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Report 558: My 50th Birthday Present to Myself, ITALY!

By Pokey from Massachusetts, Fall 2004

Trip Description: Venice, Florence, Radda in Chianti, Assisi, and Rome. Oct. 3-22, 2004

Destinations: Countries - Italy; Regions/Cities - Florence, Rome, Tuscany, Umbria, Venice

Categories: Hotels/B&Bs; Vacation Rentals; Day Tours; Garden Visits; Sightseeing; Wine Trip; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 17: Venice, Magic and Mosquitos

photo by Mindy

Venice Canal

Finally! After almost one year of planning, the day is here! Oct. 2nd, I head down via Amtrak to NYC where I meet up with Anthony. We quickly agree that, yes, I have way too much luggage. Do I really want to lug two suitcases around? Do I really need my 1 1/2 inch barrel curling iron? (actually I did, but that's besides the point. I consolidate and am pleased that now I have only one suitcase and one carry on bag!

We have arranged a car service for Sunday, October 3rd, to pick us up at 3:00 pm. The driver is about 20 minutes late but we arrive at JFK in one piece and have no trouble getting our bags checked and seat assignments on Alitalia.

We just look at each other and smile! We're ON OUR WAY!!!

The plane is full but we don't feel cramped. No problems with the flight. I take 1/2 an Ambien and that helps. We arrive in Milan on time and have about a 1 1/2 hour wait for our flight to Venice. Kermit and Pokey come out for air.

The flight to Venice was also full but I was lucky enough to sit next to the pilot of our JFK-Milan flight! He was very very kind (nice on the eyes too I might add). I thanked him for getting us to Italy safely. Looking out the window, he pointed out areas as we were approaching Venice. When we landed, he directed us to the area for the bus to Alilaguna.

This was a great way to begin our vacation. The boat ride to Venice was magical! It felt so "right" to be back in Venice and we sure did enjoy getting to Venice via the Alilaguna boat.

We got off at stop San Zaccaria which was the nearest to our Hotel Al Leon (Campo St. Filippo e Giacomo, Castello). We are all smiles, so thrilled to be in Venice again (we were here 2 years ago but only for one day and night).

We lug our tired, yet excited, bodies and luggage to the hotel. We are welcomed and (knowing we are too early to check in) drop our bags off and go exploring! Anthony gets money from the Bancomat (hassle free....the way to go in my opinion). We grab a bite to eat and I'm pinching myself, I'm in Venice, whoo hoo!! We head back to the hotel and go to our "pretty pink room" and unpack a bit, take a well deserved (and needed) shower and take a "power nap".

I get out my copy of Chow Venice and we decide on Vino Vino. At first I'm not too thrilled but Anthony has a good vibe about the place so we stay. I'm happy we did. It's delicious and we meet a group from England that are hysterical. We chat and laugh and drink with them for a few hours. A great first night in Venice! We stroll back to the hotel, via St. Mark's square where they are filming an untitled Casanova project. It's fun to see the actors in 18th century period costumes.

We have a wonderful night's sleep, well, until the mosquitos start biting! It is very warm and there are no screens on the windows which we have open. Thankfully there is a portable fan in the room which we have on full blast. The AC has been turned off for the season. Lovely. With my hot flashes this isn't going to be fun, LOL. I end up with so many bites on my face that I refuse to have any pictures taken while I'm in Venice....well, no close ups. My face looks like it's covered in boils, mosquito bites the size of dimes. I am not happy about this, but I'd rather have mosquito bites in Venice than in Boston. Italian mosquitos love me.

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