Today we are taking the train from Verona to Venice. If I have learned anything from our travel years, I know understand that a travel day can mean you are neither here nor there, and should not expect to do a lot of touring. Understanding that, you can have a very good day nonetheless.
After one last fine breakfast at the Hotel Accademia we return to our lovely room and pack it all up. We still have a few hours before our short train ride to Venice, so we leave our bags with the desk, and take a walk to Piazza Bra and the Roman Arena. Which is open today so we are finally able to go in and look around. The stage is being set for the opera season, but that actually gives us an idea of both then and now. After this, we decide that breakfast was late enough that we may not need lunch today, so with our remaining time in Verona we stroll the Via Mazzini with the Saturday shopping passagiata, do some shopping ourselves, only looking in the Gucci windows, and end up with a late morning glass of vino back on the Piazza delle Erbe.
The transfer with our bags by taxi to the station is painless and this time we have guessed correctly at which end of the train station our car will be. And soon we are in Venice.
It is an amazing feeling when the train glides across the water as you enter this city, for me akin to the feeling I get on the Bay Bridge approaching San Francisco. When we leave the train, we have some business - getting our pre-purchased vaporetto passes, buying a Venice Card and calling our apartment contact to arrange to meet her at the vap stop. I will confess that this is only thing that has made me a bit nervous - this casual arranging of an apartment. The original contact is out of town, and her stand in, well, we have a phone connection problem. Call the original (turns out she's in Spain), she calls #2, and the lovely Camilla is waiting for us at the Salute stop. She walks us to our apartment not far from the Salute church, shows us up the winding stair, gives us our keys, collects her Euros and she is gone.
It is a very charming apartment, small but airy with a lot of casement windows. The location is almost to the point of the Dorsoduro, but it is very quiet. On our last trip we stayed at La Calcina on the Zattere, so we know and like this area. It lacks a balcony but I think we will be fine with people watching elsewhere. The bathroom is truly interesting, carved out of the stairwell so you have to walk up 4 steps, and then step even higher into the shower. So one must be carefull. It is fairly new, in an old building, so fixtures and appliances are quite modern. And there is wifi - we are comfortable.
But before we can think of dinner on our lunchless day, we need provisions and take a really nice long walk to the Billa at the end of the Zattere. Gelato stop of course, and then our first real grocery shopping experience in Italy - bread, cheese, fruit, coffee and wine. Oh, and t-paper. On our walk home we stop for wine and cichetti, yes Dorothy, we are in Venice.
We decide to have dinner at an old favorite, Taverna San Trovaso - it is casual and not expensive, the food very good. Perhaps there are a lot of visitors there, but I find the interplay with tourists rather fun. A British couple across from us is giving tips to two young Japanese women, that kind of thing. But the food: we both have pastas to start, David's is a peppery aglio-olio, mine black squid ink. We then have segundos of grilled fish, salmon and monkfish. House white wine, an espresso and a glass of moscato grappa, it is time to walk home.
What we do tomorrow will depend on the weather.