Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Maguires' Second Stop: Venice

In my second installment of advice and suggestions to my friends Matt and April and their daughter Hannah, we move to destination number two, the magnificent city of Venice. The top photograph was taken just on the fringe of Saint Mark's Square as the three arches, the artist, and the stylish Venetian gentleman all seemed to me to be quintessential Venice. The picture also reminds me to turn around once in a while. You never know what potentially great scene may be behind you. Sometimes, you just have to splurge a little. In this case, a speedboat from the Marco Polo Airport into the center of the city was worth every penny. I talked Matt into it. They'll love every second of the ride. The next vertical shot says, "Get out of the center of town and get lost!" Except you can't get lost! It's an island. Shake yourself! Next, find a restaurant with some atmosphere and don't sweat the inflated prices in Venice. When you get to Santa Margarita, things will seem cheap, but enjoy Venice while you're there. Another tip. It's entirely worth it to get in line in front of the Campanile in Saint Mark's Square before 9 am and take the elevator to the top for stunning views of Venice and the lagoon. I do it every time I go there. The next photo is of a gondola shop somewhere. I couldn't find it again if I tried. Just another reason to explore off the tourist path. Next up, a huge DON'T. Don't go into St Mark's in the afternoon for any reason. It's a mess. It's summer and it's packed, Instead, go at night when only people who are staying in hotels are around. It's beautiful, bands are playing, kids are running around throwing glowy things in the air, and it truly is "The Drawing Room of Europe." And last, by all means take a break sometime in the afternoon to sit down and maybe have a cold beverage of your choice. In this case, a vodka tonic and a gin tonic. Just don't do what we did and drink it on the Square. The bill came to 38 Euros plus tip, which two summers ago amounted to about 50 US dollars! Walk the equivalent of two city blocks and cut the price by 66%. At least we got some soggy chips with our drinks.

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