Stopover in Venice

Venice Travel Blog

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Our apartment - on the left
Saturday, 10/10/09

My parents and I had rented an apartment for a couple of days, and my brother and Melissa had gotten a hotel room, so they went off in a water taxi, and my folks and I took the bus to Piazzale Roma. It was raining, so we took the bags and popped into an enoteca right on the Piazzale Roma. I figured it would be ridiculously touristy, but it was convenient. Turns out, we picked THE place for locals...no English on the menu at all, and all regulars inside. The food was great (appetizer: zucchini with a sardine stuffing), and the staff (and the regulars) were incredibly helpful, pointing out how to get to the rental office and then how to take the vaporetto to our apartment. I left my folks to finish the wine in the restaurant, and ran off to get the key from the rental office, which was right over the bridge, buying an umbrella on the way.
View from the terrace of our rented apartment
It felt like being a double agent - I had to find the address, locate a mailbox, enter a code and retrieve a key and a map.

I collected Mom and Dad and we took the vaporetto over to our apartment in Dorsoduro. It was only about 3 blocks from the vaporetto, and a really funky place - 2 flights of stairs in the apartment, more framed art than I imagined could actually fit on the walls, and another glassed-in hole in the floor with a fake architectural find in it, just like the villa in Sicily. My room was the 3rd floor, and had another set of stairs for the terrace, overlooking the rooftops of Venice.
Mom and Dad trying to decide which vaporetto
There wasn't a really comfy place to sit - the only couch was an antique bed with a sign admonishing lodgers not to sleep on it because it could break and "you could hurt yourself," and the dining room table took up the whole living room anyway. But it had everything we needed. We took a little rest, and then a little walk around just to show my folks the town a bit in the light.

Eric and Melissa had been to Venice a couple of times before and had a restaurant they really wanted us to try, so they gave us the address and we set out to meet them. I warned Mom that we would probably get lost, that this is normal in Venice, and not a cause for alarm because eventually you find where you want to go. We used our map and for the hell of it, Dad took his GPS. When I realized his GPS was giving the same walking directions as the map was, I gave up on the map because it was hard to read in the dark.
Eric and Mel at dinner. My brother apparently likes to put bowls of fruit on his humpback.


We were probably 20 minutes late in arriving, but we kept in touch with Melissa by cell, and she said it wasn't a problem because this place didn't turn the tables over anyway. The food was awesome - especially their vegetables, which was finally great for Melissa, who had to put up with meat put into everything in Sicily - even dishes that didn't list meat in the description. Mel said we had to try the Melanzane in Saùr (eggplant sweet and sour), which was indeed fantastic. It was a tiny place, and the owners were also serving, and they showed us a photo album of their trips to Hollywood where they apparently go once a year to cook for parties thrown by producer Joel Silver. It was packed with photos of them and celebrity actors: Nicole Kidman, George Clooney, etc.
Love that Venetian architecture
I asked teasingly when they were going to take my picture for the book. I live near Hollywood, and I'm a performer! So they took a photo with me. And they gave us the recipe for the eggplant. Really fun night.

Sunday, 10/11/2009

My folks went to the museums and galleries they really wanted to see (the Peggy Guggenheim, etc.), and I took off on my own for a shopping day. I wanted to use the internet which Eric and Melissa had free in their hotel, so I went over to their place to Skype Morgan, and tried to upload pix here to my blog from my iPhone (and none of us nerds could figure out how to do it). We went to grab lunch afterwards, and then I saw the silk shop that I love - Venetium Stadium - where they make silk the way Fortuny made it 200 years ago. Gorgeous stuff, and those Moorish-style silk lamps I've been looking at for absolutely years.
Looking across at La Giudecca
Even tried to find one I could afford on the internet. Well, I still couldn't afford it, but I did finally buy one. Melissa offered that she and Eric could subsidize the purchase as my Christmas present this year, so that helped. She also helped me pick out a couple of dressy purses too.

Then I went off on my own to find souvenirs for me and gifts. And found a lot. Love shopping in Venice. I also ran into a swell exhibit of antique musical instruments inside a church. Went back to the apartment to get ready for dinner, and then Mom, Dad and I met up with Eric and Mel in Piazza San Marco and looked for a restaurant. Took awhile to find something that didn't look full of tourists. I had told Mom that the best bet was to look for menus that don't have much English (or other languages) on them.
Murano
That rules out a LOT of restaurants. We finally found a good one (with English on the menu anyway!) - surprisingly in a hotel. Very fun waiter - excellent service in general. It was a ritzy-looking place, and although I enjoyed the 2 dishes that Eric and I shared, they were basic, and I think Mom, Dad and Mel had much better meals. But it was a fun night. Took a bunch of photos in Piazza San Marco afterwards, listening to the 3 bands that were playing.

Monday, 10/12/2009

Eric and Mel left for the airport, and my parents and I took the vaporetto to Murano to check out the glass places and see if we could find the same red cordial glasses I had bought them 13 years ago (3 of which had broken over the years).
The replacement cordial glasses my folks bought (the one in the front)
We went to the place where I thought I had bought them. The salesman said all the records since 20 years ago are now in the computer, but he still couldn't find my name. We did find a very similar cordial glass. The salesman wouldn't sell them individually, so it was 6 glasses for 1100 Euros. We high-tailed it outta there. Much further down the canal we found another place, and the salesman said of COURSE they sell them individually, and took us upstairs to the fancy showroom, and they had the same glass which they'd sell for 100 Euros each including tax and shipping. Sold. We sat down with the guy, he had cappuccinos brought in and we had a great conversation with him.

Mission accomplished, we grabbed some gelato and took the vaporetto back. We stayed close to the apartment for dinner - and it was again a great place.
Flying from Venice to Geneva
I was surprised at how good the food was in Venice this time. The last several times I was here it was difficult to find a good meal.

Tuesday, 10/13/2009

In the morning I saw my folks off to the train station where they will be taking panoramic trains from Venice to Lugano to St. Moritz to Lucerne and then meeting back with me in Lausanne, and I took the bus to the airport to my Baboo flight. The plane had red and white flowery decoration on the wings. Gorgeous weather on the flight over the Alps.
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Our apartment - on the left
Our apartment - on the left
View from the terrace of our rente…
View from the terrace of our rent…
Mom and Dad trying to decide which…
Mom and Dad trying to decide whic…
Eric and Mel at dinner.  My brothe…
Eric and Mel at dinner. My broth…
Love that Venetian architecture
Love that Venetian architecture
Looking across at La Giudecca
Looking across at La Giudecca
Murano
Murano
The replacement cordial glasses my…
The replacement cordial glasses m…
Flying from Venice to Geneva
Flying from Venice to Geneva
This annoyed me...looked like Disn…
This annoyed me...looked like Dis…
The Bridge of Sighs - the buildi…
The "Bridge of Sighs" - the build…
View from Eric and Mels hotel room
View from Eric and Mel's hotel room
Eric in a familiar pose...at the c…
Eric in a familiar pose...at the …
Ran into an exhibition of old stri…
Ran into an exhibition of old str…
Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco
La Giudecca
La Giudecca
At our San Basilio vaporetto stop
At our San Basilio vaporetto stop
The glass shop where they bought t…
The glass shop where they bought …
From the vaporetto, leaving Murano
From the vaporetto, leaving Murano
Mom and Dad
Mom and Dad
Flying from Venice to Geneva
Flying from Venice to Geneva
Flying from Venice to Geneva
Flying from Venice to Geneva
Venice
photo by: asturjimmy