Trip to Padova and Venezia


Trip to Padova and Venezia

Friday, May 29th, 2015

On alternating weekends Karen has a Saturday trip with the school to some nearby town. This is good not only for travel but also for more exposure and practice with Italian. The first weekend of her school she went to Ravenna to see the famous byzantine mosaics. So the next weekend we decided to take a little jaunt to Padova and Venezia. Padova (Padua in English for some bizarre reason) is the seat of the 2nd oldest university. It was founded by some malcontents that left the oldest university here in Bologna and started one in Padova. It’s a very nice town about 2/3 the size of Bologna but seems considerably smaller. It’s a little more laid back and a nice place to walk around. It’s also a 26 minute train ride from Venezia (for some equally bizarre reason called Venice in English). So rather than stay in overpriced Venezia we opted to stay in Padova.

Dinner the first night was in a very old and respected Osteria near the place that we were staying. Osteria dal Capo. It had very traditional dishes and we enjoyed it. While in general there are not a lot of tourists in Padova we were seated at a table with a German couple to my right and a Italian couple from Reggio Emilia (about 50 miles from Bologna) on my left. The menu contained a word that I couldn’t find in the dictionary and the waitress politely explained that selecting that dish would mean that I would be eating donkey. I was game but went for a traditional venetian pasta dish instead.

We stayed in an AirBnB and found a place in a very good location in the center of town at a good price. It was on the 3rd floor without an elevator but we figured we could manage that well enough since we are on the 2nd floor here in Bologna and would not be going up and down as often. There were a couple of little “issues” with the room. It said a private bath, which it was, except it was private while at the same time being down the hall. Fortunately the towels were large so they could serve as a robe for those times when making the trek to the bathroom was during the night or after a shower. The other thing was the old fashioned key for the lock to the room. When we first arrived I (and the lovely K) spend 10 or 15 minutes without success trying to unlock the door. I called the proprietor and they were going to send someone over soon but I then, of course, did manage to get the door open. I think that they really could use a little modernization in that area. One humorous moment was as we exited on Saturday morning on the way to breakfast and then to Venice. We had arrived at the ground floor when Karen said, “Oh, I forgot my phone!”. Being the gentleman that I am I volunteered to get the extra exercise of going back up the 3 flights of stairs and back to retrieve the phone.

 

Breakfast in Padova

Breakfast in Padova

Breakfast the next day in the same place. The stones are very picturesque but a pain to walk on.

Breakfast the next day in the same place. The stones are very picturesque but a pain to walk on.

 

 

Leaving the train station on the totally full vaporetto

Leaving the train station on the totally full vaporetto

traffic jam even for the gondolas

traffic jam even for the gondolas

Great view from the Rialto bridge

Great view from the Rialto bridge

I always love a fish market and those at the Rialto market are really great

I always love a fish market and those at the Rialto market are really great

Fish monger at the Rialto market

Fish monger at the Rialto market

Small side canal with private boats

Small side canal with private boats

Another larger side canal

Another larger side canal

With the lovely K on one of the smaller canal bridges

With the lovely K on one of the smaller canal bridges

Yes, the streets (calle) in Venice can be quite small

Yes, the streets (calle) in Venice can be quite small

Gondola workshop - note the black one!

Gondola workshop – note the black one!

Another view down the canal

Another view down the canal

Don't remember the name of this wonderful building in Padove

Don’t remember the name of this wonderful building in Padova

The huge wooden horse inside the "forgotten name" building.

The huge wooden horse inside the “forgotten name” building.

 

 

So then off to a typical Italian breakfast of a pastry and cappuccino before taking the tram to the train station and then the train to Venice. Venice is undeniably beautiful. A trip in a vaporetto down the grand canal lined with spectacular palazzos is something not to be missed. Unfortunately it must be shared with hundreds of tourists packed into the boat like sardines. Even every little out of the way street was packed with tourists. Of course we were tourists as well but still, it can get pretty annoying tramping around the city and practically being trampled by the herd of camera toting people from all over the world. Add to this the full press commercialization of trinket buying opportunities absolutely everywhere (most undoubtedly made in China) and it pretty much drove me crazy. Of course I think that I drove the lovely K crazy by looking for the place with the best value for cicchetti (venetian style snack food). Maybe we’ll go back some day in November (and NOT on a weekend) or something when the tourists outnumber the residents by only 3 to 1 rather than 10 to 1 on this trip.

On Saturday night we ate at a very nice place in Padova, Trattoria San Pietro. More elegant and better food than Dal Capo at almost the same price. I was fortunate to call for reservations when I did in the late afternoon because we got the last available table. The next day we returned to Bologna and while taking the bus back to the apartment found that everything the bus service that we needed to get home was disrupted by a religious procession (taking the picture of the Madona back to San Luca). Sometimes things just don’t go as planned but we survived.

 

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