Bespolka Home Page   Summer 2002
Tuscany, Italy   Vienna, Austria


The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Venice, Italy  -   29 June - 1 July, 2002


Location Latitude Longitude Elevation
Venice N4526.067' E01220.327' -2 meters


Weather: Mostly clear, blue, and sunny skies. Very hot and breezy.



Venice - even with all the tourists, it is always a charming place to go to and spend some time.  We (along with Carl's family of four) took the train up from Tuscany, where we had been spending a couple of weeks.  It was a pretty uneventful train ride - we were just glad that we had booked seats, otherwise we would have ended up standing the whole way - with two children and lots of luggage.  We had packed a lunch with us, so we were also well fed.


29 June, 2002

We cross the causeway and pulled into the Stazione Santa Lucia (on time - my, Italian trains have changed).  We unloaded all our bags, snagged a few trolleys and then headed out to catch transport to our our apartment.  There are, of course, no cars in Venice, so we decided on a water taxi - not much more than the public transport given all our bags and people, and loaded up.  It was a great way to ease into Venice life, cruising to your apartment on a old, wooden boat through the ageless canals.


We are met at the pier by the travel representative, who shows us to our apartment in the Dorsoduro district.  It is a charming place.  Three bed rooms, a living room and a good sized kitchen.  We are here for only two nights, so we only really need the bedrooms.  After getting settled in and washing up, we head out to dinner.


Our first choice is full, so we wander the streets to find another - a wonderful thing to do in Venice anyway.  In the end, we find a charming little place, where we eat out under the sky in a small courtyard.  The service is friendly, the wine is good and the food is excellent.  We are happy with our little find.  And then, of course, we have to finish off the evening with some ice cream.  We head down to the lane on the edge of the Canale della Giudecca and find a good ice cream place that is open.  One nice thing about the area where we are staying is that it is not too touristy - locals even live here and patronise the restaurants.  Always a good sign.


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30 June, 2002

Today is a good touristy day - we get around and see many of the sights.  That is the nice thing about Venice - you can just wander the narrow lanes and see what you come upon.  It is hard to get lost for long - there are always key landmarks to look for.  In any case, it is just an island.  Unless you fall into the water, you cannot go to far.


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Towards the late afternoon, we decide to take one of the vaporetto (water buses) around the canals of Venice.  We end up taking one of the boats that goes all the around the core group of islands that form Venice.  It is a nice slow way to take in Venice, as we cruise along the canals that are at the heart of the city.  We cruise all the way around and end up right near our apartment.  We head back for a quick rest and a wash as we prepare for dinner. 


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Tonight we decide to head out to a restaurant that prepares typical Venetian cuisine.  It is a bit touristy, but we have a great dinner.  We did have to change tables at the start of the meal as we were getting a whiff of the nearby canal, but that is part of Venice these days!!!  After dinner we walk to Piazza San Marco and wander through the square taking in all the sights and sounds.  There are the bands at each of the restaurants competing against each other as they try to draw in customers.  Locals and tourists are strolling through the great square. Pigeons are flying overhead (spreading signs of good luck, or so they say).  It is a clear, night sky.  The old, graceful building, in particular the basilica, are lit up in all their glory.  A wonderful evening.


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Once we have taken in all the we can, we decide to head back.  We take the cheap romantic night ride on the vaporetto.  It is short, but sweet.  Then a short stroll back through the narrow, winding lanes and we arrive back at our apartment for the night.


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1 July, 2002

The morning is spent on some of the most important tourist attractions in Venice - Piazza San Marco, the campanile (the 96 meter bell tower) and the Basilica di San Marco.  We wanted to do these in the morning as we were hoping that there would be less tourists.


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First we take the lift up the campanile (we wanted to walk up, but they do not allow that anymore) for a view around Venice and the surroundings.  It is a clear day and we can see far.  It gives another great perspective on the city.


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Once back down on the ground, we line up to go in and see the Basilica.  We never remember it being this crowded, but the line moves fast and we are soon inside the 9th century church.  Much of the wavy floor (due to uneven settling into the swamp below) has been closed off, so we are restricted to certain areas.  We spend quite some time taking in the many different aspects of the church , from the floor, to the wall, to the columns up to the roof.


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We then head up to the upper level and the balcony for a view of the piazza.  It is a bit less crowded up here and it is nice to be able to take in the square, without all the crowds and pigeons.


Now it is Jacqui's turn to go shopping, so we head off the tourist paths to the shopping paths and see how much damage we can do.  Jacqui is only moderately successful (she gets into a bit of a mood due to her frustration at not being able to find much).  We get an ice cream and then head back to the apartment.  We pack up our bags and have a quick shower.  We are allowed to leave our bags in the apartment, so we head out for some more shopping and then meet up with Carl and family in Campo di San Margherita for dinner.


It is a nice spot - there are a lot more locals than tourists.  In fact, there seems to have been some sort of graduation.  All these young people having been drinking all afternoon, with some being tied up, stripped and drenched with water.  Good thing it is a warm day!!!


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Then it is back to our apartment to check out, collect our bags and catch the water taxi back to the train station.  As with the arrival in Venice, it is a great way to leave.  We make our way through the canals to the train station, where we load all our bags onto a couple of trolleys to go find our train.


We are taking the night train to Vienna, our next destination.  This is quite an adventure for the children (and we must admit for the adults).  The Bespolka boys had often traveled through Europe in the summers by train, taking the overnight trains to save money, so it was a bit like traveling down memory lane.


We found our train, loaded all our stuff into the compartment (which took a number of trips and artful packing into the limited space) and waited for the train to head off.  We had stocked up on some food, but we went out and picked up some more drinks.  There was some confusion whether we needed a ticket for little Carl (we got conflicting advise on what was the age cutoff), but the lines were too long to get final confirmation, so we just decided to see what happened on the train.  In the end, it all worked out (the conductor came by after the little ones had gotten into bed).


The train departs on time just before 9 PM and we have a good start to the train journey.  The children are very excited and it takes some time getting them ready for bed and to settle down.  By the time they are sleeping, the adults are ready to head to bed.  When we wake, we hope to be arriving in Vienna!!!


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