Tuesday, April 2, 1996 Venice, Italy
Up about 9 am, had a lovely breakfast with full buffet. Four star Hotels are great to stay in....so glad that we had the International Entertainment Book and someone who spoke the languages to make our reservations! (As far as I know...they no longer have this book available.) It’s not raining yet but very threatening outside. We took off to find a pharmacy for Barbara for her nicotine gum and to exchange money at American Express. Jim found another Exchanger that was cheaper than American Express so they each saved about $5.00.
We went back to the hotel for a WC stop and to get our umbrella as it’s starting to rain. We headed towards the Ducal Palace for the tour. Not too long of a tour but did get to go over the Bridge of Sighs. That is the bridge between the Palace and the Prison. It got it’s name because of the sighs of the prisoners as they made their last trip of freedom over the bridge. I said that it was given that name because it had two sides…we went over one way and back another. By this time, the water was really beginning to flood the boardwalk on the Grand Canal. The center of the St. Mark’s square is flooded. Shop owners were sweeping the water out of their shops. They have platforms all over to create walk ways.
By this afternoon the water had dropped nearly four feet at low tide. Jim read that we could get a 24 hour water bus pass. But we didn’t want to buy it until about 1 PM so that we’d be able to use it to get off the island to the car. Jim and Barbara had also been negotiating all morning with various taxi drivers for a free ride back and forth to the Glass Factories on the Island of Murano which can only be reached by boat. We got into a boat, a beautiful classic wooden motorboat, that dropped us at one factory called Signoretti SRL International. They showed us how they made a vase and a horse…but we couldn’t buy these as they would need more time to properly cool. Then we were taken to a showroom with Museum quality pieces. A set of six glasses were about $700.00. Jim kept saying we couldn’t afford what they were showing us which made me mad as we all know we could afford anything we wanted, we just don’t believe in spending that kind of money on glassware! Oh well, we ended up purchasing a very pretty little vase which had all the Venetian colors and was reasonably priced. I was in dire need of an attitude adjustment by the time we left the factory. Took me several hours but I managed to regain a better attitude. Barbara was trying to find a statute of nudes or lovers depending on how you looked at them for her son's mother-in-law, but, couldn’t find one that she liked. If she had we'd have probably gotten a better ride when we left the factory.
When we asked for them to take us to the other part of the island. They put us on a boat and dumped us at the nearest water bus stop. Assuming that we were on Murano, we followed different paths that lead to nowhere. Guess we didn’t spend enough money!
It was starting to rain and we finally went back to the bus stop. Caught the number 52 bus and had to pay a penalty for not having our tickets purchased prior to getting on the bus. That ended the 24 hour bus pass ideal. But we finally got back to the Grand Canal and put our things in the room before leaving for a walk to the Market area that Barbara wanted to show us. We walked and walked and walked….still raining…..saw a flea market and lots of shops but never the one she was looking for. But we did walk over the Grand Canal on the Rialto Bridge. This one has two rows of shops as well as two walkways. Another famous bridge that we crossed during our very, very long walk was the Accademia Bridge which is one of the few wooden bridges that remain.
We were looking for the restaurant that the lady on the water bus coming in had told us about. Finally found it but it was only about 5:30 PM and it didn’t open until 7 PM. Another American couple was there at the same time, her name was Holly. She was very upset with her husband. We named him George. They’d also been told about the restaurant and had spent time looking for it. Finding food seems to create a lot of arguments on trips for tourists! They caught the water bus and we continued to walk back towards St. Mark’s Square looking for an open restaurant. (Many years later we finally enjoyed a meal at her favorite restaurant...we checked the times before we went this time!)
On the way we found the hotel that André & Manfred like in Venice: The Kette, which we’d been looking for since we arrived. It was down a side street just the other side of St. Mark’s Square. Finally decided to go back to Alfredo Alfredo. As we were entering the square, we saw Holly and “George” again. Barbara yelled out “Holly” they turned around with a very surprised look on their faces. We recommended they find Alfredo’s. But, they didn’t follow us. We finally found Alfredo’s and had another delightful dinner. Then back towards the hotel, stopping for ice cream cones for dessert. We stopped for two small bottles of water. Back at the hotel, Jim decided to go walking for another hour. Barbara and I decided to stay in and watch CNN.
Another nice day with a few problems but not many. It is still raining. We still see hair on both boys and girls and adults that has been dyed a bright orange or deep maroon red. Very unusual to us but we see enough of them that it must be a common fad.