Monday, April 8, 2013

Travel day, hotel hassles, walking, high tide

Today, I bid farewell to Firenze.  I hope I get to see her again one day, but it was time to move on. 

After a wait at the train station and a little over two hours in the wonderful first-class train car--a bargain and a great way to travel--I left another train station to see this.

As always, click on an image to see a larger version.

Yes, it's Venice, the city of water taxis, the city that is slowly sinking.  I visited here for about six hours in 1985.  My most notable memories are of the smell from the trash-laden canals and the stink of the pigeon shit on my head, a gift I received within five minutes of entering St. Mark's square.  Much has improved here since then, so I am looking forward to a vastly better visit this time. 

The water taxi ride to the hotel was big fun and offered many fine views, even on this chill, damp day.

The hotel, on the other hand, was a bust.  Though it received top marks everywhere I searched, it was over-priced, tatty in the extreme, and, worst of all, utterly deficient in the bandwidth department.  After the third room yielded no happiness, I insisted--to the chagrin of staffers all the way to the manager--on leaving. 

I'm now happily settled into an equally rated but far nicer hotel, one in which I was able to bargain for an amazing room at quite a reduced (though still rather high; this is a luxury tour) room.  The room includes an amazing terrace that wraps around two sides of it.  Here's a shot of the Grand Canal in the distance. 

This one is from the other end of the terrace.

A very helpful clerk made a dinner reservation, but after spending over 70 minutes on what was supposed to be a 15-minute walk, the restaurant's location was still a mystery.  Dinner at a touristy place was completely adequate salad and pasta.

I have never walked anywhere that is even as remotely difficult to navigate as Venice.  At the same time, the tight dark alleys and the twisting, turning lanes invite the fantasist's imagination to run wild.  How could it not, with images like this waiting at the ends of canal-facing alleys? 

On the way back to the hotel, high tide was hitting its peak and leaving water all over the city, as here, around chairs that had, only two hours earlier, sat on dry ground.

The path back included stretches on these platforms, which crews had spread around the city in anticipation of the tide. 

I've never been anywhere that such measures were necessary, but I'm glad to have walked on them here. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Of course you have to go back to Firenze! Once you fall in love with her you cannot resist her call to return. I've been back in the US a week now after 2 weeks there and I miss that city like mad. I look at my videos of Easter morning at the Duomo and they make me smile.....a rocket-propelled dove shooting out of the church and setting off a cart loaded with fireworks...... home feels very, very dull right now.


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