Let me start by backing up. My initial flight from the U.S. on the ever-reliable Virgin Atlantic airline was excellent and I remain a big fan of their "Revivals Lounge" at Heathrow and my luggage even arrived with me. There were, however, more people (I estimated 400) at Customs than I’ve ever seen before. I don’t usually travel on Mondays & Tuesdays, so perhaps this is normal. Even with the Virgin "Fast Track" pass that sends you through a special Customs line, there was quite a delay and, in general, it seems that there are more travellers and that everywhere is more crowded than in the spring when I usually travel.
As detailed in my previous post, my scheduled flight to Venice was cancelled due to a 1-day "industrial action" (aka strike) at the Venice airport and I spent the day in London instead. My subsequent flight the next day went perfectly and I arrived in Venice by about 2:30 pm. God Bless the Exit Row with its superior leg room. The nasty weather in Venice from the previous day was gone, the sky was sunny, the temp cool and it was beautiful. Waaay too many tourists though; I was again surprised by the hordes of people. My 30-minute vaporetto (water Metro) ride to the hotel was glorious, with the water not too choppy, a lively breeze in my hair, and the wonderful tapestry of Venice passing by.
It’s always a treat to observe the Europeans: how they dress, how they talk, how they gesture. Wonderfully entertaining people-watching, indeed. The Hotel Campiello is great and it was nice to come back to it again. After freshening up and changing clothes, I headed for the famous Harry’s Bar around 6 pm for cocktails. Which at Harry’s means either a Bellini or a martini, and it was the latter for me. While seated at the bar, I met a couple from Michigan who own four Italian restaurants, a couple from Melbourne, Austrailia, and finally two guys from Majorca, Spain who were here for an international bar tending contest. Great stuff, and the martinis were nice too.
I then headed off to Vino! Vino!, a restaurant recommended by the great "Chow Venice" book and I experienced a First there. As I fantasized about their lasagna with artichokes, for the first time in my life I was turned away by a restaurant for being a "Single"; they would not seat me because I was alone. Now, as a single, I’m relatively used to being given the least desirable seats, by the door to the kitchen, etc. but I’ve never been told to go away before. Actually, I was told to "come back later" when they got less busy. But as it was already 8pm and I was starving, that was not an option.
So, I hopped a vaporetto and went up to the Rialto bridge, then on foot to al Peocetto di Risorto, a wonderful place recommended to me by my friends Joanie and Chuck Tooley of Billings, Montana (thanks again, you two). At al Peocetto, though busy, they welcomed me and even offered me a choice of seats. The food was excellent: spaghettti aio oio pepperocino (with oil, garlic, and peppers), scallopine de limone (veal with lemon sauce) and a mixed salad. The house red wine was superb. The wine here in general has a smoothness to it you just don’t get at home. Happy and sated I took the vaporetto back to San Marco Square and topped off the evening with some tasty gelati before going to the hotel and hitting the sack. After the general craziness of traveling, Venice was heaven.
One day in Venice and much to do…