Our Water Bus had taken us just one stop up and to the other side where we waited to change to a different bus going further up towards St. Marks Square, but today Sally and I had Gondola Trips on our minds.
As I have mentioned Tibbo said he was terrified of water in general and riding in gondolas in particular. First we convinced him that the canals were shallow enough to stand up in -which, amazingly, he seemed to believe, but still demurred about the trip. So we decided liquid encouragement was the only way forward.
Walking down from the exclusive little boutique where Tibbo purchased his wildly expensive Armani belt toward the Grande Canal gave us wonderful views of St. Marks, especially in the bright clear autumn sunshine.
But Tibbo needed BEER and plenty of it before taking to the water. As it was lunchtime most of the outdoor cafes were saving their tables for those eating lunch. We tried a couple places, gradually drifting down towards the water where there appeared to be a nice hotel. Well – nice might be a bit of an understatement – googling afterwards it looks to be THE most expensive hotel in Venice, which is saying something. I have to say it did have a wonderful view of St. Marks and a lovely place to sit overlooking the Grande Canal and watch the boats and gondolas passing.
You can imagine the prices of the drinks in there, and Tibbo needed at least six before he would even consider being persuaded. It didn’t help that the gondolas tied up next to us were moored across the current rather than facing into it, so they were bobbing about fiercely – making Tibbo even less likely to want to board one.
Sally and I were on Champagne Cocktails and keeping pace with him quite nicely – you can imagine what our bar bill was like!
Finally he was convinced that we wanted to ride in a gondola, and that we weren’t prepared to go without him so agreed to come with us. Sally went off to make arrangements for a singer to accompany us on our trip and we followed her out into the sunshine.
The weather made such a difference to the whole proceedings. The sky was blue and the sun reflected from the ripples of the water, which was exactly the aquamarine colour I had expected from the many of Canaletto’s paintings of Venice.
We were handed into our gondola followed by our accordionist and singer, who serenaded us with various Venetian tunes – including of course – ‘O Sole Mio’ and ‘Funiculì, Funiculà’
i throughly enjoyed our trip on the sparkling water, and even saw Tibbo trailing his fingers in the canal at one point, so I hoped he was relaxing into the ride a bit.
Then back to dry land and we struck out back toward the apartment as it looked pretty close from the map. But we didn’t seem to do much distance before it was felt another rest and drink might be needed, and I think then we must have then selected the second most expensive hotel in Venice – yet another exclusive five star establishment the Baglioni Hotel Luna
In through the splendid foyer and through to the bar where the bartender with his Master of Wine buttons in his lapels suggested Bellinis for all three of us, and I have to say they were most enjoyable. And they were ‘they’ as, once again, we seemed to be there for the duration and consumed quite a few before leaving. I could certainly develop a taste for Bellinis!
I popped in to use the ladies’ and was most impressed to find each cubicle complete with bidet in the fancy marble lined loo.
Meanwhile Tibbo and Sally had gone outside for a cigarette break, and as well as a cigarette had a little cuddle. Sally was mortified when the very upright lady receptionist came out to shoo them away, saying it was a private dock owned by the hotel and they couldn’t do that sort of thing there – then looking somewhat confused as they followed her back inside the hotel for more Bellinis. We could only assume as they are both quite tall, both had very short hair and were wearing striped jumpers, plus standing next to the Gondola Station that she must have thought they were two young gondoliers having a canoodle on the hotel’s private dock.
The bartender – who was looking slightly bored in the very quiet afternoon bar – had a chat with us, not only suggesting a nice restaurant for us to eat at that evening, but telephoning our reservation through.
He also said that a good way to see Venice was to take the Water Bus which travelled anti- clockwise round what they call ‘The Fish’ which allows one to see a huge amount of Venice, with NO walking. Just right for me then.