On Thursday morning, after spending one night in a chain hotel near the Venice airport, since we arrived at 10:30 pm the previous night, we packed up and took a city bus to Venice, crossing the long bridge that serves buses, cars, and trains. We had a 48-hour pass for all public transportation in Venice, so that covered the bus, as well as all the water buses called vaporettos that navigate throughout Venice. We got very good use out of the passes, hopping onto vaporettos just to get around and see the sights.
We easily found our way to our hotel, just a short walk from a vaporetto stop. The hotel, Boscolo Venezia, is in a restored palace, and it’s just beautiful. By far the nicest place we have stayed (or will stay) on this trip. They upgraded us to a two-story suite, with a king bed on each floor, gold brocade fabric on the walls, granite floors with antique carpets, and a fancy marble bathroom. Thank you, Marriott Rewards points!
Outside our suite is an opulent sitting area shared by the four suites that open from it, decorated with paintings of the original wealthy family members who owned the palace.
After getting settled in our room, we set off on foot to explore Venice. We crossed bridges over canals, went through alleys and streets lined with shops, restaurants, street vendors, and lots of tourists (although crowds are not as bad as they could be).
At 4:30 pm we had reservations for an “Offbeat Venice” tour with Alessandro, who we found out about from the Rick Steves show on PBS and his books. There were about 10 other people on the tour, several of them in town on a cruise. The tour was lots of fun, and informative at the same time. Alessandro is a hoot, very animated, strong Italian accent but easy to understand.
After the 4:30 tour we had also booked Alessandro’s 6:00 pm “Bar and Cicchetto” tour, taking us to three restaurants to have different wines and appetizers. That was even more fun than the first tour, and everyone enjoyed themselves a lot. All the tour participants were from either the US or Canada. After the tour ended, most of us stood around visiting for about a half hour, and we made plans to meet another couple for dinner the next night.
We got off before our hotel stop, so we could go to a small market and buy some bottled water, and have a gelato, after which we took some wrong turns and ended up wandering for about a half hour, trying to find our way and getting lost, but eventually finding our hotel. By then the alleys and canals were pretty dark and deserted, but the weather was warm and it was a nice evening for some extra walking.