Friday, October 20
Today is another travel day, we are being driven to the train station in Florence and from there we are taking the train to Venice, about 2.5 hours. When we arrived in Venice, our guide was nowhere to be found so I contacted Tasneem and she informed me that an assistant would take us to our private taxi. Stepping out of the train station in Venice was awe-inspiring. The private taxi was of course a water taxi. This was a bit of a challenge for Edie to get in and out of, but with help she managed. The taxi is actually took us on a tour (without the aforementioned guide) down the Grand Canal, then some other smaller canals and all the way out to Murano and back to Venice to deliver us right to our hotel. Dinner was at our hotel.
Saturday, October 21
Today we are doing a boat tour of Burano and Murano. Helaina was our tour guide. Burano and Murano are islands near Venice know for glass blowing art, and fine lace making and colorful houses, respectively. On Murano we watched a glass blowing demonstration by a retired glass making master, then his old apprentice made a beautiful horse figurine. From there we toured the shop/museum and I bought a pretty piece of art, two drinking glasses like the ones we saw the master making, and pair of earrings. Edie bought a pair of earrings too.
On Burano we walked about and appreciated the colorful houses and lace we saw in shop windows.
Helaina told us the best way to get to the Rialto Market and bridge, so after we got back and retrieved the wheelchair for Edie, we got on the bus and took off for the market – without paying for a ticket. We are fugitives from the law because we didn’t know better! LOL. We went up on the Rialto Bridge, had dinner at Cafe Machiado and really enjoyed the day.
Sunday, October 22
Alan and I had a gondola ride around Venice this morning. It was wonderful and romantic. I had been sad that Edie wouldn’t get to enjoy a gondola until I nearly twisted my ankle getting in to ours.
After we returned, we walked to the water bus station and bought tickets (we decided not to press our fugitive luck status a second time) and we took the water bus in order to go see the Bridge of Sighs. This meant taking it as far as it would go (up past Mario) and then getting off. We had noticed something going on in the city, and Alan figured out that it was a marathon – the Venice Wizz Air Marathon. There were blockades along the streets for the runners. It also meant no crossing the street where we needed to cross in order to view the Bridge of Sighs. We finally figured out that we could duck under one of the short ramps for the runners to avoid the stairs to get to the other side. It was a squeeze, but nothing compared to the tunnel in the Great Pyramid of Egypt! After getting a picture of the bridge we tried to walk back to our hotel, but the blockages prevented it. So back we went under the ramp and to the water bus for a lift back to the block where our hotel was located.
Later all of us went on a food tasting tour of Venice which included ten bridges. To get over bridges Edie would get out of the wheelchair and walk with her cane and use handrails on the bridges. Alan would fold and pick up the wheelchair and carry it across to the other side where she would get back in it. He was such a hero. Our first food stop was a typical Italian neighborhood bar where we got seated inside among boisterous and loud folks along with a speaker at full volume cranking out 80’s and 90’s rock. We had prosecco and we tried some typical cicchetti, which is Venice’s version of tapas. Ours were baccala mantecato (creamed salt-dried cod), simoncini sarde in saor (made with a local fish – not sardines – from Venice’s lagoon), and a cooked onion over a shrimp, all served up on top of rustic bread. From there we walked about a bit more then we each had a Spritz, and our meal which we’ve forgotten. After that we visited a local sweet shop and got goodies to go because we were all full. On the way back to our hotel we noticed the “American Embassy”, McDonalds. They are everywhere.