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[21-jan-2004]

It is so such an enchanting place, that we decided to stay another two nights (19th -21st Jan). The weather on the weekend was wet so we made full use of our deluxe surroundings. Another night at Hotel Danieli was 5 times the cost of our nightly budget so we relocated. Our simple one star hotel was really quite nice. The Hotel Noemie provided us with a very small room but was comfortable and warm. If you can stand the stench of the public toilets outside the restaurant on the way up to the lobby you will be pleasantly surprised. Lonely planet describes this place as “characterless” but on the contrary, we found it charming and although small, the gold ornate drapes and walls were pleasing to the eye.

Enough about couches and curtains – the weather shined on us for our last two days. The pigeons in San Marco’s square were out in full force – you only had to stand with your arms out and you could be swarmed by hundreds of them. We did not try this in fear of the poo factor! The cost of laundry in Venice, this is not a recommended practice.

The enormous St Marks Basilica with its golden mosaic surfaces is truly a sight. Mass there for us was quite special as although we didn’t understand much of it, the gospel reading was the same as the one we had at our wedding. (Wedding at Canah) The museum at the top of the Basilica is certainly worth the dangerous hike up the ridiculously steep stone stairs.

Of course, one cannot be in Venice without a Gondola ride. We were happy with our bartering techniques but probably still paid too much! Our chap was dressed in the real gear – striped black and white top complete with boater hat. We didnt have the pleasure of an accordion playing singer in our gondola (as did some others) but that was ok as we could hear their grand voices echo throughout the canals. (Tom Jones featured highly).

Lots of walking of course, up bridges, down bridges, round narrow corners then realising you’ve been here before. Many, many narrow paths wind themselves around each other and over the canals of blue green, quite clean looking water. And if you are lucky you may see the odd dead dog floating by (so much for that romantic gondola ride).

The vaporetto (like water ferry) took us back to the train station where we ran – yes, physically actually – loaded with packs – RAN to catch our train. There is a story there… so stay tuned…

We love Venice. Our trip here has been enchanting and we have to say a BIG, BIG thanks to our fabulous friend Cath for her organisation skills and her graciousness in giving us this 5 star experience. Cath we love you …. (enough yet???)

Venezia – WE SHALL RETURN

Dave & Narelle