Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far
Oct 10 ~ Day #153
Budget to date
Total to date
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Current Location: Hotel Matre, Venice, Italy
Today’s Total Expenses: $108.02
Accommodation: $87.03 (€65.00)
Pizza – $6.69 (€5.00)
Gelato – $4.69 (€3.50)
Groceries – $9.61 (€7.18)
Grapes – $2.34 (€1.75)
Miles Traveled Today:
Sea Miles: 348.7 (303 Nautical Miles – Dubrovnik to Venice)
On Our Own in Venice
Our traveling companions, T & E, decided that they wanted to spend some romantic time to themselves in Venice. So, we parted ways and agreed to meet at the airport in Treviso for our flight back to the UK on Wednesday, October 13th.
In the Heart of Venice
Amazing as it may seem, our cruise ship docked pretty much in the heart of Venice!
We had picked our hotel based on its proximity to the cruise port but we weren’t exactly sure where it was.
When we disembarked the ship we weren’t far from either the bus station or the train station. At the train station we spoke with a police officer and, if we were understanding her correctly, our hotel was just a couple of blocks away.
We set off to find our hotel following the directions the police officer had just given us.
We were walking beside the Grand Canal most of the way, then over a bridge (and there are lots of bridges in Venice) and sure enough, there was our hotel on a small canal just off the Grand Canal.
Upon seeing the hotel we realized that the photos we saw of it on the Internet were taken in more prosperous times.
But climbed the two flights of stairs up to the reception area. Apparently having reception that far from street level isn’t that unusual here.
This hotel was both a hotel and a hostel so there were some rooms that shared a communal bathroom and others that had en suites.
Our room, which did have an en suite bathroom, was old and kind of threadbare but clean. And, it had a view of the canal we were on and the Grand Canal as well.
The room rate was also, apparently, pretty reasonable – for Venice, anyway. And, the rate included a continental breakfast at a lovely corner café just steps from the hotel.
Time For Lunch
As we disembarked the cruise ship fairly early in the morning we were able to get to our hotel and get settled in well before lunchtime.
It was now time to start exploring Venice. The agenda for today was lunch, a grocery store and, with any luck, a laundromat.
Unlike on the Alaska cruise aboard Holland America’s Amsterdam, the MSC Musica did not have an onboard laundromat, only a very expensive laundry service. We actually ended up washing a few things in the bathroom sink and drying them on the balcony furniture when we were on the Musica.
We had a fair bit of laundry we wanted to get done during our three days in Venice.
Pizza in Venice
Actually, after the disappointing pizza we had at the restaurant on the Amalfi Coast, we should have been leery of buying another pizza in Italy.
However, as budget is always a consideration, we were also looking for the best deal for our money. Pizza seemed to be the best deal of the few places we looked at before making our choice.
Right next to the pizza place, well actually part of the same store, was a gelato shop. We treated ourselves to three scoops of three different flavors packed in a styrofoam box and accompanied by two plastic spoons. Dessert!
Oh, I forgot to mention that when we bought our pizza there was an additional €0.50 charge for the box! Wouldn’t you think they’d just include that in the price of the pizza?
Pizza in a Piazza
With pizza and gelato in hand we walked until we found a tiny piazza overlooking a canal and settled in to have our lunch.
The pizza was – well – okay. It was certainly better than the one we’d had before the cruise. It was, however, kind of greasy and we didn’t have nearly enough napkins. The napkins we did have were kind of flimsy and not very absorbent.
So, here we were, sitting on stone steps, overlooking a Venetian canal, right next to a very old church, eating our pizza hunched over the pizza box and trying not to get sauce and grease all over ourselves.
We were moderately successful at remaining relatively sauce-less. I, of course, got it all over my hands and fingers but actually managed not to get any on my clothes. That’s quite an accomplishment for me. Geoff just got a little on his fingers. He always manages to stay stainless in situations like this. I have no idea how.
Now it was time for dessert. I know we haven’t been very kind about pizza in Italy, but the gelato was excellent! We managed to scrape every last bit of it out of the styrofoam container with our tiny plastic spoons.
With lunch and dessert over, it was time to find a grocery store and get food in for dinner tonight and, perhaps, lunch tomorrow. As our hotel room rate included a continental breakfast, we didn’t need to worry about any breakfast stuff.
