Untours Cafe

We recently returned from two fantastic weeks on an Untour to one of the world's most amazing cities, Venice.

Arriving at 2:00 PM, we were met at the airport by Denny, a delightful person. As we walked to the water taxi, I asked Denny when the other Untourists would be arriving. She told us that we were the only ones this term. Needless to say we were very disappointed as we very much enjoy meeting our fellow travelers.

Our breath was taken away as our boat approached the city on a glorious warm,sunny day with cloudless blue skys. Soon we were navigating through a maze of canals. We passed a small canal going off to the right and stopped while a boat exited this canal. Our driver then proceeded to back up the canal. When I asked Denny why we were backing up the canal, she replied" It's one way !" Only in Italy!!!

Claudio met us at our landing and escorted us to San Lorenzo, our apartment. Located on the third floor, the apartment was very well equipped and very comfortable.Accessed from a set of stairs in the apartment was an altana (deck) on the roof. After each day of sightseeing, we would sit up here with our glass of wine and enjoy the views. San Lorenzo apartment in Castello district was a very convenient location. Only about 10 minutes walk to San Marcos and 15 miutes to Rialto Bridge. Three minutes walk is a supermarket and a wine refill shop.

The morning after our arrival, we took a vaporetto to Piazzale Roma where we met Denny for an orientation and walking tour. Then it was time to start exploring on our own.

Each day we would leave the apartment around 8:30 to 9:00 for sightseeing and exploring., walking and riding the vaporettos. We usually would eat lunch out and return to the apartment between 3:30 and 4:00, having a wine on the altana before fixing a simple dinner. In the evening we would take a walk and enjoy a gelato.

Our sightseeing included the usual highlights of San Marcos Basilica, Doges Palace, Rialto Bridge and fish and produce markets, Correr Museum, Academia Museum, Murano and Burano. However, we did find many places a tourist spending only 2 or 3 days in Venice would never be able to see.

For the best views of Venice, we went to San Giorgio and took the elevator up in the bell tower. It was awesome. Only 5 minutes boat ride from Burano is the delightful island of Torcello. One of our favorite museums was the Naval Museum with 5 floors of ship models and naval history. It was one of the best bargains in Venice with admission only1,55 Euros. Exploring the Ghetto was very interesting. Here we found a very good, reasonable restaurant, Al Faro and a Jewish bakery where we purchased homemade matzohs.Campo Margarita was our favorite campo. In Campo del Scala, we found the spiral staircase built in I believe the 12th century.. Our favorite place for gelato was La Boutique del Gelato on San Lio next to Hotel Buono which is between Campo Maria Formosa and San Marcos. This gelateria is written up in several tour books as the best.The gelato is the best that we had and they gave the largest scoops.

One evenng we were treated to a wonderful evening with Denny attending a concert of love duets from operas. It was held in an old palace located on the Grand Canal.

Before we left for the Untour, several people asked what we could possibly do in Venice for two weeks. There was so much to do that we couldn't see all that we wanted Next time !!!

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