Saturday, September 27, 2014

Our Final Day- Venice

We spent 1 final day in Venice. Our hotel was the "Boscolo Venezia" a partner of the Marriott chain. Maybe because we were the last to check in (Long day in the Dolomites), but we got a strange room. They said it was the honeymoon suite.....not sure. We took the elevator to the 2nd floor then had to carry our luggage up a flight of stairs. Inside was a room with thick beamed ceilings.It wasn't the 5 Star hotel we expected.

 Our window over the courtyard. It was warm in May. I can't imagine August.
 They had a nicer bathroom. I still can't understand the bidet.....

 We kept reminding ourselves it was an old hotel and Venice is old. I think we were just fatiguing from a long trip.
 The courtyard out back is very nice and wished we knew to request rooms here.
 The views were very nice in back.
 We had a great sunset.

The next morning we got up early to walk the streets and get breakfast. It felt like we had the place to ourselves. I strongly recommend that you see Venice this way.
 We had to cross 3 bridges to get to the main strip, but it was very easy.

 Now I am amused by McDonald's marketing and menu selection. I was scolded severely by the McDonald's clerk for taking pictures. I wanted to say "I am a share holder" but given her exaggerated sense of self I decided to just get an espresso and leave. So by all means take a look at this valued picture-(Yes I'm still annoyed).

 We walked to the Rialto bridge, which is normally very congested so you can see what I mean by going in the morning.

 It was much wider than I expected.
 Great views!
 We did have one stud posing for pictures.
 Isn't he gorgeous?
We had calzones near the hotel, but they weren't very good....and they were huge!

 Jim gave it his best shot!
We walked around the rest of the afternoon. We were scheduled for an 8pm ghost tour of Venice. At 630 we stopped at a place for dinner. By 7:30 they still had only brought bread and we realized we weren't going to make the tour. We should have just paid the bill and left because it was just so so. We usually aren't food snobs but struck out at every single meal that day. Does that look like a $90 meal? Oh well- maybe next time.

Overall we liked Venice's charm, just not the food. We feel like this gets a do over at some point but not at the end of a long journey. The next morning we got a water taxi at 4am (We prepaid for it but the hotel and water taxi driver got in an argument about it). He was angry and drove really fast, in the dark water, to the airport. We were glad to wait in the long line at the airport.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Dolomites

What are the Dolomites? Click here to find out. Venice is about an hour from the foothills of the Dolomites. The Dolomites -is also an Unesco World Heritage Site.We arranged a ride with Miriam from Veneto tours for the day.
It was just Jim and I and after 11 days on a cruise ship we were ready for quiet and nature.We met Miriam on the dock as arranged (make sure you have her cell just in case) We loaded our luggage into her car and headed out of Venice. We went through the valley between the foothills of the Dolomites and Venice. Along the way we passed Prosecco vineyards
and light rail.
We also passed through tunnels.

 We made various stops along the way. You could appreciate the slow climb. Miriam pointed out the flatter roofs near Venice and we could see them become more peaked as we climbed (so snow could slide off)
And the road began to get curvy!
We stopped at a small restaurant for a bathroom break. It had a nice feel to it.

                                          Limon Ricotta and Struedel
                                          Grapevines growing in the back
                                           Coin operated pistachio machine
                                          The view from the restaurant
                       The menu- wish we could stay for lunch! I love that it's handwritten in chalk.
                                          The upright piano in the corner
                                          Enjoying the view getting ready to climb!
 And what a gorgeous view!

                    See how the house's roofs are starting the angle? Can you tell we are climbing?

                                          A camera doesn't do this justice

                                          The old railroad track is now a bike trail.
                                          Town of Capriana 3200 feet
                                          Town at the start of the Dolomites
                                           We climbed until we reached the town of Cortina
                                           We are about 4,000-5,000 feet above sea level, I believe
                                          This is where the 1956 Winter Olympics were held

                     This is NOT where the famous "Agony of Deafeat" was filmed on the wide
                      world of sports, as we were told , though.

                                      We shopped and had a cup of coffee and a Neapolitan

                                          Art work I tell you

We left this ski village and , you guessed it.......climbed some more!

We see the melting of the snow and it looks very Spring-like

                                  Not sure you can see the wires for the ski lift (above)
                                            Getting above the tree line now

                                           About 6700 feet getting close to Austria
                                       Switzerland is to the West, Austria to the Northeast
 We stopped for lunch at a cute place on the top of the hill. I believe she said we were around 10,000 feet?
                                         There is Miriam our guide
                                         Barley soup
                                            Dolomiti beer
                                            She had gnocchi I believe
                                          Candy bars
                                          Grappa in various flavors
 Ham and Gorgonzola pasta- awesome! This is what I had hoped the food of Italy would taste like!

                                   Jim- spaghetti and meat sauce- oh well... He liked it!
                                                 Bottled water


Down we go!

                                         They were really speeding!!!

 Luxottica is a company that makes eyewear and they just happen to have their headquarters very close to our house. Miriam wasn't sure we were serious. Here is their Italian headquarters.
                                          Park at the base.
                                              Back to Venice via boat! We had a great day.