10.05.2014 - 11.05.2014 74 °F
A little late in getting around to posting a recap of our 2014 trip to Italy. On this trip, we visited Venice, with a day trip to Padova, Florence, Amalfi, and Rome. So, let's dive right in, shall we?
Well, it's May 10th, 2014. After having sworn that we would NEVER fly US Airways again after the Gate A13 debacle last year, it's déjà vu all over again. We're sitting in Philadelphia Airport, and we've just been informed that "due to an equipment issue" or flight to Venice is going to be delayed.
We chose US Airways for this trip because:
A) We each have a $300 voucher from our cancelled flight last year
B) They're now flying the newer Airbus A300
C) What kind of a coincidence would have to happen for the same flight to be delayed exactly one year from the original?
But I digress...
Our drive out to Philadelphia today is a breeze, and we arrive at the Clarion Hotel, where we will be doing a reverse park and fly. In other words, we'll park our car here, and when we return in 2 weeks, we'll have an overnight stay at the hotel...a room and 14 days of parking for around $200. Good deal. The Clarion shuttles us out to PHL, the security lines are very light, and soon we're enjoying a nice late lunch at Legal Seafood.
When we arrive at our gate, our plane is there, waiting for us. Except it isn't. Despite appearances to the contrary, we're informed that our flight is going to have an equipment change and will be departing at 8:30pm instead of 6:45pm. Not a terrible delay, but we begin having flashbacks of our two days stuck in Philadelphia last year under almost identical circumstances. Inexplicably, the plane at the gate is being rerouted to Dublin. We later found out that an incoming plane from Venice had been diverted to Dublin due to some sort of a malfunction, leading to all kinds of shuffling of equipment.
Despite our fears, we actually do take off at 8:30pm, and the flight is quiet and uneventful. We watch some video on demand and try to snooze a bit, not very successfully. We make up time in the air, and arrive in Venice only a 1/2 hour late. Since we have no checked bags, we breeze through passport control, and make a stop at the VeniziaUnico machine to pick up our ACTV passes, which we've prepaid for.
We'll be staying at an apartment near San Stae on this trip, so it makes sense to spring for the extra money to take the Alilaguna water bus directly to our vaporetto stop, rather than have to juggle a bus and then a separate vaporetto. People often have a romanticized image of what it's like to sail into Venice from the airport by boat. If you've got a private water taxi, it may be quite nice. If you're traveling on the Alilaguna Orange Line, it looks kind of like this:
We've rented an apartment called Ca' Cortigiane through AirBnB for our four night stay in Venice. Our rental agent meets us at the San Stae vaporetto stop, and escorts us to our apartment, which is located on a quiet street just off of Campo San Giacomo d'Orio. The neighborhood is pleasant and residential, off the beaten path from the usual tourist track. A CoOp supermarket is right there in the Campo, convenient for stocking the apartment, and a bakery is right across the way.
The apartment is quite nice, with a small kitchen, bath, dining & living room, elevated bedroom, and a small terrace in the courtyard. The neighborhood is residential, and off the beaten path from the usual tourist track. The only drawback was that the neaby traghetto station was not in operation, so excursions to the other side of the Grand Canal meant backtracking to one of the bridges. It's owned by sisters who manage several other apartments in Venice, and seem to do quite a good job of it.
We spend some time familiarizing ourselves with the neighborhood and grab some dinner at Muro San Stae, a delicious pasta with scampi. Our visit to Venice, while longer than last year, is going to be at a much more relaxed pace, with fewer "big sites" to see. We want to spend our time walking the neighborhoods instead of standing in lines.