Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Wandering Around Venice

Arriving in Venice, we made our way from the train station to the vaporetto (water bus). We waited about 2 hours for the one we needed. We noticed some type of regatta in progress, which apparently closed the waterway. 

When the vaporetto service resumed, we crammed in with a bunch of other tourists and proceeded to our stop. 

Our lodging for our stay in Venice was at the Don Orione Religious Guest House. The fifteenth-century building was once used as a convent by the Jesuits and later a public orphanage. After the fall of Napoleon, it was purchased by Don Orione to help the needy people of Venice find jobs. Fairly recently it was renovated to become a Religious House of Hospitality and a retreat center. Proceeds from the 62 room guest house are used for charity work. 
A lovely spiral staircase led us to our 2nd floor room (we had the option to use the lift.)

Our room was like a dormitory, free of decoration with  2 beds, 2 chairs, a desk and a large bath. It was immaculate! An Italian breakfast was included in the room rate.

After breakfast, we were pleasantly surprised to hear a choir warming up in the court yard beneath our window. 
We also heard a flute player practicing in the room next to ours, which led us to believe some type of music retreat or conference was being held.

Rick Steves, in his guide book, suggests one just get lost in Venice and discover "off the beaten tracks," so we did. We wandered over bridges and
down narrow streets
taking in the beauty, 
stopping for pizza and gelato and finally found our way back to the guest house.

The next morning we ventured over to Murano to see the famous glass blowers.
No, we did not purchase any of the beautiful Murano glass (except for one small pendant.)

We had only one scheduled tour in Venice, the Classic Venice Bars Tours. Alessandro Schezzini, a connoisseur of old bars serving wine and traditional cicchetti snacks, was our tour leader. 

Along with us and eight other American tourists (and Rick Steves groupies) he led the way to three different local bars. He is quite the entertainer, making light of the American cuisine, language and wine. When asked for dinner recommendations, he led us to a restaurant. Since we did not have reservations we were asked to wait for a table. We didn't have to wait long as we were seated shortly. But not our new American friends; why, because we were older! After sharing that with us, the maitre'd was afraid we were offended. We assured him, not at all; 15-20 minutes later our friends were seated next to us. It was a delightful evening.

We are now in Rome where we will end our Italy adventure. We have had a grand time exploring but we both are looking forward to returning home on Friday.

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