Day 37: Wednesday, October 11, 2006
What Do You Mean the Bank Card Doesn't Work;
We were served a continental breakfast in our room
in the morning. We ate it looking out the open window of our
room. We watched all kinds of kids coming off the Bridge or
vaporetto on their way to the schools behind us. Most of the
younger ones were accompanied by a parent. We also noticed
several people getting off the vaporetto with a dog on a leash.
We wandered back to the Dorodoso to find an Internet cafe. We
read our email and sent an update to everyone back home.
Kathryn was running low on cash so she tried to get money from a
bank machine. She received a message saying her card didn't
work and to call the bank. Since it was about 3:00 am in Canada we
decided to wait until later.
It was another lovely day and our plan was to begin by visiting
Lido, an 18 km long sandbar south of Venice.
Lido is famous for its lovely beaches. We jumped on the #1
vaporetto and had a rather bouncy ride across the choppy lagoon.
There was a bank by the main terminal so Kathryn tried her card
again. This time she got through but it said there were not
enough funds in the account. This did not sit well with
Kathryn. She bought a phone card and tried to access the
international operator to call her bank. She was becoming very
frustrated as she followed the instructions on the wall of the phone
booth and kept getting phone operators or messages that were in
Italian. Ken, being a smart lad and realizing that any helpful
phone assistance was not being well-received, suggested that we
catch the vaporetto back to Venice and look for another phone before
Kathryn had a complete meltdown. We never did make it to the
We wanted to take some photos of Venice from the boat.
Although we were first in line, we waited for the third vaporetto
which was one of the few which had some seats in front of the pilots
cabin which would give us a better view.
We rode the vaporetto back
across the lagoon and then down the entire length of the Grand
Canal to the railways station near the Ponte dei Scalzi
(the third Grand Canal Bridge). This was an interesting
trip as the Grand Canal is full of all many of boats. You
will see vaporetti, water taxis, gondolas, garbage barges,
delivery boats, and traghetti (a gondola which costs 50 cents
and goes directly back and forth across the Canal at various
points because there are only three bridges that cross the Canal
). You can see some of the photos I
took along the way in the slide show below.
View of Venice
heading back from Lido Island
We went into the
railway station and found everything we needed to know for our
train trip to Rome the next day. Kathryn went to a tourist
information centre and received proper instructions on how to
use the phone card. She got through to TD Bank and they
had no idea why it said there was not enough funds. He
increased the daily amount and was just about to give her a
collect phone number to use if we had further problems when time
on the card ran out.
happy that her credit card now works
explored the area around Scalzi Bridge and then caught the vaporetto
back to our hotel. We went looking in Dorodoso for a proper
bank to get some money. We had a delicious standup pizza lunch
(it costs more if you sit down) and then bought a new phone card.
We tried to phone Kathryn's dad Fred but we only got the
answering machine. Now that we were pros using the phone card,
we phoned our friend Dan Smith in his classroom as he was teaching
his high school English class back in Calgary. Dan did not
find the situation quite as funny as we did. Kathryn went to
an Internet cafe to get a list of banks that would accept are bank
cards while Kenny sat down at the outdoor cafe and ordered a shot of
Grappa, a uniquely Italian drink. Traditionally, made from
pomace, the discarded grape seeds, stalks, and stems that are a
by-product of the winemaking process, this "firewater" is about 60%
alcohol. It tastes awful but Ken had a glass in honour of his
Calgary teaching buddy Romel Raffin who had introduced him to the
homemade variety. Kathryn came back with a list of qualified
bank machines but it didn't do us much good. There are no maps
that show all of the many streets and allies in Venice and the
numbering system is not logical. Frommer's guidebook says that
"a maniac must have numbered Venice's buildings." We searched
for three different banks in the Dorodoso but were unable to find
any of them. We decided to go back to the hotel for a rest and
stumbled across the right bank 15 m
south of our hotel. Kathryn was much happier now that
she had some cash. We tried three more times throughout the
night to phone Fred and wish him a happy birthday. We tried a
few more times over the next few days and kept getting his answering
machine. Only when we returned home did we find out that he
had actually fallen down on September 19, while we were in Lucerne,
and broken his hip and shoulder. He had hip replacement
surgery and was still in the hospital when we arrived home at the
end of October. Kathryn sister made the decision not to tell
us because there was nothing we could have done and it would have
spoiled our holiday as we worried about Fred.
As the late afternoon
sun started to set, we went for a walk, heading east instead of
our usual west. After a short stroll we arrived at the
church of Santa Maria della Salute. Shortly after we
arrived, spotlights came on bathing the church in light.
We went back to our hotel, changed clothes and went out for
dinner. This time is was at a small trattoria, a
specifically Italian institution more akin to an family-run
eating club than a conventional restaurant. The menus are small,
the service is casual, the prices low, and the emphasis is on a
steady clientele rather than on haute cuisine. The food is
modest but plentiful and is served family-style - we shared a
table on the backyard patio with another couple. Once
again, "mama" who waited on us seemed disappointed that we
shared one of each course. The food was very good.
We went back to Santa Maria della Salute and took a few photos .
Then it was home to bed so we could get an early start.
on the steps in front of the church of
Santa Maria della Salute at night
Click here for a slide show of Day 37 photos.