In Venice …

(Note: The following post describes details from a previous trip, NOT a current trip.)

2013-09-26 09.15.23Thursday, September 26.

I did NOT have a good night’s sleep. I hope to make up for it on the bus ride to Venice.

After a shower in possibly the tiniest shower stall in Italy, and then breakfast, our group’s bus is on the road by 8 a.m.

During our lunch break at one of the rest stops, I have a brief chat with a physician’s assistant from Nashville (she’s not on our tour), who’s being dragged around Italy on her own non-stop trip, by her Italian husband (to see his friends and relatives).

A little later, while Mom and I are sitting at a table with Susan (the outreach nurse from Australia), an older Italian lady tries to make conversation with her. I think it’s quite sweet and refreshing, since our contact with folks outside our tour group has been extremely limited.

We arrive on Venice’s outskirts by about 4 p.m. From there, we take private water taxis to St. Mark’s Square, where trip leader Franco leads us on a brief walk around, along side streets to get us oriented.

2013-09-26 10.15.06From there, we’re taken to the small docking area for a 35-minute ride on gondolas through Venice’s canal system. Cheesy? A little bit. But I can see the “romance” factor if you’re with your sweetheart and want to do something that screams “Venice!”

But … I’m with my mom, who’s a bit nervous about the prospect of sitting sideways on a chair that’s been lashed to the inside of a tipsy gondola with rope. At least we have cushions on our seating to help pad out our ride.

The ride itself is pleasant, and – in addition to the boatmen dressed in their striped shirts, bandanas tied around some of their necks – there are musicians on a couple of adjacent gondolas, playing and belting out Italian classics, turning the cheese factor up a notch.

Following our return to dry land, we’re allowed about a half-hour to walk around, get a coffee/tea, or whatever we’d like.

2013-09-26 10.47.05St. Mark’s Square is lovely, but absolutely teeming with obvious-looking tourists like ourselves. You can barely look at, say, a jewellery display without literally smacking someone’s hand by accident.

(And no, grammar soldiers, I’m not using “literally” incorrectly. I actually did accidentally smack some poor Spanish lady’s hand while pointing at something. As you were.)

Franco collects the herd once again, takes us back to San Marco pier, and puts us back onto water taxis. At the other end, the bus drives us to the nearby town of Oriago, where we’re staying. Unlike the hotel in Assisi, the rooms are bigger, and the beds are firmer.

Dinner’s at 8 p.m., with a mimosa to start, followed by lasagne (pasta with bacon for Mom), salad, what I think is veal and potatoes, finished off with some “grandmother cake” (cake with lemon filling, and topped with browned almonds, which I eat), and tea. Mom says it’s the best meal she’s had all trip so far. Another victory!

Tomorrow, we spend another full day in Venice, but with a painfully early start from Oriago.