T and I took another of our patented, fabulous vacations, and we only got back last week. Where did we go? Venice, Italy. Then we got on a cruise ship and visited Kotor, Montenegro, and four ports in Greece: Corfu, Athens, Mykonos, and Argostoli. It was fabulous. Then back to Venice for an overnight before boarding a plane back to Chicago.
That was the plan, anyway. Turns out, airlines sometimes cancel flights; who knew?
We arrived in Venice without incident. When we got to the transit terminal on the main island of Venice, I could see our hotel across the parking lot, so we didn’t have to go far. Once checked in, we took the comically small elevator to the third floor (second floor in Europe. The ground floor is called that, and the first floor is the first one going up) and collapsed in our cozy room. I opened the shutters on our windows and this is the sight that greeted me:
We spent two more lovely days in Venice, during which we ate delicious food, window-shopped our hearts out, and managed to write (and mail) a few postcards. Last Christmas, T bought me a book on the history of Venice, and as we walked around, I regaled her with stories out of the book, though my fear is I told her the same story several times. We saw no cars on the island; all traffic and freight is moved around by boat. We rode a water taxi (called a Vaporetto) and listened to a Rick Steves tour of the Grand Canal. Venice uses its canals not only for transportation, but also for sewage. The tides flush the canals out twice a day; efficient and ingenious, but probably not so great for the environment. As a consequence, I never saw any fish in the canals – not even little ones. We never managed to take a gondola ride: they’re expensive, and for all the gondolas I saw, I never once heard a gondolier singing. Another myth shattered.
We met up with our friends Katie, Ned, and their daughter Rosalie, and did some sightseeing around St. Mark’s Square. We saw the famous bell tower, and it was here that all the walking finally caught up with T, and she had to stop. Ned and Katie had rented an apartment for their stay, and it was marginally closer, so we went back there for a rest and some gelato along the way before heading back to our hotel.
The next day we boarded the cruise ship, which is every bit as tedious and stressful as getting to the airport and boarding an airplane. T and I have been on cruises before — a couple of them on the same cruise as Katie, Ned, and Rosalie – so we all knew well what to expect. Since cruise ships are basically floating hotels, they need time to make up all the rooms after a week at sea. As we walked in we passed scores of people leaving the ship: cruise ships depart the same day they arrive, so it’s definitely hustle time for the ship’s staff.
Once the rooms were ready, we dumped our stuff and went to rustle up some late lunch. The main, buffet-style dining room was open and serving, and everyone else on board appeared to have had the same idea. Later, as the ship pulled out, we enjoyed spectacular views of Venice from the main shipping channel as we headed out into the Adriatic Sea.
Concluded next week!