Although neither of us had ever had a great desire to visit Venice, we decided to spend a couple of nights there to shake off jet lag and say we had done it. We were surprised how much we enjoyed our stay. Our hotel was on a side "street" very near the train station. It was comfortable and the people were very gracious. Our fears of crowds and fetid canals turned out to be unfounded. These both may have something to do with visiting in the wintertime.

I remember having more pictures of Venice, but I haven't located them. We are glad to have a local outfit, Rockbridge Area Occupational Center, that has people who can scan slides and produce digital images. (I don't remember the last time I dug out the slide projector and screen.) It has been fun to bring these pictures back to life.



Canal Grande Venice

Since we were planning to leave by train, we had specifically requested a hotel near the station, which is the opposite end of the canal from St. Mark's Square. Nevertheless it was a pleasant walk into the city with all of its attractions.

When we arrived at the airport, we elected to take a local bus to town rather than the vaporetto. Big mistake! The bus dropped us off on the mainland and it was a hike to the hotel, which was just around the corner from the Canal Grande. Had we taken to the water, we would have been taken directly to the train station.

Venice Boat Race

The comment on my slide was "boat race." There are annual races in Venice, but I don't find that any of them are in February or March. The Vogalonga is in May and the Regatta of the Ancient Maritime Republics appears to be in the summer. It rotates between the four ancient cities: Amalfi, Genoa, Pisa and Venice. I suspect these two flyers were simply practicing.

Everything in Venice proper is done by boat or handcart. In addition to the omnipresent vaporetti, water taxis and tourist gondolas, we saw delivery "vans," individual pleasure craft, and trash "trucks."

Venice Alleyway

The waterways ranged in size from the Grand Canal, to moderately sized by-ways to tiny alleys like this one where there was barely room for two gondolas to pass.

We did not set foot in a boat of any kind while we were in Venice. It may have been that we were afraid to sit down lest we go to sleep. We enjoyed walking around town crossing and re-crossing the canals and exploring tiny tucked-away squares.

We also didn't do much shopping. I did get a colorful papier-mâché Carnival mask that we nicknamed Carlos. It had a long hooked nose that managed to survive the trip home. I keep meaning to take it off the wall to wear some Halloween, but I never get around to it. I also bought a nice pair of earrings with a matching bracelet made of silver and glass beads. Venice is a noted glass-producing region. Many years ago we decided to buy only souvenirs that reflected the local handicrafts. We'll have other opportunities on this trip.

Venice Sidewalk Market Even though it was winter, there were numerous street markets with the most delicious-looking produce. Sometime after our visit I read an article in the Washington Post by a woman who had spent two months in Venice specifically to cook. I could relate.
Venice - The Rialto The Rialto Bridge is an iconic sight.
San Marco - Venice

St. Mark's Basilica fronts St. Mark's square. This is the only place we ran into crowds during our stay in Venice. I think it is MUCH more crowded during other seasons.

There was a lot of restoration in progress during our visit, which explains the screening to the right of the picture. The Campanile was closed and completely shrouded in scaffolding.

I don't remember why we didn't go into the church, but we didn't. It may have also been closed for restoration or services or perhaps it was just too crowded to get in.

The only things I remember about the square itself are high-end shops and pigeons!

Venice Train Station

Soon it was time to move on. We went by the Santa Lucia train station the afternoon before our departure to buy tickets. We don't know why but an old man, who appeared to be a street person, took a dislike to Jim and began to follow us around shouting in Italian. He was pretty threatening and, to our immense gratitude, several of the locals banded together to help us escape him. We were concerned that he would be there the next day, but he wasn't.

Our only problem that day was hauling our extensive luggage (two pairs of skis, boots, and bags containing ski clothes and regular clothes for two weeks) to the station. This included getting it over the Ponte degli Scalzi bridge, which had many steep steps up then down. It was the most grueling effort of the entire trip!

Jim at Venice Train Station

We quickly snapped up a luggage cart!

The Italian train system is notorious for erratic service, but on this portion of our train travels everything went smoothly. I even had the best meal I can remember on a train: a caprese salad with the freshest possible ingredients. Where they found the tomato at that time of year I don't know.

A smooth ride through the Alto Adige wine country brought us to Bolzano where we found the bus terminal just a short walk from the train station.

Join us in Ortisei, Val Gardena.