For Stage 2 of the AIT Tour, (Austria, Italy, Turkey) there couldn’t be an easier way, for us, to get to Venice, Italy from Vienna, Austria. Thanks to the Austrian Rail System, a train takes you from Vienna’s Meidling Station to the Villach, Austria train station, where a very cushy, comfortable bus awaits to take you to Venice. There was even a concierge car on the train to help you arrange hotels, cars, sights, whatever the case may be! Arriving in Mestra I was concerned with the industrial look of the area around the Mestra Train Station, where we were supposed to get off the bus. However, the bus driver told us to stay on and he took us all the way to the docks; to the vaporetto that would take us on to Venice. So on the first day we had traveled by train, bus, and boat! We got off the vaporetto and walked to the right entering St Mark’s Square to the left.
It was early evening and the square was filling with guests, listening to the fine music coming from the restaurants in St Mark’s piazza.
We walked on to our hotel to the tune of the clickety-clack coming from our suitcases on cobble stones. Now, I have to tell you I was shocked to discover that there was water in between the buildings with lots of stairs, small bridges, narrow sidewalks and more stairs over strips of water that slapped against the buildings. For some reason I had it in my head that the water would just be on the Grand Canal. Oh no, there is water everywhere here. The large buildings do not sit on land; they sit on water and a lot of the first floors of the buildings are under water. Will they sink eventually? Just how long can the support beams from the water’s floor hold up the buildings? Just a thought, but I couldn’t get over it!
We came to a wrought iron gate and pushed it open entering a small courtyard and there in the corner was our boutique hotel, the Locanda Orseolo. The small lobby was elegant and inviting. There was the breakfast room to the right, which overlooked the water. We could watch the gondolas float by! After talking to our hosts, who made us so welcome, we were off to our room on the 4th floor. That would be 8 flights of stairs! Stairs, landing, turn, stairs, Floor 1. Stairs, landing, turn, stairs, Floor 2. You get the picture. No elevators in these old buildings! And I was limping before I even got here! Barbara, one of the hostesses, took one look at me and offered to change our room the next day to the first floor! I was so thankful!
So we have fantastic pictures of lively murals on the walls of two rooms here at Locanda Orseolo! All the staff were very friendly; suggesting restaurants, concerts, shopping and sights to explore. Nothing was too much for them. The breakfast room was ideal, we could enjoy the other guests and watch the world go by outside the open window! The breakfast crepes and omelets were made to order and the buffet offered a large spread of meats, breads, cheeses, desserts and juices. Coffee was made to order. It’s another day in this beautiful city! Enjoy!