Day 1: Venice

Venice Travel Blog

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View of Italy from the plane

On Nov 18th, nine members of NoVA Travelers (www.meetup.com/beautiful-life) set out on an 11 day Mediterranean tour led by yours truly. Although we were all leaving on the same day, the group had three separate departure times from Dulles airport. All went smoothly as planned except that three members could not be located who should have been on the plane with Jon and I. We found out later that evening that they arrived to the airport too late to check-in, but had made plans for another flight that afternoon and would land in Venice on the 19th as originally planned.

 

Jon and I were excited to try out Delta's BusinessElite service for the first time.

Views of the Canal
All those trips we took in 2008 and earlier in 2009 paid off handsomely in that we had more than enough miles to upgrade both of us from coach to the front of the plane for this transatlantic trip. If you follow the steps I lay out for making it through a long plane ride in coach you will find that you arrive perfectly refreshed and relaxed and ready to start your vacation in Europe - but it certainly helps to create the relaxed mood when you've flown in the comfy business class.

 

The next morning we arrived on schedule at the Venice airport and wandered down to the rendezvous point with the rest of the group (sans the missing three). This time two more members went missing but  were quickly found to have transferred to the hotel early because they were wanting to rest. So the four of us remaining left the airport and took the water bus (Alilaguna ) to San Zaccaria (a stop in downtown Venice near San Marco Plaza).

Views of the Canal
Our first water bus ride! It was exhilarating and our first taste of Venice tradition. At Zaccaria, Jon and I parted ways with Judy and Diane as their hotel was within walking distance of that stop, while we continued on to our hotel after a transfer to the hotel's water shuttle across the water. Our hotel was on the small island of Giudecca, directly across from the main islands of Venice and afforded us a fantastic view.

 

The first evening the members took the opportunity to relax and enjoy a mellow evening as they pleased. Jon and I used the hotel shuttle to transfer across the canal to the Zattare stop and walked to the Accademia (famous art museum of Venice) to squeeze in a tour before they closed. The neighborhoods of Venice are just so beautiful. They are built on a collection of islands with canals criss-crossing the landscape the way streets do elsewhere. For this reason there are no cars in the main sections of Venice and to get anywhere you usually need to walk over bridges, take a water bus/shuttle or both. It's a slow way of life as while you could cross a street at any point elsewhere in the world and your only penalty is a possible jaywalking ticket, crossing a canal at points other than a bridge or by boat will have you in the water.

 

We found that the Accademia had some beautiful works of art, but it is quite the small museum compared to the larger museums we are used to in DC or NYC. Once we browsed the collection we strolled around the Dorsoduro (the neighborhood surrounding Accademia) and eventually made our way to a beautiful church at the tip of the island.  It's an exercise in navigation to see a large landmark such as the church across the neighborhood and try to figure out exactly which bridges to cross to get to it since many alleys turn into dead ends. After the long flights, the water bus rides, the walking walking walking, we were spent. Of course since this is Venice, we couldn't just walk back to our hotel and crash- we had to wait for the water shuttle. It was about this time I decided that while the boats were entertaining, living in Venice would be a headache for those with a lack of patience like myself.

 

monky says:
Congrats on your featured blog!
Posted on: Apr 02, 2011
HcoPartygirl says:
Awesome job and wow you make me wanna jump on a plane and go to Italy right now. lol I hope you had an awesome time.
Posted on: Apr 02, 2011
jenniparks says:
thanks. i woke up to a lot of comments. this is unexpected (to be featured) but lovely. I'm getting ready to put out my Thailand blog this weekend. :)
Posted on: Apr 02, 2011
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View of Italy from the plane
View of Italy from the plane
Views of the Canal
Views of the Canal
Views of the Canal
Views of the Canal
Venice Hotels & Accommodations review
Fantastic hotel in a historic building with excellent customer service and breakfast.
Venice
photo by: asturjimmy