Venice Travel Blog

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View from our table during lunch, Ristor. Roma.
  The boys loved the train ride.  We didn't try to find a dining car and had a meal of bread and cheese in our compartment with some good wine. 

 We didn't get to see much of the French countryside as the train left late, around 2100 and it got dark around 2200.   The conductor warned us to lock our doors at night so I guess theft is an issue.  Back in 99 or 2000 I was on a train from Munich to Copenhagen and the Dane that was sharing my compartment thought it was silly that I locked the compartment door.  "Europe is not like the US" he said.

  I'm glad to say that the only issue encountered on the train was having to get up in the night and use the toilet. I woke up at Brig Station in Switzerland and on the way out of the station see a car parked with a guy passed out and his girlfriend trying to wake him up.   I snooze a little more and wake up again in Iselle, Italy so I have a fair idea of the train's route through the mountains.
View from San Giorgio bell tower.

 Upon arrival I bought our train tickets to Ancona (93 Euros) and then bought bus and vaporetto passes for the next 48 hours.  Each pass is priced according to the time you will use it, for instance we paid 28 Euros each for a 48 hour pass but a 12 hour pass is only 16 Euros.  112 Euros is a lot of money for 48 hours worth of transportation passes but it turns out that it's not so bad as each vaporetto ride (water bus) costs 6.50 euros. We would have paid 26 Euros for just one ride. 

We found out at the end of our stay that the bus fares are very cheap.  Instead of taking a train each day into Venice the #4 and #4a bus stopped right in front of our hotel.  Our pass ran out on the last day right after we took our last vaporetto ride.
View of St. Mark's Square
  I went to buy bus tickets and they were only 1.40 for each ticket back to Mestre.   Bottom line if you are going to spend most of your time in Venice walking and taking two or less vaporetto trips during a day then it is probably best to forgo the pass.   We noticed that most locals did not seem to validate their passes at the scanning machines so at times we didn't bother breaking out our passes and scanning them.  Same with the bus, especially when it was crowded.  We only noticed an attendant at the entrance to the vaporetto stands a couple of times.  Don't know if the locals have a different long term card or if fare evasion is widespread (probably a little of both).

Michiyo found a good hotel in Mestre, across the lagoon from Venice.   With all our bags and for our first visit  (hope there will be more visits) it seemed better to stay on the mainland.
Flooded square
  We stayed at the Hotel Defino and even though it definitely was a busy tourist hotel I believe we got good value.   We were able to get a family suite of rooms, the boys with their own beds.   This cost us 148 Euros a night, breakfast included.   If we ever return to Venice with the boys I would definitely look at the Delfino again.   If it was just Michiyo and myself then a couple of romantic nights in Venice itself would be in order.

Hotel Delfino was about a 15 minute walk from Mestre station.  Our train arrived 1000 and we were asked to come back around 1400 - 1500 to get our room so we stored our bags and took the #4 bus from across the street.   From the bus station we walk past the train station and see a likely place for lunch.  It's close to the station on a square and bound to be set up for tourists but we were hungry and the view was good.
San Marco Campanile from San Giorgio bell tower.
   This was the Ristorante Roma.   The link has two negative reviews.   I guess we have good luck as the waiter was friendly when we arrived and maybe stayed friendly because I decided to splurge on the fresh fish that was just being bought in.  The boys enjoyed their pizza.  We can't comment about the wine as I had beer and Michiyo a drink but even though the place was pricey we enjoyed our first meal in Venice.  At the end of our meal we had to send Ray to find the waiter and ask for our check as he was digging into his own lunch in the back.   That's all right, unlike the negative reviewers we rarely worried about tipping in either Paris or Italy.

After dinner we got on a vaporetto to Lido but took the one going to the north of Cannaregio instead of through the Grand Canal.  I bought the Rick Steve's Venice guidebook and for only 12 something it was good value but I wish it had a map of the waterborne routes.  No worries as we could use the tourist map and it had all the information needed.   If Stevo's book wasn't so cheap I would recommend just studying the sites you want to visit, learn about the bus passes from message boards, and forgo the guidebook.

One thing I had noticed while our train was approaching Venice but especially when the Lido boat was taking us around the outskirts is that Italy is plagued by a graffiti problem.  Fortunately one rarely sees graffiti on historical buildings and churches but that ugly LA graffiti tag squiggle style is all over the place. 

We made sure our return boat trip was through the Grand Canal and then returned to the hotel to get cleaned up and buy groceries from the supermarket next to our hotel.    After a small rest we took the bus back into Venice and then the boat to San Giorgio.  I highly recommend taking a boat to the island and visiting the church.  It's just across from the crowded St. Mark's square so if you are looking for a good view from a tower instead of waiting in line at St. Mark's square you can get a good view from here.  Tintoretto's Last Supper and Manna from Heaven are well worth the trip.  While we were inside the church a choir came in.  They seemed to be high school kids and even though I'm not really one for singing even I could tell that they had great voices and it added a very nice touch to our visit.  We stayed a while to listen.

After San Giorgio we took the boat over to St. Mark's Square and looked around.  There was only an hour left for the Dodge Palace Museum to be open so we skipped that and the line in from of St. Mark's was still long so we decided to visit them the next day and went to look for dinner.  St. Mark's was flooding and there was only a crowded little causeway in the middle.   We took the long way around and at dinner at the Ristorante Piccolo Martini.  I must be the Ying to most of the reviewer's Yang because my link to TripAdvisor has two favorable reviews.    For us the food wasn't bad and the waiters were excellent so I hate to knock the place but the food quality was like a chain US Italian restaurant.   Not often the boys say they don't really like the pasta or pizza.   If this wasn't our first dinner in Venice I would have felt better.     We were lucky as this was our first disappointing meal on the trip.

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View from our table during lunch, …
View from our table during lunch,…
View from San Giorgio bell tower.
View from San Giorgio bell tower.
View of St. Marks Square
View of St. Mark's Square
Flooded square
Flooded square
San Marco Campanile from San Giorg…
San Marco Campanile from San Gior…
Venice Hotels & Accommodations review
Hotel Delfino is on the mainland at Mestre. If trying to save money or with children then I would raise my rating to a 5. It is a busy tourist … read entire review
photo by: asturjimmy