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Report 1659: Spring in Venice 2008

By Boleskine from NJ, Spring 2008

Trip Description: We spend a month in Venice each spring (and another each winter). This chronicles our days and nights during our May-June 2008 trip.

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Venice

Categories: Vacation Rentals; Foodie Trip; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 32: Domenica 4 Maggio - Off and Running; Okay ... Off and Walking Slowly

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Spring in NJ - Left Behind for Spring in Venice

We are leaving for Venice about two weeks later than usual because besides wanting to be home for Passover, this year we wanted to be home for the arrival of our second grandchild. Eva Sofia obliged us by arriving only hours after the first Seder ended, allowing us to enjoy the Seder without interruption, and then giving us maximum time - two weeks - at home to get acquainted with our Passover principessa.

We spend Saturday morning visiting in Highland Park with our adorable grandson David, now 2 1/2, his precious little sister, Tom, Lorena, and our daughter, Sarah, who has just returned from a business trip to England. Lorena has two Aunts and a cousin visiting to help with the children so it is a lively household. The town house is rocking with "Hot Potato, Cold Spaghetti, Mashed Banana," a song and dance that is David's current favorite. Somehow Eva Sophia sleeps contentedly in my arms throughout all the singing and stomping.

We return home for a quick late lunch, and the dreaded unmentionable ordeal otherwise known as packing. Dinner, some TV and a last soak in our hot tub follow and then it is time for our final night in New Jersey. In the morning we just have enough time to read the papers, and we are off. I take the NY Times Magazine with me so I can finish the second puzzle and Martin can read it on the plane.

Sharon arrives promptly at 2:00, which may seem early for a 6:55 PM flight, but anyone who has made the trip from NJ to JFK knows how unpredictable Staten Island, the bridges and Satan's Highway, AKA the Belt Parkway can be.

As soon as we come off the Goethals Bridge we can see we are in trouble, Staten Island has become one giant parking lot. Accidents and a ridiculous number of cars are only part of the problem. There is also a bicycle race taking place and the whole lower level of the Verrazano Bridge is closed down as well as an entire lane of the Belt.

It takes us an hour to go about 4 of the 12 miles stretch, and we still cannot see the bridge. Some gutsy driving by Sharon allows us to pick up some time, and we are able to get across the bridge and enter the crawl along the Belt.

When we finally we reach the airport, it is after 5:00. It has taken over three hours to make a trip that should take no more than 90 minutes. If it weren't for Sharon's expert driving, we would still be on Staten Island.

Our late arrival into a packed terminal actually works in our favor. They are making final calls for flights to several places including Venice, and that combined with my walking stick jumps us to the head of the line. They offer a wheel chair, which I gratefully accept. As usual our gate is about as far from the check in as it can be, and I not only walk slowly but after all that time in the car my knees are stiff and sore. It is a relief to sit down and not have to limp frenetically along.

We only have to wait about an hour before boarding starts, and although we push back from the gate a lot later than 6:55, for once we do not spend 90 minutes or more driving around the airport; in less than half an hour we are in the air heading towards Venice.

We have been on many worse flights. There is too little leg room, and the outside arm rests do not lift up so I have to contort my big body to get into the aisle, an action my bruised/cracked ribs - the result of a slip climbing out of the hot tub - protest vigorously. Dinner is a choice of mushroom risotto and a chicken dish with potatoes, corn, black beans and a mildly spicy sauce. It is much better than many an airplane meal and we actually eat it.

There is one really terrific flight attendant but she is working the other side of the plane; we have an efficient but not especially friendly woman and a young man whose body is on the plane but whose head is someplace else. He skips several people, including me, when serving dinner, calls me "Sir" several times and makes several mistakes during every service. Fortunately the pilots are more attentive to their jobs, and we arrive in Venice on time after a night in which I have succeeded in sleeping for three or more hours. Nowadays they seem to run movies nonstop, but I almost never watch the movies, which are followed by TV shows that I also do not watch.

The bagels we are served for breakfast are edible, and there is a really good granola bar of some sort. The OJ is cold and doesn't taste bad although it is a distant cousin to the fresh squeezed juice I make every morning. We pass on the coffee, which we know will taste only like hot water to our mouths which are conditioned to our custom roasted, by Martin, espresso. Shortly after breakfast, we start our descent into Venice and our spring trip is underway.

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