Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Catching up

June 9, 2012

It is almost noon on an overcast Saturday.  We are on our way to Riomaggiore, one of the villages in Cinque Terre.  We left our B&B in Venice after a leisurely breakfast and made our way to our car which was still parked where we left it, up on the 10th floor of the municipal parking lot.  Our VeniceConnect code for the prepayment was valid and we were able to spring our little car without any problem.

We entered the address of a restaurant on the street that we are supposed to drive to – Casa Lorenza did not appear to have an address – the instructions we got was to go to the National Park at the end of the roundabout and call her and she will come and get us.  Okay – we’ll  find out how that goes.

We had a little false start – Tom2 was telling us that it would take 6.25 hours to get to Riomaggiore.  Mapquest had told me it would take 3.5 hrs back in Richmond Hill.  So we pulled off to do a little more negotiating with Tom2 – turned out that we had told it to avoid toll highways.  A minor adjustment and we were back on the road.

Petros is driving while I am typing this entry to our blog in the back seat.  Usually, I fall asleep while I am not driving but I thought it would be more productive to blog instead.  We are a little behind and we have people who want to know what the heck we’ve been up to (at least I think we do!).  This is the first time I am typing on a laptop in a car – usually, I do the driving, but it is great to have Petros drive.  The speed limit on this stretch of the Autostrada to Bologna is 130 kms/hr which as Petros says, is Marvellous!  We do have to watch out for speed cameras and sudden drop in speed limits which seem to loom up rather unexpectedly every so often.  We were wondering how many unknown speeding tickets we have gotten so far.

Back to our 2 days in Venice:
Day 1 June 7 –   By now, I have forgotten what I’ve posted on the blogabout our arrival in Venice (yes, I can check but it’s hard in a speeding car with no wireless access).  So, perhaps you can forgive a little repetition.  We took a bunch of country roads so we can see a little more of the countryside.  We saw many a hilltop village from a distance.  

Hilltop buildings as seen from a speeding car.

We had sandwiches that we had made from the food we had back in the villa.  It took us a while but we finally made it to Venice.  We drove into Piazzale Roma, looking for the municipal parking garage that I had prepaid for parking.  It was not easy.  We drove around the mini round about and onto the road out of Venice before turning into what looked like a parking lot.  We asked the attendant where the parking was and if he told us where it was we did not understand him anyway.  He would not let us into the lot – he told us to turn around and leave. Petros drove back to the parking area back in the Piazzale and pulled over while we try to figure out where the parking was.  We asked at an information kiosk but the girl had no clue what we were talking about.  So, Irene and Florine started walking and I trailed after them.  The found the entrance not far from where we turned around.  Back to the car, one u-turn later, we were at the entrance to the parking building.  One look at us and the attendant told us to park on the 10th floor.  Off we went and the 10th floor was on the top of the building – open air parking and all vehicles from outside of Venice, many of which were parked badly.  Petros managed to find a parking spot and he and I decided to go and talk to the parking people as I had paid for a bigger parking space and we could not see any difference in the sizes of the spaces. The attendant did not really care about our prepayment and told us that all visitors must park on the 9th and 10th floors when I asked if we could park inside the parking building.  Venetian bureaucracy at its best.  We gave up and went back up to unload the car and head off to the vaporetto. 
Badly parked cars in the municpal parking lot.

We were able to get our transit tickets without any problems once we figured out that the machine that we were staring at had a touch screen that we needed to use to enter our purchase code.  It was a short walk to the waterbus station but it feels a lot longer when you are carrying/dragging luggage.  We found our way to the appropriate stop for line no. 1 and got on the vaporetto without too much trouble when it finally arrived. The view along the canal during the short ride to Ca’ D’Oro was pretty amazing.  Being the good tourons (tourist/morons) that we were, we snapped away at anything that looked halfway interesting.  We could end up with at least ten thousand photos from this trip. I think we had 8,000+ from our 16 day trip to California last September.

The buildings we passed on our first vaparetto ride in Venice, from Piazzele Roma to Ca' d'Oro

A vaporetto station

Buildings along the Grand Canal

We had to wait about 15 minutes for Thomas to show up to let us into the Al Palazzetti bed and breakfast.  The room was one of 4 leading from the breakfast room on the first floor.  There were probably 2 other rooms on the main floor and 1 upstairs.  We did not spend much time in the B&B but it was great to have a base inside Venice.  We took a few minutes to settle in and to decide on a place for dinner. 

Al Palazzetti Bed & Breakfast - we had the upstairs room with the 2 windows in the centre of the photo.

The bridge across the canal just over from the B&B
Florine wanted to go back to a restaurant that she and Petros had eaten in during their previous visit to Venice.  It was still open for business so we made our way to Osteria Al Assassini where we had an interesting dinner of baccala in 4 different flavours, liver and onions, prosciutto, bressola and arugula, house wine and tiramisu.

Petros and Irene nicely seated at the restaurant while Florine and I were shooting all kinds of random stuff.



Liver, onions and grilled polenta

Petros, killing the last of the tiramisu
After dinner, we took the vaporetto to St. Mark’s Square where we walked around and listened to a few different groups of musicians playing from various restaurants/bars around the area.   I took a bunch of photos in the square and am quite happy with this new camera.  It seems to be pretty good with low light shots.  Sometimes, the photos do not look like night shots at all.  It was very nice in the square at night. 
On the way to St. Mark's Square
La Salute Church

At St. Mark's Square

Tower at St. Mark's Square
There are not too many people around – most of the tourists have left and you can see the buildings better.  There were many naval types around the place and we passed some people in pretty formal attire, and there were people moving barricades and there was stadium style seating set up in one section of the square.  We kind of wondered if they were setting up or taking down, but as we found out the next day, they were setting up.

More to come.

1 comment:

  1. Well, it is a good thing that you were done with Venice by the 9th of June as there was a tornado that ripped through main Venice today for about 1/2 hr, June 12! Was in the news.
    Did you get to sip the very expensive coffee at cafe Florian while the band played?