September 1, 2006. Venice, Italy. The hotels in Venice are mostly converted palaces of former aristocracy. Our hotel is called Pensione Guerrato, and we’re staying on the top (4th) floor. There’s no elevator, so we climb four long flights of stairs–made longer by the high ceilings.
Shortly after Roberto checked us in, Monicka came on duty for the red-eye shift. She’s a young, friendly, classically dark Italian woman. Apparently she works all night every day except on weekends. Roberto’s co-owner, Piero, works mornings. Piero appears to be in his mid-thirties and is just as out-going as Roberto. They’re a fun bunch.
Last night we fell into bed exhausted and, despite lots of street noise, conked out pretty quick. But we both woke up in the middle of the night (don’t know what time–there’s no clock) and were wide awake. I finally sank into a deep sleep sometime dawnish. The partying continued all night, and we also discovered our room overlooks a service alley. Workers started banging carts down the cobbled street long before daybreak. Tonight the windows will be closed, and we’ll both wear earplugs.
Breakfast is served from 8 to 10 AM in a room off the lobby. We arrived about 8:05 and sat at a table next to a couple from St. Louis. Each place setting already had a croissant with peach filling and sugar sprinkles. There were several varieties of cereal, fresh fruit, and caraffes of hot and cold beverages. Much to my delight when I served myself coffee, it was espresso. The next caraffe contained steamed milk. Latte!
I started this entry last night (9-1) but couldn’t stay awake to write, so I’m finishing it Saturday morning (9-2). Slept great! First good night’s sleep since leaving Texas Wednesday. So nice! So, to continue yesterday’s report: After breakfst we went to a pharmacy (one block from the hotel–it pays to ask directions) and bought a toothbrush, toothpaste, and eyedrops. Then we set off for San Marco Plaza.
“You sure this is the right direction?” I asked George.
“Oh, yeah,” says he, as he confidently led us the opposite way. We ended up at Piazalle Roma, the parking area where the bus dropped us off to catch the vaporetto. Piazalle Roma is at one extreme end of the Grand Canal, and San Marco is at the other. Great navigational skills, Giorgio! 🙂
A smart person would buy a vaporetto ticket for 5 Euro and ride to San Marco, enjoyng the full Grand Canal experience. We walked. And walked and walked. We saw lots of beautiful Venetian views. The colors are amazing: walls in muted terra cottas, mustards, and reds; forest green shutters and overflowing window boxes. Weathered boats docked in mazes of narrow canals. Enchanting. We must have walked ten miles, though. We were a couple hours off the Rick Steves’ pace when we finally reached San Marco Plaza, the world’s largest pigeon preserve. We sat on the steps a while to rest our weary legs and listened to a live orchestra playing tunes from My Fair Lady. We decided to ride the vaporetto to San Giorgio Maggiore Church on a small island. It contains Tintoretto paintings of “The Last Supper” and “Manna from Heaven.” The architecture is Greek style by Andrea Palladio. I took lots of pictures.
We ate lunch at a deserted cafe on the island beside a marina full of yachts. I had a fresh green salad with tomatoes, carrots, and chunks of creamy moxarella with blasamic dressing. Yum!
(I’m stopping here because I have only two internet minutes left. I’m off to explore more of Krakow, but I’ll be back. Later . . .)