I’m just going to put this out there. I think this might have been one of our most challenging trips yet. We knew it was going to be a stretch–we had several conversations about what could go wrong. Let’s face it–the loop we planned to cover would require every transfer to run perfectly. In fact I was so worried about the timing that I created a pdf trip guide that listed every single mode of transportation, reservation, and driving map. The document was 59 pages long. I memorized it, then I had John memorize it too.
How would we possibly cover seven countries, nine hotels, an overnight ferry, and 1300 miles of driving without a hitch? The answer is, delightfully! The entire trip ran smoothly. The hardest hardships were: John had a terrible chest cold, we got a 50 Euro parking ticket not an hour into our visit in Croatia (we called it the Gringo tax), and one of our 30-minute driving segments took two hours due to construction. But otherwise, we hit every mark, and best of all–we got along really well! Hardly an argument to speak of. And if the true test of a relationship is a long road trip, I think John and I have this thing covered.
Here’s how the whole thing went down: our friend Kyle dropped us at the Phoenix airport around 6 pm, and our direct flight from Phoenix to Heathrow was luxurious. We had a totally flat bed on British Airways–it’s a 9 hour flight so that makes all the difference. We transferred Heathrow-Gatwick on a coach I had pre-booked online. Super easy. Then we flew Gatwick-Venice, where we caught a water taxi to our hotel the Sant Antonin. I had written to them for a late check-in, and it all went well, except for the strange internet system that required us to click deep into a menu on the television, and then it never worked anyhow. More on the various internet systems we encountered later.
We were too tired to head out into the cobbles and canals, so we went to sleep to get ready for a lovely day of touring. But what a night we had! Thunder, lightning, rain. We managed to get a touch of rest before breakfast downstairs. I must say the Europeans get this right–they don’t send anyone off into the day without feeding them first. Every one of our nine hotels came with breakfast. This one was nice, though since it was raining they had to move the service from the garden to the tiny dining area, and it was cramped. But we got enough to eat, then headed out to beat the crowds.
We used an App called Triposo that offers walking tours at various distances. The App pointed us to all the right spots, and we hit all the must-see’s in about 2 hours. My favorite destination was the Peggy Guggenheim museum, where her personal residence has been transformed into a refuge for some of the most famous modern artists: think Ernst, Kandinsky, Picasso, Chagall; in short, all my favorites. It was such a treat to visit this museum, even though I felt a touch ethnocentric visiting an American’s home in Italy. We wandered back towards the hotel for lunch since we planned to nap after. At Bacarando Ai Corazzieri we accidentally ordered nearly all the food in the restaurant.
After a long nap, we wandered back out for a little wine at Cantinone Gia’Schiavi and a lovely dinner at Osteria Enoteca Ai Artist. We got a gelato for the walk back the hotel, which was a little touch and go there when the evening flooding crowded off several of our routes back.
What a magical place, Venice.Would we really have to leave? The following morning we enjoyed breakfast in the garden before taking our last stroll through the cobbles, where I stopped to salivate over some dresses in a window. Too bad the shop was closed. We caught a water taxi back to the airport to pick up our rental car so we could make our 4 hour drive to Ancona to catch the ferry to Croatia.