Arriving at Venice near sunset proved a beautiful end to a hectic day. The train station lets out right near the vaporetto (water bus, or as DH calls them, Zapateras), and DH went to get us each a 24-hour pass. Following the advice we’d gotten from several sources, we took the #1 (the slowest bus) and sat in the open air back area to get a tour of the Grand Canal for cheap. Because of our timing, we did this right at sunset, so the lights were just coming on, and the place was bathed in pink hues. It was cool and nice and perfect.
We were getting off (luggage in tow) at the Arsenale stop to head to our room for the night. We had found a reasonable rate for a B&B (A Casa Mia/Colomba Apartments) through TripAdvisor at 120 euros (plus local fees/taxes) for a night. That is extremely good for being in Venice proper (versus the mainland/Mestre area). Most hotels run at least twice that much. What’s more, the B&B was filled up, so they had put us in one of the apartments they have for the night, so we had a big living room/kitchen, a washing machine (yay!), a big bedroom, and a tiny but serviceable bathroom (with a bidet! fancy!). Unfortunately, getting to the B&B (where we’d meet with our hosts) was a long walk, in the dark, through Venice’s relatively confusing alleyways. Fortunately, we had the advantage of my DH’s awesome navigation skills as well as specific and detailed directions from the B&B owners. Then, we had to walk quite a ways again (per my Garmin watch, it was around 1mi of walking total, though the Garmin got confused a few times and took awhile to find a signal) to get to the apartment. Given our late incoming train, and the (very good) decision to take the slow bus, we didn’t get into the apartment until around 9pm.
Now, I should also note that, though the vaporetto ride was cool, the weather was still a bit warm. The vaporetto provided a breeze, but there was no breeze as we were walking. Additionally, consider that Venice involves lots of stairs. We were used to that at this point, though I always dreaded lugging my 40+ pound suitcase (with probably another 10 pounds of electronics strapped to me) up the stairs and down the stairs to cross the various canals. So…yeah. And yes, I overpacked, but not as much as it seems. I had a fall coat in my bag as well as a couple of longsleeved items that I never used because the weather in London and Paris was warmer and sunnier than we anticipated. Otherwise, everything in my bag got used at least twice. It was a lot of work for one night’s stay, especially since we were getting in late. Also, we immediately started a load of laundry in the tiny-ish washer. Interestingly, it was a washer that also did extra spinning to get the clothes to damp-dry. We couldn’t find a clothesline to use, so we draped things from all sorts of surfaces and hooks to dry, but most Venetians use clotheslines strung across the canals.
Our hosts had recommended a restaurant to visit that was nearby (they pointed it out during our walk), and we headed there as soon as we’d figured out how to safely leave the windows open to circulate air. DH had a fried seafood plate and lasagna, and I had spaghetti and calamari. Everything was delicious, and we met another American couple there as well as a pair of German women (who laughed heartily at my pronunciation of Spiel des Jahres, in a good-spirited way). We also used the time to get oriented with the maps. We were now much closer to a different vaporetto stop (the next one down).
After dinner, DH decided to take advantage of the cool air and Venice’s walkability for a run. He ran over to St. Mark’s square and back, and he said there were tons of people there even that late at night. Meanwhile, I kept the laundry going constantly so that all of our dirty things were eventually washed and hung for drying. I also found a fan in a closet and set it up to help the airflow.
The next morning, we left early, as we wanted to be able to check out of our apartment at noon (which would keep us from having to lug our luggage over to the B&B again to store it). We visited St. Mark’s square and did the tour of the Doge’s Palace. Unfortunately, pictures were rarely permitted, so I don’t have much to share from that, but the square overall looks so much like the Venetian in Las Vegas that it’s freaky. We had planned to also do the Basilica, but the line was all the way back to the water just about, and we were starved for breakfast. We ended up each getting a waffle with topping (nutella for me, gelato for DH) for breakfast and then heading back to the hotel. (Oh, and I accidentally washed my Vaporetto pass, but it still worked despite being all crumbly! Yay for NFC!) We saw a cruise ship passing St. Mark’s, and that was quite a sight. We were looking forward to being on our cruise ship as it did that!
Our clothes were still scattered everywhere, so it took us a good while to gather everything. Our host came by to start cleaning while we were still trying to scramble together, and we apologized profusely for being behind. (We ended up leaving about ten minutes past noon.) After another vaporetto ride, we were at the Piazza Roma aboard the tram to the ship docks in short order. It was another long walk down the pier, but we knew refreshment was not far away! 🙂