After a few u turns, we decided to leave te car in a car park close to the city. Options were to park in Mestro and then train it in, or drive to 2 closer car parks. Per usual in Europe, very poorly marked directions. We found our way to the valporetto- subway via boats.
Just a tip, you have to carry your luggage onto the boat-quick hop on-not even-so unless you are traveling with a strong, gentleman like Lincoln- pack a separate backpack. Also make sure you know directions to your hotel because- lots of bridges over canals and not so much fun to carry heavy luggage over and back(I knew the directions-about time).
We bought a 2 day pass-make sure you get on the valporetto heading in the correct direction.
We stayed at the Ex-Sofitel between the train and bus stations. Sofitel chain are building new hotels and down graded some into a different grouping. The hotel has Sofitel in huge letters-not sure if it will be this way for long. We checked it and instantly, the reminder of the smallest rooms in Europe come to mind. It wasn't too bad and we had the housekeeping cart outside our room-so we helped ourselves to some extra towels. Locked up the shampoo/shower gels. If anyone can tell us how to use the bidet- welcome advise.
It is a casual city. So hot and humid during the day. We strolled around and of course found the Rooster(cock hotel)-no restaurant. I had no clue how the city was set up- all the mini canals and bridges-like a giant maze puzzle-dead ends. We had no sightseeing agenda- we went to the markets-great fish- we noticed this city is full of full time residents-not just tourists.
I had no idea of the city itself- it is run down. The canals appear dirty and smell of urine in some parts. Do not walk along the walls-big dog runs-lots of dogs. The gondolas are just as to be expected-pimped out canoes. We watched 6 in a row-filled with Japanese tourists-snapping pictures(do they look at them) with the drivers-chatting away on his cell phones-no bluetooth. We did see a father/son pick up the mom with groceries and supplies in their boat- just pulled up and she hopped in. The canal homes appear to be elegant. And a UPS boat delivering packages-all signs of normal life.
I had hoped to buy some decorative glass-Murano. It is everywhere and very modern-make sure you find the made in Italy label or ask because-deceptive and can be from China. This is a tourist shopping mecca. We drank proscecco-easy to communicate here- and they have mini bottles- all day.
San Marco square is crowded- full of pigeons-Lincoln refers to them as flying rats- not afraid of people and will steal food out of your hands. Nice views and of course the big Church. On the exterior- the scenes are all tile mosaics- so unique. If you want to enter the church or doge's palace next door- get there early. The other popular activity is taking the valporetto the entire canal length-very crowded and longer trip-look for a more express boat. They are easy to find and will get you everywhere- no real reason to take a taxi unless you want a more private and quicker trip throughout the entire canal.
We just weaved through the different neighborhoods and jumped on different boats.
The meals were not so great- either eating at tourist restaurants-expect to pay out of control prices- lincoln left a place- the price and menu were not worth it. Restaurants do not stay open late outside Rialto or San Marco squares.
So 1 or 2 nights are plenty- or a day trip in. We didn't feel like going to the public beach or seeing the museums.
Had the Frommers guide- not necessary for Venice