Wednesday 22 July
Today was a travelling day for us as we said goodbye to Padua after a very happy stay at the “Grand Italia Hotel” which was not particularly grand but who looked after us very well indeed. We had a late checkout, enjoyed the air con in the room and eventually made our way to the station for the very short run to Venice.
It is the first time we have stayed on the Venice
island and it does make a huge difference. Our rather “boutique” room looks out on a canal, not a very grand canal, but a canal nevertheless! It also could only be reached by water-bus there being no road taxis on the island. We alighted at St Angelo stop on the Grand Canal after a very crowded and rather sweaty water-bus ride and began the hunt for the St Georgio Hotel. The best written maps of the lanes of Venice inevitably fail but ours lasted long enough to find someone to point us in the right direction and we were delighted to be reunited with air conditioning.
Initially appearing to be a Venezian backwater we were delighted that Moranda from Helloworld Belgrave had placed us in the heart of the San Marco shopping district just 10 minutes relatively straightforward walking to St Mark’s Square. The shopping lanes cheered up Ann immensely and immediately including much murano glass, clothing, amazing jewellery, air conditioned restaurants, paper and leather shops. Yes there was even a secondhand bookshop and even a stamp shop run by an 84 year old hard talking salesman who was a child in uniform when Mussolini ruled and proudly showed us the photograph. We stayed in the shops and the sun long enough to plot a course to St Mark’s Piazza then retreated to our room for siesta.
After dinner we went for a further wander looking at the Rialto Bridge in early evening light and watching the slightly embarrassed gondola dwellers as they passed under little bridges crowded with tourists.
We have just learned on BBC News that the heat will be with Italy for another week so we will have to maintain our current sun avoidance routine. It is at least getting down to a quite reasonable 35 degrees! and there is an ocean breeze in Venice which helps.