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Venice 2007

Venice, Italy

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I hadn't been to Venice since I was a teenager so was looking forward to another trip to this most picturesque, unique island city. After an early morning, quick flight to Treviso Airport and a short coach transfer (€9 return) we found ourselves in Piazzale Roma with our last view of wheeled transport for four days. However despite the fact it only took us a few hours to get here it took us almost as long to get to the hotel to check in! Our hotel, The Residenza Cannaregio, was situated in the Cannaregio neighbourhood, spookily enough, a quiet, unspoilt residential area of Venice. We knew the address but the Venice numbering system is up, never mind on, the wall! We also knew that the numbers were continuous along off shoots, alleyways and courtyards but they didn't always follow that rule, drat. Still after having a most needed relaxing cappuccino in the Oteria Bea Vita, Fondamenta delle Cappuccine , and getting directions from a very helpful waiter (the only one cheerful one we met all holiday) we found the hotel not too far away.

After obtaining a very clear map and recommendations of places to see/things to do from the helpful desk staff at the hotel we were 'all set', as our American cousins would say and started to make our way round this fabulous city without further ado. Even in just the first afternoon I'd run out of memory space on my camera (I'd left some cards in the hotel) there was so much to photograph. As Lisa said, the place was like one huge film set, every turn into another canal, courtyard or alleyway offering more to snap at!

On the following day we got a 24hour pass for the Vaporetto (water bus) which not only offered us a great overview of the city, which allowed us to plan out where we wanted to go for the rest of the trip but a chance to relax the legs after all the first days walking! This ticket proved great value at only €15. The vaporetto stop (San Alvise) is only a 3-4 minute walk from the hotel and our first trip was to the 'slumber style' (as in the Bond film) cemetery on San Michele. Interesting stuff, but cover up if you want to visit (same rule for the churches). Then we hopped back on to the next stop of Murano, where we took in a visit to a glass factory.. Flamin hot!

Later that afternoon we took a vaporetto (No 1) right along the Grand Canal with its historical and famous past and ended up on the Lido to get a glimpse of Venice in its lagoon as the sun slowly sank. (Again an excuse to rest the feet).

On the third day our last vaporetto journey as time was running out on the ticket, took us to Piazza San Marco for a more in depth look at its treasures. A trip up the Campanile (€6) gave us a cracking 360 degree view of the city well worth all those steps (psst ok ok there was a lift). Also we visited the Basilica, a breathtaking place glistening with golden mosaics, leaning walls and uneven floor. Up the stairs to the museum to see the original Loggi dei cavalli. The horses that now adorn outside are replicas thus saving the restored ones from all those pigeons no doubt. We took lots of snaps of the Doge's palace but didn't go inside but… did get to see the famous paintings of the Accademia Galleries, higher up the Grand Canal such as the Tempest, the miracle of St Mark freeing a slave and the last supper.. er I mean Supper in the house of Levi (ie bring your own blasphemy party!). In each room of the Accademia there is an English translation information sheet which really adds to the enjoyment, making it more meaningful. Are those friezes really shaped like that in Room 11 or it is just an optical illusion?

Our flight wasn't until four ish so we still had some time on the last day to have a look round the Ghetto (So called after the foundry that existed there.. Getto means forge) where an increase in population caused an increase in, low ceiling buildings to seven floors in height.

Oh and as for food and drink… Our first bill included an overcharge, which I refused to pay. The beer was very expensive but found the wine to be great value. We ate at Al Gazebo (and fed their cute dog too!) and Lord Bea Brummel, Lista di spagna, both recommended. Venice is not the place to go if you like a booze up and a party (it only has one disco!). We did find one bar, Moscacieka, near the Rialto which proved useful to quench a lunchtime thirst!

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