Whitehill Scrapbook 2010
Venice March 31 - April 5
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    We had a great time on our vacation. Tracey thought Venice was her favorite city on our trip. However it didn't start out all that well. After months of preparation, studying Italian, memorizing the exact directions from the airport to our hotel and so on, we immediatey screwed up on arrival. We still remember parts of the direction; get a ticket for the bus, after the bus, get on Vaperetto number 2, and so on. It's like the best laid plans of mice and weary travellers. After a long flight from Pennsylvania and passing through Charles De Gaulle airport (which is a story in itself), instead of bus tickets,we bought Vaperetto tickets. That meant we were coming in a different side of Venice and we hadn't memorized those streets. On the upside though, we felt we had a much more interesting trip in via the waterway.Seeing the homes right on the water was a great entrance to the city. And to top it off there was a rainbow. Good Mojo.

    Getting around Venice is actually pretty easy. Most places are marked by pointing to major landmarks like the Rialto bridge and San Marco Piazza. There are no cars in Venice, although on a daily basis we heard horse hooves very early in the morning.

    A gondola ride feels like your traveling back in time. The city from the water is almost surreal. Also don't move around, they're easy to rock. Don't make the Gondolier mad, they have big sticks.

     Venice has the feel of a small town. Late in the afternoon the crowds leave and most of the area is quiet. In the evenings a young crowd gathers by the fish markets and there is a lively nightlife.

 Most of the time everyone walks around through the "streets". A Venice street is an alleyway anwhere else in the world. To the right is a picture of the thinnest street in Venice.

  The alleyways are broken up by the campos, which are open areas usually in front of a church. Inside some of these random churches are paintings and sculptures from the Renaissance and earlier.

     It's good to just walk around and get lost. We stumbled away from the beaten path and made our way to a cafe where the waitress didn't speak much english. We got by fine. They had menus with pictures. Tim chose spaghetti carbonara. As we waited for our meal along came a minsterel with an accordian and he played a couple of Italian songs. When the spaghetti came out, it wasn't spagehetti carbonara, but Tim figured he screwed up the order. It actually was really good. It was just olive oil and some hot peppers. The waitress came out shortly all distressed and apologizing for it being the wrong order. But Tim was enjoying it so he got her to understand he was happy with it. And through the waitress's broken english, she explained that what Tim had gotten was spaghetti the way the Venetians eat spaghetti. Which was actually really cool. We don't know what it was called but it was a good spicy dish.
     We were told the coffee is excellent in Italy and we are now Italian coffee drinkers. It is the best tasting coffee. We visited Paris on our way back home from the tour and, while the food was incredible in Paris, the Italian coffee is better. When we got home we found Wegman's a regional supermarket carried Illy coffee, so we've been drinking that ever since. Later in the summer we went to Las Vegas for a wedding and we thought we should be able to get Italian coffee in Vegas and something different than Illy. So we trotted down to Ceasar's palace and went to an Italian coffee shop that was serving; Illy. Now the funny thing is, while we're going through the pictures to include in this scrapbook, we found a couple of pictures of markets and coffee shops we were in. In the background they all advertised Illy coffee. Now we 're not sure if we really like Italian coffee or if it's just Illy.

Wine as you would expect is very good but surprisingly the beer is really good too.
      Eating in Venice is one of the highlights. We both love seafood so we couldn't have been happier with the menus. The big dish to try is cuttlefish cooked in it's own ink. Tracey got a dish of it at the restaurant Poste Vecie which we shared. We both thought it was good but Tim thought it  tasted like Dinty Moore Beef Stew, bearing in mind  that Tim likes Dinty Moore Beef Stew. We told Jamie, our guide, that opinion. Then, since Jamie is from  England, the group had to explain to him what Dinty Moore Beef Stew is. We quickly agreed on it looking like dog food and most thought that explained the taste too.

    The other interesting taste was the anchovies on the salads. Normally that doesn't sound like a good idea. But anchovies were fantastic there. Really added to the salads.

    While walking around San Marco Piazza we looked in the shops  but decided we could probably buy the same things at cheaper locations in Venice..(as if).. However as we passed a tie shop, the price in the window was incredibly low. So Tim ended up buying 3 Italian ties at less then we would have paid at Penney's for non-Italian ties. So even in Venice there are bargains to be had.
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