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Marooned in Venice

Author: jerblu
Email: jerry@blumenthalsoftware.com (More Trip Reviews by jerblu)
Date of Trip: April 2010

Monday was another anxious day, spent wandering back and forth to the cruise pier (we had been told that Silversea might take us back on board but they had never heard of such a thing). We went to the pharmacy again, and acquired the rest of my medications. A nice lunch at a pizza place near our hotel, the Inigo. It was a beautiful day. We had a few drinks in San Marco Plaza, listening to the bands. Our son Dan had called, suggesting that since there were flights from Lisbon to the USA, that perhaps we should consider getting there. I found an internet cafe and mapped it out: a train to Genoa, then a ferry to Barcelona, then a highspeed train to Lisbon: piece of cake. Not.

Then back to the hotel, hoping to hear some better news. And it was there. At 7:20PM, Silversea's port agent phoned, and told us that they had booked us on the first flight leaving Venice. We had tickets on a flight going out of Marco Polo on Thursday noon, and that in the meantime, because we had booked our air travel with the cruise company, they would pick up our hotel bill from that time forward, if we would just go to the Monaco Hotel tomorrow morning and check in there. (We later learned that our travel agent had been calling nonstop for hours, and I firmly believe that if it had not been for her, they would not even have found us.) Vastly relieved, we asked Roberto to book us (last minute) back at La Furatola, where we had another lovely dinner, again ending with the "froth".

Tuesday. After breakfast we said goodbye to the Locanda San Barnaba. Roberto was not there, but Sylvia was, and I told her how much we appreciated everything she and Roberto had done for us. They both had made many many phone calls for us, including to the USA, at no extra charge to us. Nancy and I had seen them doing the same for some of the other folks stranded by the eruption; I can not say too many good things about them. We walked the short distance to the vaporetto, rolling our luggage, and boarded with no difficulty whatever. We got off at San Marco Calle Vallaresso, right at Harry's Bar, and walked the 50 feet or so to the entrance of the Monaco Hotel.

The Monaco is a very grand hotel. It was elegant and dignified. I was impressed by the room rate posted on a notice inside our room's wardrobe. On the other hand, the lobby contained only a single computer for internet access (skimpy for such a grand place). I purchased a few hours worth and emailed everyone to let them know of our changed location and the flight arrangements. We went out walking again, and then over the bridge to the Accademia where we admired the paintings. More walking, back to the hotel, and then on to Al Covo for dinner.

Al Covo was a wonderful dinner. We shared a cold shellfish appetizer, and then Nancy had a wonderful cod and prune stew, and I had some broiled whole small fish (trout?) from the lagoon. The broiled fish were wonderful, well worth the trouble of picking out the bones. At the end, as we were sharing the Panna Cotta that Diane, the chef's wife had made, Diane came to our table and chatted with us. We had a lovely conversation with her, and thoroughly enjoyed her company. And the Panna Cotta was superb!!!

Wednesday. We had breakfast on the Canal. It was very elegant, and we saw that another couple from our cruise had been sent to the Monaco. The Monaco has a commanding position, very close to San Marco Plaza, and with a lovely view of Salute. Afterwards, we decided to take a trip out to Murano, where we toured a glass factory, and walked around the island a bit. We ate at a small canalside cafe, very pretty, but I had my first taste of mediocre (or worse) food in Venice. We would have returned to Al Covo that night if it had been open, but it is closed on Wednesdays.

Before we left for dinner, we noticed that one of the doors in the hotel, that led to the old palazzo portion of the building, had been left open. Curious, we went upstairs and found a beautiful set of rooms that the hotel clearly used for large functions, dinners, weddings, etc. They were lovely.

We ate dinner at Alla Rivetta, and had a very nice time. Good food, well prepared. Nancy had the mussels, and loved them. I had some ravioli, which I thought were superb. You always know you like the place when you feel good about your food but curious about what your neighbors have on their plates. Rivetta is not a big place, it's really more like a neighborhood restaurant, but once again I felt that the food of Venice was vastly under-rated.

After dinner, we walked back to the hotel through San Marco Plaza. The bands were still fighting, and one of them played a tango. Nancy and I started to dance, first in the plaza itself, near the chairs, and then later inside the colonnade. We arrived back at the hotel in a euphoria that had nothing to do with the wine at dinner.

Thursday. We asked for breakfast to be sent up to the room because we knew that we had to leave early. Breakfast was delivered at 7:15am, promptly; it was very good, but they did forget an item or two. We brought our luggage down to the lobby and I checked out. The representative from the Silversea port agent was there, and she brought us to the dock right next to the vaporetto, to a waiting water taxi. So we got a water taxi ride to the airport, at Silversea's expense. The airport was very quiet, almost deserted. Our gate waiting area very slowly became populated, and then we emplaned.

In retrospect, I see that most of my review is about the food we had. That's ok, because that is probably what I will remember most, alongside the wonderful walks we took and the vistas we saw. And Roberto and Sylvia, who were so helpful. When I return, I will book my room very far in advance at the Locanda San Barnaba. I cant believe my list of places I missed: La Fenice, Santa Maria Gloriosa, Rialto fish market- ah well, next time.

Also- I have learned to bring my travel insurance docs along; if I had, my anxiety would have been relieved instantly, because they will pay for all of my expenses. In addition, I am going to find out why none of the ATMs have the logos I want; they had them in Greece and Turkey. The Venice ATMs all charged me an extra fee, I now see.

I will close by thanking all of the TA members who were so helpful to me. They were key to my planning, and I really do appreciate it.

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