Thursday, December 05, 2013

Venice 2013

Our trip on the Orient Express ended at the Santa Lucia railway station. The transfer from station to hotel was by water taxi, given Venice's watery nature the only sensible way to make the trip.

Mary had done her research and booked us two nights in the Hotel Al Ponte Antico that had rave reviews on Trip Advisor. It is a converted palazzo (palace) and had amazing high ceilings complete with frescoes. The location was unbeatable, right on the grand canal with its own balcony and a view of the Rialto bridge - stunning!

View of the Grand Canal from the balcony

View of the Rialto Bridge from the balcony

The bar and dining area

The ceiling of the bar and dining area

After checking in and a rest we went out to eat at Osteria Antico Dolo recommended by the hotel owner. Busy and full of other tourists; we had to wait to be seated but were too tired to look elsewhere. Very authentic, local food but I made a poor choice. I had not realised that the tagliatelle with squid would be in a squid ink sauce. While an unusual and typical dish, the blackness of it all and the grainy texture were not really what I had been looking for. Oh well.

Osteria Antico Dolo

That last time we were in Venice was in 2001, at the time of the twin towers so I can date it easily. We had the Cadogan Guide with walks for each of the six sestiere or neighbourhoods. Then we did one per day but on the last day time constraints meant we had to truncate the Cannaregio walk. This time we had a full day in Venice on the Saturday so literally retraced our steps and completed the entire sixth walk.

Cannaregio - door

Cannaregio - bridge

There were masses of tourists about, especially Italian tourists, because the Friday, being All Saints' Day, was a national holiday.

Piazza San Marco

We manage to find an excellent little bistro for lunch - Osteria ai 40 Ladroni - that was everything I had been hoping for the night before. Full of locals and tasty, fresh cooked food.

Cannaregio - gondola park

That evening, thanks to more research by Mary, we dined at Ristorante Algiubagio [] down on the Fondamente Nove. That was a much more satisfactory dining experience - a class restaurant with excellent food and wines - a suitably romantic, candle-lit supper.

Ristorante Algiubagio starter

Our direct flight on Sunday from Venice to Bari had been cancelled some weeks back so we had ourselves rebooked via Rome. Unfortunately the large number of Italian tourists returning home after the weekend meant the queues were horrendous. It took forever to do bag drop and security - we were only just through the scanners at the same time as our flight was due to leave. Stress levels sky rocketing. Fortunately so many people were in the same boat (plane?) as us that they had to delay the flight - we were part of an entire busload of passengers similarly delayed.

At Rome we had a reduced connection time as a result. Fortunately both flights were domestic so no formalities to queue for. As luck would have it our arrival gate and departure gate were not only in the same terminal but directly above one another. We only had to go down on escalator and so made our flight easily; not so our luggage…

We arrived at Bari and waited until the carousal was empty and then reported our missing luggage. There was a later Rome-Bari flight so we were hoping the bags would make that. Mary was worried because "the dress" plus the cufflinks Mary gave me on our wedding day and some other nice stuff were in those bags.

Later that evening the airline called to say the bags had arrived in Bari and they would be delivered to our apartment in Cisternino the next day. Sure enough around 10:30 the bags were delivered to our door - big sighs of relief all round.

No comments: