—10 May 2012—
We got up at a little before 7:00 and prepared for a leisurely buffet breakfast. Everything had a very different atmosphere as passengers prepared to move on and ship’s company prepared to receive new passengers. Mouths dropped as we ate when a huge ship entered port which proved to be the Cunard Queen Elizabeth. Impressive! It’s amazing to see these huge ships skillfully maneuvered into what appear to be very small spaces.
We left our cabin for the last time about 9:15 and headed out, picking up our luggage in the terminal on the way to the taxi “stand.” We beat Shuchen and her sister and friend, the latter on crutches but with a bubbly personality. We never heard the sister speak, so not sure she spoke English. Jerry and Shuchen negotiated 80€ for all of us and nothing extra for baggage, which seemed a good price based on what we had heard from others. It was good not to worry about how to get the bags to where we were going.
The ride was short and pleasant until it became apparent that we were headed straight for St. Mark’s and not the hotel! The driver said something about the water in the canal being too low, but I decided to make an issue of it and the fact that our new friend on crutches could not be expected to walk blocks to her hotel with luggage, and finally, after some chatter on the radio and without more discussion, the driver backed out and headed for a small canal to the “wrong” side of St. Mark’s. It began to dawn on us that we and our Boston friends were not headed to the same hotel after all, though both were Best Western. We were indeed dropped very close to our friends’ hotel, but Jerry and I had to drag our three bags to and across St. Mark’s Square, and then several blocks and over the two bridges to our Best Western Hotel Ala. What could we do?!?
We were about 2 hours too early to check in, so we left our bags – and our passports!?! – and went exploring. We returned a few minutes early, still, so stopped at a neighboring bar/restaurant for a rest and a libation. Then we checked in, explored our room, took photos of gondolas passing below our balcony, and crashed. 🙂 Jerry slept, I got an internet fix via Wi-Fi.
Revived, we went walking and looking for a place to eat. We made our way back to St. Mark’s and around via the canal side and stopped to enjoy a glass of wine at a lovely outside bar attached to a canal-side hotel.
For dinner, we finally settled on a restaurant with sidewalk dining on a quiet, narrow street (no shops in sight) not far from our hotel. Ristorante alla Borsa proved to be very expensive, but my pasta with spider crab was good and Jerry loved his canneloni! We started with caprese and finished with a delicious tiramisu. We enjoyed chatting with a couple from Phoenix sitting at the next table who were on a bus tour to many of the towns we had just visited. He was a wine “snob,” but that was okay. 🙂 Our dinner entertainment was watching the illegal street vendors selling knock offs scurry past whenever the polizei approached! We returned to our room and shortly to bed.