We were sad to leave Florence but are excited to be in our new home – Venezia! We will be here for 5 weeks.
We had a bit of a rocky start – thanks to me. I seem to have accumulated belongings as I’ve gone and have almost doubled my bags. We were taking the train, and I was a little nervous how we’d get all the bags downstairs and to the taxi, then to the train platform and up and onto the train, and then back down and to our apartment. But the fates (or God) were looking down on us. Our apartment contact, Lorenzo, stopped by as we were leaving and called a friend with a taxi to pick us up nearly at our door. Then there were porters waiting at the station – we had read that they were unofficial and not to trust them, but we were so happy to see them, we just agreed to pay whatever they asked to put our bags on their trolley. Then, our rental company arranged a water taxi to pick us up at the train station in Venice. Whew! (We are both a little sore tonight and have decided to research how to mail some of this home before we set out again!)
Our New Venetian Home
The city is mobbed with visitors that are here for Valentine’s and Carnevale, so we were so happy when we made it to the water taxi dock outside of the train station and a man said, “Ms. Tinnes?” He grabbed our bags and we all jumped in a boat and sped off. We could barely catch our breath and believe we were here.
Soon he pulled up to a dock by the side of the Grand Canal, where our apartment greeter was waiting and pulled our bags off the boat and said to follow him. Our apartment is off of a little side street by the fish market, right on the Grand Canal. It has a gate and big wooden front door and then old stone steps that lead up to the first floor (which is really the 2nd is the US). Our greeter told that us that due to flooding, it is not good to have a place on the ground floor (we wondered if this means we will have to wade down the steps if this happens).
We have one bedroom, bathroom, galley kitchen, and living room with sunny windows overlooking the Grand Canal. We’ve had fun just gazing at all the boat traffic going up and down.
We set out to get our bearings and immediately saw revelers in masquerade. This is the last few days of Carnvale, the Venetian version of Mardi Gras. We even got into the spirit and found a mask shop that advertised handmade papier mache masks.
We wandered around with everyone for awhile (wearing our masks!), but eventually had to get down to business and do some marketing to get us through the next couple of days – mainly to purchase essentials like wine, cheese, bread, and toilet paper.
Lesson Learned: I am not yet experienced enough to do the marketing while wearing a mask. Not only does it cut down on the ability to locate the cereal in Italian, it gets a little frantic at the end trying to pay in Euros and self-bag groceries with a mask falling down my face. So better to leave the mask at home next time. : )
Now we are back home resting up so we can navigate the Carnevale crowds again tomorrow. Tonight we only made it around our little neighborhood (San Paolo), which is on the “non-touristy” side of the Canal. We can’t imagine how crowded it must be closer to St. Mark’s, where all the action is. But that is on our agenda for Sunday. We are supposed to have table seats for the finals of the costume contest. We bought them on the Internet, so we hope they are for real. Stay tuned . . . .