Sunday, September 2, 2012

First day in Venice and geez do we appreciate it!

Todays arrival in Venice had much less to do with a year's worth of excitement than the joy of just being done with our two day's worth of travel drama.
It started in Los Angeles with our 0807 flight time. "Umm.. yeah.. you're not on that flight. You're on the 0857 flight." (!!!!!) As I felt my travel OCD kicking in, I could do nothing but accept it since there was no room on the earlier flight. Plan B to haul booty down the concourse in Chicago was agreed upon as soon as we landed. Wouldn't you know it, our flight was 15 minutes late letting us off.
Flying through O'Hare airport, shins screaming from running in flip flops, we finally arrived at the desk for Lufthansa. Breathlessly we tried to check in only to be told (drum roll) "Oh sorry. There was strike yesterday for Lufthansa and your plane is taking off an hour and a half late. And since tomorrow is Sunday the soonest we can get you on a connector to Venice is three and a half hours later than your original tickets." My friend Ms. E did a good job of restraining me from strangling the desk girl with my bare hands.
All in all, flights and transfers later, my Italian lessons getting good use, we finally arrived in Venice at 2pm.
Our hotel, Casa Sant'Andrea, is a former monastery. Parts of the original building exist inside, including the very steep stairs. There's a vaporetto stop right out front which is convenient. Even though our room holds three, you can tell it was once two separate monks rooms.
After refreshing ourselves we hit the pavement to get a feel for the place. We even caught the gondola races in the early evening as part of the Regatta Storica! The buildings here are a delight to see: baroque clashes with rococo, greek columns on buildings with slightly gothic window shapes, and everywhere the memory of the Venice of old, when she controlled much of the Mediterranean and beyond.
We topped the night off with a couple glasses of rose, pasta bolognese, an interesting version of lasagna al forno and some mozzarella con pomodoro. Tired from our flights we look forward to the sites we'll see tomorrow.

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