Goodness, where do I start here. I guess the beginning. It all started back in Perth after a few drinks with a friend. Dave has acquired himself a new lady friend. Her name is Cath and many of you may know her as the gal from New Zealand who lives at the Sheraton. Well, that is my version! Little did I know, that Dave and Cath had been plotting and scheming for a few weeks. The following is what I was told by Cath..
“When you are away, you must go to Venice. It is a beautiful place and I know a guy (according to Cath) who owns an apartment and rents out rooms. It is cheap and he only rents to people by word of mouth when I get back to New Zealand I will give you the details.”
Via email, we kept in touch and I (Narelle) was disappointed to learn that this chap had closed his doors. Well, being a bit of a planner (freak!) [thanks Dave!] I started to stress ( a bit) as were told how difficult and expensive accommodation is in Venice. A day into Florence we got an email from Cath saying she had friends in Venice for the weekend coming up and they had offered to put us up and show us around. Great I say – we were going to Venice for the weekend. Cath said – she would email the details of this place and her friends names etc.
No email turned up (not that I saw!) and being a bit of a stress pot (control freak – Dave)I was saying to Dave, we have to print off the details of these people – how will we know where to go and stuff.. so before we leave Lucca must get this info. We could not find an internet cafe in Lucca that was open and we settled on the idea of checking email at the Firenze train station before our next train out.
The weather was so bad, we were so wet leaving Lucca at 0700hrs and the trains were late – so we did not have enough time in Firenze to check (without missing our connection to Venice). By the time we were on the train I was stressing about not having any info, what if we don’t get a room – where will we stay, oh, it is so expensive…. blah blah blah.. [Dave writes - whinge, whinge, whinge] We settle on the plan to find an internet cafe ASAP as we land in Venice [David writes - David managed to calm Narelle down and convince her that this is a good idea and that we have heaps of time and that the people will speak English and that not worry].
In Venice at the train station, Dave takes out a piece of paper and says “Now here’s the directions we need” I assume that he has printed them out at an internet place somewhere in Florence. But the tide turns and he says, “well, I have to tell you now…”
To try and keep a long story short, We had free accommodation at the Hotel Danieli – a five star hotel Situated on the waters edge near San Marco’s Square. The most elite and expensive area on Venice. Turns out – that Cath (the dear, lovely, warm hearted, kind, considerate, ….Cath – is that enough?) is an Platinum Member of hotel club and had organised two nights (in gratuito) FREE for us. AS a platinum member, the entitled room was upgraded to a suite overlooking the Grand Canal. Never Ever in my life have I seen such magnificence. This place is UNBELIEVABLE. You have your own cloak room and foyer and corridor in your suite. The walls are covered in silk that match the KING sized bed spread and the curtains. The three windows opened out onto the grand canal and the carpet was plush and so soft. The marble bathroom – where to start- heating under the floor, heated towel rails, shoe mitts (I suppose to polish your shoes?) , hand creams of all types, luxury bath, double vanity – the list goes on. So indulgent.
Anyhow – my tongue is back in my head and I finally stopped the gooey tears of gratitude. Venice – a truly fabulous place. Yes it is also expensive – but so well worth it. You cannot come to Italy without coming to Venice. We enjoyed the luxury of our hotel but ate outside as it was Euro 10 for a coke in our room and breakfast (although a buffet on the terrazza) would set us back $200 AUD for us both. So we stuck to the pizzerias and trattorias.
One we highly recommend is Ristorante Pizzeria Al Chianti. Situated in San Marcos Square – this place is very small but warm and so friendly. Buon Giorno to our new Venetian Amici Manuel and Annarita Vanuzzo. Grazie to Papa (Paolino Vanuzzo) for his great food. We sampled not only great food, but delightful company – hello to John and Sally the English couple next table to us! Our culinary delights continued after dinner with the attempts to savour Italian after dinner Liquors. Enjoying it here so much … don’t want to leave…
Dave & Narelle