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Final stop in Europe

sunny 82 °F
View 2017 Summer on randjb's travel map.

I will put more pictures from Firenze onto the site and, of course, many from our time in Venice, but I wanted to add another blog entry before adding additional photos because, as of August 19, we returned from Europe to Boston. So our trip has entered its final phase. Bringing the blog up to date through Venice finishes telling about our time in Europe.
The train station in Firenze was every bit as hot as the rest of the city had been for ten days, which made getting onto the air conditioned train all the more satisfying. To our delight, when we arrived in Venice, the city was 20 degrees cooler than Firenze with a nice breeze blowing across the water. We took the slow water "bus" up the Grand Canal to the Rialto Mercato (Market) stop and moved into our new apartment, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, newly renovated unit that overlooked the market and Grand Canal. We have stayed in some lovely Airbnbs throughout our trip, but we might have saved the best for last. How do you improve on looking over the canal?
If you are unfamiliar with Venice, the Rialto area is in the center of the two main islands, much more so, for example, than San Marco Piazza, and while we didn't scrimp on taking water transportation, the longer we were in the city, the more we chose to walk. From our location, almost everywhere was reachable in less than a mile.
Venice is the most interesting city I have ever walked, both because the canals were originally the only means of transportation and therefore lace through everywhere you go, and because you are constantly being surprised. With few exceptions, Venice doesn't have streets; it has sidewalks. And many of the sidewalks dead-end at a canal. Learning which sidewalks have a bridge at the end of them becomes essential if you want to reach your destination. When we were in Venice ten years ago, I got us seriously lost, ending up on the opposite of the island. Now we have Google maps. We still got lost but discovered our mistakes much sooner.
Not that getting lost in Venice is a bad thing. We were still discovering shops, interesting churches, and sites to see as we neared the end of our visit. What looks like the smallest alley can lead you to a wonderful campo. You think you are far off the beaten path and come across a restaurant or shop. Each corner you turn has the possibility of bringing you to some place unsuspected. And, as pointed out on one of walking tours and which we found to be true, walking even a block away from the major tourist areas significantly changes your experience of Venice.
The noise disappears, few people remain, you can stroll and take your time to enjoy the architecture, or stop on a bridge just to look at the houses that remain accessible only from a canal. Plus this is where the locals live, which means the restaurants with the best food and not too outrageous prices are there to be found.
Only 50,000 people still live in Venice, it's just too expensive for the average family, but this is where you'll find them and the shops and restaurants they frequent.
To summarize, by all means see the Grand Canal and take the boats out to some of the other islands, but give yourself time to wander around and get lost on the sidewalks of Venice. That's where the real city lives.

Update: Chesirae got better but only slowly. Her stomach never settled enough to allow her to see the city, for which we are all sad. But she has time to come back. I am sure she will.

Posted by randjb 04:11 Archived in Italy Tagged venice italy

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