Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 1255: Venice Winter 2006/2007
By Boleskine from NJ, Winter 2006
Trip Description: Ruth and her husband rent an apartment in Venice for two months each year, once in the winter and once in the spring. This is a journal of their winter 2006/2007 trip.
Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Venice
Categories: Vacation Rentals; Foodie Trip; Independent Travel; 2 People; 3-4 people; Adult Children w/ Parents; Adults and Young Children
Page 1 of 28: 13-14 Dicembre 2006 - Long Day's Journey into Long Day
Palazzo Corner Cheltof Out of its Plastic Wrapping
"Chi paga avanti e` mal servito." He who pays in advance is badly served.
We are leaving the house earlier than usual because the airport wants us there three hours before our scheduled departure, and we are detouring through Highland Park to pick up Lorena's cousin, Laura, who is flying to Paris later tonight. I have been coughing virtually nonstop for days now. Yesterday I went to the doctor, who assured me that while I did have a virus exacerbated by allergies - or vice versa, my lungs were clear, and flying would not be a problem. We don't get to see David, who is sleeping, but it is probably for the best. I may have picked up this virus from him, but, on the off chance, I haven't I would not dare hold him, and that would be upsetting to us both.
Sharon, who always drives us to the airport, is her usual cheerful self, and the traffic is blessedly light. We arrive at JFK more than three hours ahead of time and thus ends the first leg of our journey. Laura calls her great uncle who lives close to JFK. He will come and collect her and she can visit with him until it is time to go back for her 10:00 flight. We say our good-byes and go into the Delta terminal.
After checking in, we must schlep our bags around the corner for the security check. Then we can move on to the first screening with our carry on. There are posted lists of what is and is now allowed in terms of liquids and gels, and a warning that this is the place to declare anything that may be in violation, but that is necessary such a prescription mediciness, formula, etc. I announce that I have a small bottle of cough medicine, an inhaler and eye drops with a doctor's note stating they are necessary, and I am waved through without anyone actually examining these items. Either I look nonthreatening, or my speaking up is a good thing. The woman at the table says, "I'll tell them at the gate."
"Right!" I think to myself, but in fact, I have no problem going through the various screenings with my three small bottles whereas all around me others are having to part with "treasured" but apparently illicit and undeclared items. As different sized bottles of different liquids are being confiscated left and right, I hear the same refrain, "You should have announced it at the desk where you handed over your baggage."
We start the hike to Gate 9, and it seems to be a very long trek indeed. When we finally reach it, we see a map that indicates we could not have been assigned a gate further away from the place we checked in. One airport official tried to call one of the roving carts for us, but was told they cannot access a busy area after 4:00 PM, and it was two minutes past four. If I walked faster we would have made it before the time cut off, but if I walked faster, I probably would not have needed a lift.
There is a spectacular sun right outside the window, and normally I would have been photographing it, but I am coughing and wheezing so badly I just sit still and try to breathe. There is no way I can hold a camera steady and by the time the cough subsides so has the sun.
We board pretty close to schedule, and notice there are a lot of young children on this flight. We are very interested to see how the parents of the kiddies, who are about one year-old cope with their bambini since our son and daughter-in-law will be making this same trip with our thirteen month old grandson next week.
I hope they have better luck than we do. We sit on the runway for nearly two hours; actually we ride around and around the airport in the plane because only two runways are open for all incoming and outgoing flights. Since they knew this before boarding us, why didn't they leave us in the airport where it was roomier, with a choice of places to shop, eat or drink and a whole lot more bathroom options? I suspect it is because if we leave the gate promptly the flight is considered to have departed on time regardless of how long it takes to get airborne.
Finally we are up and flying. Beverages and then a passable meal are served. The movie is, "Little Miss Sunshine," which everyone I know has loved, but either I am in the minority, or it is not a good airplane movie. In any event, the sound track is dreadful, and I fall asleep before it is over, and according to Martin, who watches it through to the end, before the best part.
A good slug of cough medicine every now and then gets me through the night. Breakfast is awful. Something that is called a croissant, but is just a warm mushy piece of dough, OJ, a banana - probably the only fruit in the world I don't eat - and some sort of cereal bar. We never are offered coffee tea or even water.
We are near the front of the plane which allows us to disembark quickly, but I have a terrible time coordinating my hands feet and all the stuff I have to carry. Once we leave the jetway it is also stiflingly hot, and I start coughing and wheezing as we walk to Immigration.
We retrieve our suitcases fairly quickly but have both forgotten to bring any centesmi so we schlep our stuff outside. Martin did not feel like dealing with the land taxi and vaporetto so he had decided we would take a land taxi to the water and then a water taxi to our apartment. He had e-mailed House Deal about this so they would have the water door open. The taxi is €13 and the water taxi is €90, but we figured we would be doing things the easy way. HAH!
When we arrive at our apartment, we discover the dock is gone. There is a sign warning that people should not try to disembark and use the green mossy wet steps. Fortunately some kind workmen and a gracious lady at the ultra elegant Pisani Moretta, next door to us, allow us to tie up and disembark there. While I sit and cough on a bench in the Grand Hall. Martin walks over to the Palazzo Tiepoletto apartment and comes back with the Housedeal agent, who helps us with the luggage. The gracious administrator at the Pisani Moretta even tells us that if the Palazzo is open next week we can do the same thing next week when Tom and his family arrive.
Marta, the Housedeal rep, is not there, although the gorgeous bouquet of birthday flowers, which Martin had arranged for her to leave for me, is. They are spectacular reds and whites with some lavender lilies which make a surprisingly pleasant contrast. If you had asked me, I would have said the lavender would be lost in all the red, which is probably why I am not in the flower business. There is another woman from Housedeal, who tells us that she does not speak English. Talking to her in Italian, I learn that there is a problem with the gas, which is now off, but it will be turned back on at 3:00 by the plumber. He will come to our apartment to do it so we must stay. We both fall asleep on the couches, which is not a problem since we have to stay home all afternoon anyway.
This is not really a hardship because it is always a delight just to sit and look out of the windows. One of the first things we notice is that the Palazzo Corner-Cheltof, originally built in the 11th century and restructured in the 16th, is out of the plastic wrapping that has covered it during its most recent restoration, which seems to have been going on for several years. This being Venice, it does not look very different, just a lot cleaner. At 4:00 we call Housedeal because the gas is on, but no plumber has come and neither the heater nor the hot water heater have come on; we call again at 4:30 and at 5:00.
Finally, Francesco, a young man who works for Anna Passi, shows up. He cannot fix the problem either despite making many phone calls to Anna Passi. I have called Amelia to see if she has any rooms available in her B&B because with no heat or hot water, it will not be a very pleasant night. She is closing for a short time for a holiday but says we could stay there one night if we need to. Blessings on her head!
At our urging, Francesco arranges for us to use the studio apartment across the hall. This place belongs to another member of the Passi family; it is newly refurbished and very elegant with the same view we have. We are assured that tomorrow the heat and water will be fixed - I take that as a definite maybe.
We walk down to Perla d'Oriente for some Chinese food a first night tradition with us. Martin's digestive tract has a hard time with all the changes, and Chinese food seems to soothe it. We order a lot because we have not eaten since that miserable airplane breakfast early this morning. Replete with spring rolls, pan fried dumplings, spaghetti a la piastre, scampi a la piastre and duck roasted with herbs, we walk home. I am still coughing but have eaten a real meal for the first time in two days. We move our night clothes across the hall for what we hope will be a one night stand, and settle in.
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