First Day in Venice - WOW !!!!!

Trip Start Aug 14, 1992
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Trip End Aug 26, 1992


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Where I stayed
Hotel Panada

Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Sunday, August 23, 1992

Took one last look at Florence from roof of hotel, bid farewell, hoping to return soon, taxi to Stazione Santa Maria Novella, train to Venice, and then in Venice for the very first time in my life walked out the doors to the top of the steps leading to the dock. I don't believe there is any feeling quite so amazing as that first look at Venice, with boats plodding along the Grand Canal, and hundreds of tourists going every which way. We boarded a vaporetto for the first time (I'm becoming redundant, I know, my apologies, constantly saying, for the first time this, for the first time that, but forgive me, it was all just so wonderful and overwhelming back then). That vaporetto ride was abolsutely astonishing, and wonderful ! We took pictures, swept under the famous Ponte Rialto, wound around, to finally reach, after about 45 mins, the dock of the Piazza San Marco. Now I would have just walked to the hotel, but back then, being afraid of my shadow in new places, hired a porter, who led us through the crowded Piazza, one of the most recognizable places on earth, through a maze of streets right to the hotel. In retrospect that was a great idea to have the porter. I believe it cost 20,000 lire, and very dime worth it ! The hotel was small, lovely, smallish but charming lobby, and the A/C appeared to be good. Up to room which was smallish, and then right out to the streets below, and started our trekk by heading towards the Rialto through the backstreets, over the bridge, to the other side, north to the bridge of the Stazione, across that bridge and back to where we were a few hrs earlier upon our entrance to Venice. Strolling the winding streets of Venice in less touristy areas has always been my favorite way to enjoy this extraordinary 1200 yr old city. Passing little campos (the Venetian name for piazza), over countless bridges, across small winding canals with gondolas paddling their way through, clothes hanging from windows, children playing, old wells, elderly sitting on benches, absolutely breathtaking and amazing. We crossed right in front of the train station and then found our way to Lista di Spagna through the area known as Canareggio to a restaurant recommended in Frommer's. A lovely outdoor place right on the street with hundreds of people passing by. The owner, Gino, and I hit it off immediately, and we received excellent service. He even took my credit card right in front of a table where a few minutes earlier he told the patron that his credit card machine was broken ! I recall his taking a photo of us at that table. We tried to find our way back to the hotel, but fatigue set in, so we found our way instead to a nearby vaporetto stop and boated back to Piazza San Marco. On board I took a photo of Jen and Wendy just about asleep from fatigue. We disembarked and spent some time in the Piazza San Marco listening to the competing bands from the cafes along the piazza, and eating gelato, that was not quite as good as the gelato in Florence. I recall it being very hot and my ice cream melting as I ate it. I thought Venice, being on the water, would be cooler, but no way. Back to the hotel and slept quite soundly, until early the next morning....
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