Venice is always a good idea
Bob - who has never really lusted to see it - spent ages on the internet researching places to go and stay. He found a gem - one of the Lonely Planet's 'picks'. It was a small hotel called the Galleria right on the Academia bridge. Bob even managed to book THE room - hanging only fifteen feet above the Grand Canal and with a beautiful painted ceiling.
We flew to Milan. I have a love/hate relationship with Malpensa airport. I missed a flight there once. I was told that three quarters of an hour was plenty to make a connection. It wasn't. This was patently obvious from the beginning when the doors stayed resolutely closed as hunched and standing passengers grumbled and groaned as the stairway to the ground had not arrived. It was even more obvious about half an hour later when the stairs had arrived but the bus to the terminal had not. Fifteen minutes later We were put on the bus - and my flight was taking off on the other side of the runway.
I was in that airport for five hours. I could not get a plane until next morning. We queued for hours at a counter with about sixty angry people waiting and one girl very slowly trying to get them onto flights. At one stage she stood up and put on her jacket and started to walk away.
"Where are you going," said someone.
"My shift is finished," she said, and I would swear she walked faster.
"What about us?"
"Someone will come."
It was almost midnight when they finally put us on a bus that took us to a hotel - I still don't know where it was - and fed us a very simple meal and put us to bed for four hours, before loading us onto another bus for the airport again.
Anyway - this time we were actually ending the flight in Milan but as we walked past the counter I saw a very familiar group of annoyed-looking people and one tired girl behind the counter.
We took a train to Venice.
We walked out of the station and there it was spread out before us, like a gift.
It seemed unbelievable that we had arrived by something as land-bound as a train.
Broad stairs take you down from the station to the edge of the Grand Canal. Opposite is a green domed church, and palaces line the canal, drifting off as far as the eye can see where the canal curves away to promise infinity.
Ferries slide in, parking (can a ferry park?) by sound as they jam in hard against the floating docks and passengers lurch and rapidly regain their balance.
It was absolutely magical. It was Winter, and a holiday weekend, but busy, not crowded.
We had one wet day with San Marco flooded and it was hilarious as people walked the boardwalks in single file, like lemmings. Others donned brilliantly plastic long boots and waded through the flood - cold, but quicker.
A gorgeous little girl was feeding pigeons which swirled around her in a flurry of wings.
I loved the way the water marks contoured the body on this sculpture.
The Grand Canal
This is the view from our hotel window - right opposite.
and looking down the canal...
And best of all - we spent one afternoon in Burano. I have wanted to see this since I leant over a friend's shoulder as she flicked through her daughter's photographs. We arrived on the first sunny day after a week of rain and it was washing day. I have not put in a blog entry for so long that I am going to give you a feast of Burano photographs!
OK. There are so many more. Clicking on these will take you to my Flickr site - or you can follow the link on the left. Then click on the Burano set on the left and look at all of them!
Then connect to your friendly travel agent and make your booking.