WE'VE GOT A GOLDEN TICKET!

8 November 2015

I had not intended to wear my jello shirt two days in a row, but we had to have our bags out for pick up by 10 last night and I put all my clothes in the pick-up suitcase and that left only the clothes on my back.  So. Jello, Day 2 (though I have to admit it has had nice comments from fellow passengers!)

It was so nice to wake up, look out our window and see this:

I guess they got so many complaints yesterday that they decided to bus EVERYBODY to the terminal and there was a fleet of transports for us.  Much better.

The ride over to the Hilton Molino Stucky (this is an old flour mill run by a guy named Stucky) took a fraction of the time it took to load up the boat.  Goodbye, Viking Star.  Sniff.  We will miss you!

The hotel is a big old thing and sits right on the water of Canale Della Giudecca, facing St. Mark's square.

This is the view from the hotel. 

This is the view from our room.

Brackish water in a canal and somebody's garbage.  But that's OK.  We'll hardly be here and then be winging our way home before we know it.

Check in was a nightmare and took forever.  The hotel was not set up for checking in 150 passengers all at once (though they should have expected it) and had only ONE clerk working.  When they finally got a couple of other clerks things went faster.  We just sat around until we could check in.  Walt and I got our room right away, but they hadn't assigned rooms to Char or to Linda and Bob, so they just put all their carry-on stuff in our room and we got back on the transport and went to St. Mark's again.

First order of business was something to eat, since we all had almost no breakfast, so we went to a cafe near the boat dock.  A lovely young man served us and was quite pleasant.

We all ordered paninis but Walt decided to have pasta with pesto, since he loves pesto so much.  He was thrilled to find out that the pasta was trofi, a pasta Jeri and I discovered in Italy in 2010.  In truth, I don't like it much, but Walt does, so he was happy.

Bob, Linda, Walt and I wanted to ride a gondola.  Char passed, since she had done it before.  There was no line to get on the boat (when we came back it was mobbed), so we got on--a treacherous proposition when you are large and have difficulty balancing!--and started off.  I had actually considered not going on this ride, thinking it was just too clich and touristy, but I am so glad I didn't say that. 

They had to balance the weight right, so Walt ended up paired with Linda, while Bob and I sat on opposite sides of the boat.

Once we got onto the side canals, it was magic.  Every minute was worth taking pictures.

The house below was apparently the residence of Casanova, for a while.

Definitely a not-to-be-missed experience.  Of course then we had to get OFF the gondola, and that was no easy feat either, but the gondolieri are very experienced at what they do and got both Bob and me off without dropping either of us (or our cameras) in the water.


So this is why Char didn't go with us!

We found a small street where you could walk next to a canal and enjoyed looking at some of the shops and restaurants, like this fish place...

...and this place that sold Christmas ornaments and other things made of glass.

We walked as far as a small piazza, where Linda and Walt found a shop that each of them wanted to buy something in...

...and then we found another small street which took us, again, back out to the main street.  We stood around for a bit trying to decide what to do next, which seemed a good time to take more pictures.

But we all admitted that we had had enough walking, so we went to where the shuttle boat would pick us up, and returned to the hotel.  Bob and Linda finally had a room assignment--next door to Walt and me.  Char went off to her room and then sent a note letting me know where she had made reservations for dinner.  It was time for her to make good the "golden ticket" she gave us on our 50th anniversary (dinner in Venice).

We went to Bucaroni, here in the hotel.  It was a small place, but the staff could not have been more friendly or the food any more delicious.  We had one more group photo taken of "the best people I know..." (Bob's standard toast).

When dinner was finished, we found a spot arranged just like the spot where we sit and talk every night on the Viking Star.  Well, maybe not quite the way we visited each evening on the Viking Star.

But eventually we had to admit that we were all fading fast, and so we ended the visit and headed off to our rooms to sleep some.

Tomorrow we can sleep late, breakfast late, and then head over to the other side.  We are going to try to find a restaurant that was recommended to us by my friend Laurie Feldman.  We figure we'll have a late lunch and then not worry about dinner.

Tomorrow night it's bags out at 10 and from there home....
 

FOOD OF THE DAY

The first "course" was the ubiquitous bread with olive oil and balsamic.
My dinner was lamb chops in a delicious sauce, with accompanying vegetables.
Walt's dinner was pasta with rice and gnocci and a truffle on top.
We shared a Pavlova (what they call meringues in Australia) for dessert.
The whole meal was wonderful.
Thank you, Char!
 

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