Well, we've been back for a few weeks now so its time to post a trip report. We left early on Saturday and our flights were pretty uneventful until we got to Charles de Gaulle. We had just over an hour lay over which seemed a little tight but doable. We had about the same length of layover in Atlanta with no problems. I was a little anxious because the line for passport control was quite long but the real issue was after that. I don't know how far we had to walk all over the air port to get to our next gate including having to go through security again. We made it with about 15 minutes to spare but the flight had already boarded. At least the flight was no where near full so there was no issue getting our luggage on. I will never connect through Charles de Gaulle again if I can help it. After that we arrived in Venice with no issues. We bought vaporetto passes and only waited a couple of minutes for the bus. We got a little lost looking for the Pensione Guerato but it wasn't too bad. Several people helped my Mom with her bag.
Continued After settling in and a shower we headed out. We tried to do Rick's Rialto to Frari Church walk but had difficulty following it. We wandered a bit and had our first Gelato. My Mom finally decided she was too tired. I tried to convince her that a nap was a bad idea and it was better to stay out but she wouldn't listen to me so I took her back to the room. I went back out on my own and went to the Scula san Rocco and the Frari Church via vaporetto. After a few hours I picked up my Mom and we went out and found pizza. At one point, my Mom asked me what was with all the masks. She really should have done her research. We wandered around Cannareggio a bit and took Rick's Grand Canal tour. We even got a seat at the front of the vaporetto. At the end of the tour we headed straight back to the hotel and were in bed by 9. A good night's sleep and I was done with jet lag. My Mom didn't suffer too much either despite her nap. Her 25 years of working the graveyard shift probably helped. Day 2 After breakfast at the Pensione Guerato which we really enjoyed, we headed out early to San Giorgio Maggiore. My Mom didn't want to spend the money to go up the bell tower but I made her since I knew she wouldn't be going up anywhere that didn't have an elevator. She was glad she did. It was a beautiful morning and we had great views. Afterward we headed out into the lagoon to Murano. We didn't follow Rick's tour but I consulted it as we wandered around. I bought a glass pendant and my Mom got a turtle for my niece, she collects them. We then went on to Burano which I liked best. I wish now that I had bought a lace skirt or dress but it was only the second day of the trip and I wasn't sure how much extra money I had and I really wanted a leather jacket from Florence. It turned out I had 3000.00 left when we got home. I'll have a better idea next time.
Continued After returning to Venice proper we visited La Salute. And in the evening we went to St Mark's Square. My Mom had known that there would be music but was pleasantly surprised that it was classical. She thought it would be more of a rock vibe. While we were looking for dinner, I bought a purse. I had discovered that my back pack and my neck pouch weren't good enough. I only wore skirts on the trip and therefore had no pockets. I couldn't wear the backpack with my iPod and daily money in it. I found a small purse with a long strap and several pockets for only 18 Euro. I was able to wear it across my body and have easy access to the iPod, daily money, transportation passes and tickets. I could then safely wear the back pack again. I'm still using that purse now that we're back. Day 3 This day there was a boat strike. We had found out about it the day before and were glad that we didn't have our lagoon day planned for this day. We were fine walking. The day started out with a different difficulty though. As we headed to St Mark's square we stopped at our first ATM. I got out money no problem but my Mom's card wouldn't work. They weren't able to help her inside either. Later in the day she called her bank at home. They knew she was in Italy an told her that the issue was that her card didn't have a chip. I know that couldn't really have been the problem because mine doesn't either. I personally think the problem was that she was using her teeny tiny credit union. She probably should have used her Wells Fargo account instead. The credit union never was able to fix the problem and she ended up having to wire me money. Luckily I work in the wire department of a bank so I knew just how to do it.
Continued Continuing with the activities of the day, we went to St Mark's Square and started with the Correr Museum. We then did the Doge's Palace and the Basilica. We sort of eavesdropped a bit on a small group's tour guide at the Palace but only when we couldn't help but hear her. The basilica was extremely crowded and we kind of got pushed through. There was no time to linger. Later in the afternoon we went the the Accademia. Since there were no boats we decided to walk back in the general direction of the hotel. We got a bit lost but we saw some more residential areas and back canals and some local color.
Julie, thanks for the report, hope there's more to come. I bought that same purse, I think, and a few more for gifts (small enough to pack easily).
Wonderful trip report Julie. I saved it for reference for our trip. Thanks.
HI Julie, Glad you enjoyed your trip to Venice! It's both my husband & my favorite city. We really enjoy "getting lost" in that wonderful place and finding a quaint little restaurant around the bend. Just a comment on Charles de Gaulle airport & airports in general. Be sure to always book more than an hour layover because you'll probably need it going through the extra steps - passport checks, 2nd security check for any international travel midpoints.
Julie enjoying your report very much, but it doesn't sound like mom did much research at all before going, ( rock music in St Marcos square, lol ) ,, also wonder, didn't she go into her bank before she left to let them know she was going to be out of country and make sure card didn't get blocked and that she could use it overseas. I agree, it had nothing to do with it not being chipped ..
She did hardly any research at all. It meant I got to plan the whole trip, which I didn't mind, but there were times on the trip where I wished she had done more. Like when she was surprised at what things cost. She did let her bank know she was going to Italy. I think her mistake was only bringing the cards for her tiny credit union rather than for her Wells Fargo account.
Thanks for posting this - looking forward to future installments. Yes, your mother's experience is a reminder that EVERYONE should bring more than one kind of card, and not count on any one method exclusively for getting money when traveling. You don't have to go overboard, but two credit cards and/or two debit cards are a very good idea. Her other experiences are also a reminder that you get more out of trip when you do some research first <g>. Again, there's nothing wrong with someone taking the lead on planning, but going in cold isn't the best way to have a good time.
Thank you very much for your report. I will be traveling to Venice for three days in early October before I join up with a Rick Steves' tour. You said you really liked Burano. What was it that you found so special? Also, do you have any recommendations of "not to be missed" sites or happenings? Thanks for any input you can give.
Thanks for your great report Julie! We will be in Venice for only 2 nights on our tour through Italy with our 2 teenagers. With this limited time, what should we not miss?
We didn't have teenagers with us and they will probably effect your decisions. If they are old enough and responsible enough Venice is probably one of the better places to let them go off on there own. I would make sure you allow time to just explore. Some of my favorite pictures from the trip are from the back streets and little side canal. Try to get out early. You should ask your question on "To the Boot." Lots of people with more experience than I have would be happy to help. I've only been once. Already dreaming of the next trip though.
Hi Julie, Thank you for posting. We stayed at Pensione Guerato a few years ago and enjoyed it, too. Can you tell us what their nightly rate is now? We haven't been able to locate that information. Can you also tell us what their breakfast includes, I've heard that it's changed. Thanks!
I think we paid 95 Euros a night for a double with shared bath in October. For breakfast there were pastries and rolls, cereal and yogurt. It was very good.
Carolyn, here's Hotel Guerrato's website and their current rates.