hemingway it is a favorite tourist stop now for Americans. In years past it was the stopping place for famous stars and politicians, even presidents.
Nearing the end of our first round, we had watched what appeared to be two Americans standing looking for a place and they’d finally given up. We caught them on their way out and invited them to join us for a drink. They were from Minnesota. In the process of retiring, no children, she was a banker and he is an attorney. Started with a firm of sixty and now has over three hundred. Has an office in Newport Beach so they were familiar with Orange County. They are now selling their home in Minnesota and have a summer place in Oregon and a winter place in Tucson Arizona. Very nice people. When the bill arrived each drink was 23,000 Lire plus 5,000 for each person. Remember 2200 Lire = $1.00...do the math! Lots of fun but expensive!
Warm and cozy we braved the rain and headed for the #1 Vaporetto and the train station. Caught the 7:00 pm train to Vicenza. Fortunately we had talked a little to the older Italian lady who shared our compartment. She knew we were only going to Vicenza and told us when we arrived. We were both so relaxed we were napping and would have gone all the way to Verona! Walked home to the hotel in the rain and had dried bread (from store in Belgium) and candy bars for dinner! Made some phone calls home before calling it a night...ending another great day!