Although our room did not have any cooking facilities it did have a very tiny, very old bar fridge that was making a valiant, and sometimes noisy, effort to work. Without any way to cook anything supper would have to be, most likely, a sandwich and a salad.
With this in mind, we stopped in to a decent sized grocery store that wasn’t far from our hotel.
We purchased some lovely, crusty buns, some cheese, cold cuts (most cold cuts in Italy seem to be some configuration of ham, so even though there seem to be a lot of choices and a pretty wide price range, when all is said and done, it was still ham!), a bit of salad stuff – and – a couple of liters of tetrapak red wine at €0.70 each! I do believe that is the cheapest wine we have ever had.
When it comes to wine, we just know what we like and what we don’t like. We would certainly never call ourselves wine connoisseurs. We’ve had cheap wine that’s been terrible and some that’s been great. We’ve also had some expensive wines that have been amazing and some that have been amazingly bad.
Like I said, we get the wine we like and if it’s inexpensive, so much the better.
We returned to the hotel with our groceries and loaded up the tiny fridge which was actually getting pretty cold. It was still making odd noises from time to time, though.
Next item on the agenda was finding a laundromat. We were able to get directions to a laundromat from the hotel staff. It sounded simple enough but following directions for a city as maze-like as Venice can be a bit challenging.
The best part of the directions were the references to landmarks. The laundromat was just behind the church with the green dome, just across the bridge on your left, as you’re walking along the Grand Canal towards the train station.
As we already knew how to get to the train station from our hotel, we just needed to keep an eye out for the green dome and a bridge that would get us there.
As Venice is nothing but bridges and canals, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s simple to pick a bridge that you THINK will get you where you want to go only to find that your destination is on the other side of yet another canal with no nearby bridge to get you there. You need to pick you path carefully.
We were also armed with a small, and somewhat cryptic, map. Without too much backtracking we did manage to find the laundromat.
Totally Automated Laundromat
This is the first time we’ve ever seen a totally automated laundromat. All washers and dryers are activated from a single access panel that accepts the money – bills, coins or both. You don’t need to save up your change to make sure you have enough of the right coins for each machine. The same access panel also dispenses single-use detergents and fabric softeners.
You do, however, need to be very careful how much money you put into this access panel. It will dispense a maximum change amount of €8.00 in coins, no more. So, if you put in a €20.00 bill and the machine and detergent costs only add up to €10.00, you’ll only get €8.00 back. And, there’s no one to complain to – it’s totally automated.
As we were trying to figure out what to do, what with the language barrier (although parts of it were in English), and this new concept for a laundromat, we spoke to and Australian group who were just finishing up their laundry.
They walked us through the procedure and even broke €20.00 bill for us so we wouldn’t get caught by the maximum change this. Thanks, Guys. Or, perhaps that should be – Thanks, mates!
We loaded up a couple of washers, selected them on the central control panel, bough some detergent and waited while the cycled through wash and rinse. We then did the same when it was time to use the dryers.
I think, though, that this was the most expensive laundromat we’ve ever used. Each wash load, and we did two loads, was €5.00. The detergent was €1.00, and we bought two. We managed to make do with just one dryer, as it was quite large, at a cost of €6.00. So that was a total of €18.00 (about $23.40) for two loads of laundry.
As we removed the clothes from the dryer we did our best to fold them without wrinkling them as we didn’t have any way to iron anything. Some items were still a bit damp but it wouldn’t take much for them to dry back at our hotel room.
By the time we got back to the room with our laundry and got it hung up or folded neatly in drawers, it was time for supper.
As best we could without any utensils, we split open a couple of the buns and made ham and cheese sandwiches. We also make a small salad of lettuce and cherry tomatoes. It was actually a lovely meal.
To top it all off, we opened our €0.70 wine and poured it into a couple of plastic glasses. Tentatively we each took a sip. Actually, it was pretty good!
Venice in the Evening
To cap off our first day in Venice, after dinner we decided to go for an evening stroll.
There were lots of people out enjoying the night and this seemed to be the time for most of the street vendors to set up their stalls. Not just souvenir items, but fruit and vegetables stands as well.
We had a lovely evening strolling along the canals and looking at all the things the street vendors and shops had to offer.
On our way back to our room we purchased a couple of bunches of grapes from a street vendor, to have for our dessert.