Chapter Twenty Five – Picture Perfect Venice

Central Europe 2008: From The Czech Republic to Poland to Austria to Croatia to Slovenia to Italy

DSC05162Chapter Twenty Five – Picture Perfect Venice

Day Twenty Seven – A Near Slip Up, By Giorgio What A View, No Abbot In Castello, Who Is That Masked Man, Alas No Cat Puppets, Up On The Rooftop (part two), Intimate Canal Dining, Not So Wild About Harry’s And Battle Of The Bands (San Marco Style)

There is nothing quite like having your breakfast on a sunny, Venice morning overlooking a canal, but that is just what the four of us did at La Calcina.  After my requisite number of espressos and cappuccinos (perhaps I should invent intravenous caffeine), it was on to the nearby Vaporetto (we purchased the two-day pass), and after a quick little ride, we arrived at our first destination of the morning, San Giorgio Maggiore.  Somehow we had missed this on our previous Venice excursions.

DSC05119I had wanted to visit this 10th century church on our last visit to Venice, but the weather had not cooperated.  Today, with the sun booming down upon us, I knew the views would be spectacular.

DSC05121It was so beautiful that Tracy wanted to have her picture taken near the canal.   Over the years, I have taken numerous “Tracy in Peril” pictures throughout the years, much to the consternation of her mom.  Of course, she’s not really in peril, but we just make it seem that way in the photos.

DSC05124As Tracy feigned falling into the canal in front of San Giorgio Maggiore, she actually lost her footing on the slick surface, and starting slipping and sliding on the pavement and for a briefmoment, I thought I might have a real “Tracy in Peril” photo of her floating (hopefully) in the canal.

VENICE 3Tracy made a smooth Michael Jackson Moon Walk move and regained her footing, so it was on to view the interior of the church and then get to the top for the beautiful views.

DSC05127                                    VENICE 23 CANAL

After zipping through the downstairs interior, we bought our tickets to visit the campanile.  We were directed to the elevator.  “Elevator?”  I said.  Yes, there would be no stairs on this journey.

DSC05126The views over San Marco and all of Venice were fantastic, and out in the distance we saw a huge church.  As we perused our guidebook, we determined it was Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Castello, so we decided that would be our next stop.

VENICE 2Dubbed by some, “The Pantheon of Venice,” it is run by a Dominican order.  It is also the place where the Doges’ funerals were held.  More than 20 are buried here.

shapeimage_8                                         VENICE 5
After a quick bite to eat, we stopped by a shop that was making and selling masks.  It was a husband and wife team, and the masks in this shop were quite beautiful.

DSC05131He gave us a lesson on how to differentiate between a mask made in Venice and one made in China.  Obviously, I had killed too many brain cells, because five minutes afterward, I didn’t remember, but we did buy a mask, which the shop owners signed as a gift.

DSC05156Kim and Mary and the two of us then went our separate ways for the afternoon.  We had made our nightly La Calcina rooftop patio reservations and would hook up with them in the early evening.

DSC05179We then went in search of the infamous Cat Puppet store where we had purchased one in 2005.

DSC05177I don’t know if it was because of our sadness or the store didn’t have as many choices, but Cat Puppets would not be purchased on this trip.  Instead, I opted for another Café Corretto, meaning I was now ten times over the caffeine limit for the day.

DSC05096We took a circuitous route back to La Calcina (the recommended way to visit
Venice) and stopped at another mask store in Dorsoduro (they said they had made some of the masks for the movie “Eyes Wide Shut”).  Since I had never seen (nor ever will) the movie, I took them at their word. I did have my picture taken with a masked man and had my eyes wide open (under the shades).

DSC05144Tracy then took a little nap, while I walked over to a little wine shop.  A short time later, we were back up on the roof for “Vino Time.”

DSC05105We set off for our restaurant, Cantinone Storico, which was located on a little canal near our hotel.

DSC05158The dinner was enjoyable, but not overly memorable.  What made this place so nice was being able to sit outside on the canal.

DSC05159We were graced with yet another beautiful Venice evening, and we wanted to take advantage of it. It was the type of weather that made it the perfect evening to participate in the Venition tradition of “walk and get lost,” so the four of us leisurely wound ourselves through the alleyways, every once in a while coming upon another little gem of a canal.

VENICE 1 CANAL DARKIt’s no wonder that I used to go through a ton of rolls of film when I visited here before the digital age.

VENICE 25 HARRYSAs we got near the Piazza San Marco, we walked by Harry’s Bar. Since we were going to plunk down a wad of Euro in just a few minutes, a $40 martini seemed a tad extravagant.  Plus, we had other mwrhods to spend too much money.

VENICE 12 ST MARKS SQUAREThis was our fourth visit to Venice and we had never wandered over to Piazza San Marco late at night to hear the “Battle of the Bands,” but that would change this evening.  We made our way to Caffé Florian, which has been here for nearly 300 years, and sat down at one of the tables, which means even before we were served, we were officially destitute.

VENICE 10 ST MARKSFor the next hour and a half, we enjoyed a couple of champagne cocktails each and the delightful orchestra.  Of course, we paid way too much money, but enjoyed every minute of it.  When “our” orchestra took one of its breaks, we could hear the orchestra playing from the other side of the piazza at the Caffé Quadri.

VENICE 11Am I glad we finally decided to experience this Venice tradition?  Absolutely!  Would I do it again?  Only if my portfolio gets back near to where it was when we were in Venice.  We navigated our tired bodies back to La Calcina and went to sleep knowing our epic trip was nearly at an end.

Next: Day Twenty Eight and Twenty Nine – Some Like It Not (Not Us), A Day At The Opera (House), Sighs Matters, Stoppa The Grappa, The Last Supper, I Shutter To Think Where His Camera Went And Arrivederci Venezia

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