Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Staying in Venice - Budget Price or Bellissimo?

So how does a crazy old lady with dodgy knees and little Italian vocabulary cope in Venice? Very well, thank you. On the whole.

I flew alone into Treviso airport on a budget airline - my sister was scheduled to arrive later in the day at Marco Polo. I had somehow get to the main Venetian island and our accommodation with little of the Italian language at my command. With some feelings of nervousness I emerged from the airport  to search for the bus to Piazalle Roma. I need not have worried - it was right outside the main exit and because I had bought the coach tickets online before leaving home I could more or less remain mute. I had decided to avoid the queues at the carousel by bringing only carry-on luggage and so was the first on the coach - which gave me half an hour to yet again puzzle over the map.

We called at Mestre to pick up passengers.  Retrospective research suggests that this is an area that is slighter more budget friendly than central Venice -so  I think on my next visit (yes, there will definitely be a next visit) I might  to choose stay here and catch the bus/train into Venice on a daily basis.

A thrilling drive across the causeway and suddenly we were at the bus station, where I disembarked into a warm and sunny afternoon.  Despite clear written directions from our hotel I then managed to get lost ( I sometimes wonder if I might fit in well at a home for the bewildered) so stopped at the first cafe to ask for advice - which involved verbal interaction, the purchase of a cappuccino and much pointing at the map!

A few hundred yards further, along narrow passageways, and suddenly I had arrived in the historical heart of Venice.


I have to admit that my first reaction to our choice of accommodation was slight disappointment. My sister and I had paid a total of 700 euros (£533 sterling in May 2016) (plus 2.50 euros per person per night tourist tax) for four nights in a B and B, where we had been allocated an apartment. This has a separate private entry from that to the B and B - it's on the ground floor in an adjoining 18th century building, accessed by a doorway that opens on to a narrow public footpath. It was spotlessly clean, recently modernised, with a pretty cream and yellow tiled bathroom, a separate sitting/dining room with small kitchen area. But I found the rooms spartan and quite chilly (we never managed to get the central heating to function). It felt rather like a student flat and we were, indeed, on the edge of the student area of Venice. The property is very secure - metal electrically operated window shutters and a heavy entrance door with five-lever lock. And it proved to be very conveniently situated - close to the San' Tomas vaporetto stop on the Grand Canal. However, we were occasionally awakened at night by late-night revellers returning home - this was at the start of the summer season, so I guess that it might be more of a problem during high season.

To eat the continental-style breakfast (no hot food) that was included in the cost of our accommodation we emerged from the apartment, took a few steps to the wrought iron  security gate and pressed the bell to be granted access.

The tiny first floor dining room opened on to a small terrace set out with tables - it would be a lovely place to start the day on a warm morning but during our stay most mornings were too cold and damp for us to take advantage of the terrace. The buffet breakfast was adequate, the waitress charming ( as were all the staff).

To summarise -
The Junior Suite with a View occupied by our friends
Click to Link

You get what you pay for; the non-frills accommodation was ok for four nights and young people looking for cheap accommodation, independence and privacy, with facilities for preparing drinks and snacks, might be very satisfied with the apartment.  But next time I will indulge in something slightly more upmarket. Like the luxury boutique hotel where friends with cash to splash were spending a special anniversary - we met them there for prosecco in the courtyard garden of the hotel and were given a tour of their room. OMG. Set on the Grand Canal, modernised interior, incredibly stylish, with a balcony window that looked down on the water. Deep envy!

Four nights in Venice is enough for a footloose pensioner with dodgy knees. We walked roughly 10k every day and by the last day I had just about run out of steam (my sister, an erstwhile marathon runner, fared slightly better). And there is a limit to the amount of ecclesiastical art that a girl can take. But Venice is so wonderful - I would happily return tomorrow, now that I've got my breath back.

Find my money-saving tips for a visit to Venice here - Venice on a Shoe-String Budget

A useful article by hubber Bill De Giulio

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