Topic Wiki

Still in progress... 3.5 weeks done, 2.5 to go!

As per a great suggestion from Joe, here are the links to each city's TR:
Israel: Part 1
Israel: Part 2 (very short)
Israel: Part 3 - Eilat
Israel: Part 4 - Ein Gedi/Dead Sea
Madrid
(Pics from Israel and Madrid)
Barcelona
Seville
Gibraltar
Rome
Florence
Pisa
Venice
Switzerland

Trip planning thread: http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=37776.0
There you can find all the info about how I booked what. May take some searching in there.
« Last edited by @Yehuda on October 29, 2015, 05:06:09 PM »

Author Topic: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report  (Read 61763 times)

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #240 on: May 04, 2015, 05:07:12 PM »
Great installment! I thought you'd put Florence and Pisa together, but oh well. I like the speed at which they're coming now that your "busy"  season is over. Keep 'em coming!

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #241 on: May 04, 2015, 05:08:13 PM »
Great installment! I thought you'd put Florence and Pisa together, but oh well. I like the speed at which they're coming now that your "busy"  season is over. Keep 'em coming!
Thanks! I like the quotes. ;) I kept them separate to make it easier for linking to the Pisa TR.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #242 on: May 04, 2015, 06:19:48 PM »
Thanks! I like the quotes. ;) I kept them separate to make it easier for linking to the Pisa TR.
That makes sense.

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #243 on: May 05, 2015, 10:24:54 AM »
Pisa

Once again, we rented a car in Rome to drive up Italy, stopping in Tivoli, Florence and Pisa. The drive from Florence to Pisa took about an hour and didn't have any tolls (finally!). It was now the afternoon, and instead of driving straight to the tower and dealing with parking in the city, we decided to first stop at our hotel, the AC Hotel Pisa - booked with a Marriott free night at cat. 1-5 certificate. Just like the other ACs we stayed by on our trip, the hotel was modern, sleek and did a nice job for a quick night. IIRC the front desk gave us some trouble giving free wifi (tried for our honeymoon) but eventually they gave in. We settled in and then headed back down to get directions to town.

A 2 euro bus ride from nearby the hotel got is to the center of town and, from there, a 10 minute walk through the European streets with all sorts of street vendors and cafes got us to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The sight was actually one of the most "wow" moments on the trip for me. I mean, you've heard that there's a tower in Pisa that leans over, and you might have seen a picture, but just seeing it in real life was pretty cool!  The street opens up to a large open lawn with a church in the background, and on this lawn is just a tower that's literally sunken into the ground on an angle. The tower is not incredibly tall or wide, but there it is, just leaning as they promised.



My brother in law told us about a fun game to play where you take pictures of all the tourists trying to get a picture of them holding up the tower - but from the wrong angle, so that they look funny. Yehoshua got to his TR first, and I mentioned this idea to him, so I know he posted these kind of pics already, but here are some more for your entertainment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Holding up that tree nicely, eh?
Lol!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Not sure what these guys are doing.
You're holding the wrong building!

After fooling around taking a bunch of pictures, we decided to just chill on the grass, enjoying the beautiful weather. Not too far from us was this guy, marking the entrance to a nearby art exhibit.



We then headed back to the bus, took it for another 2 euro back to the hotel, ate whatever food we had left from Rome and called it a night.

Next up, a DDF DO halfway around the world in our favorite city on the Eurotrip: Venice!

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #244 on: May 05, 2015, 12:36:42 PM »
Short and sweet. Nice!

Can't wait for Venice, which is finally next!

Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #245 on: May 05, 2015, 01:16:53 PM »
Loving this TR, thanks for taking the time

Offline Mech

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #246 on: May 05, 2015, 01:59:43 PM »
Awesome! Can't wait to hear your Venice experience!

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #247 on: May 05, 2015, 03:44:54 PM »
Short and sweet. Nice!

Can't wait for Venice, which is finally next!
Loving this TR, thanks for taking the time
Awesome! Can't wait to hear your Venice experience!
Thanks guys. May I keep pumping these guys out!

Offline moish

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #248 on: May 27, 2015, 05:41:11 PM »
It's hard to explain if you haven't seen it. But it's like no other piece of art that I've seen
i would agree with that

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #249 on: July 22, 2015, 03:33:06 PM »
Venice
Venezia!! Our favorite city on our Eurotrip! Let us begin...

To recap quickly - we started off Italy in Rome on a Sunday. On Wednesday, we got a 3 day automatic car rental from Hertz for about $375 (after gas) and drove to Tivoli. On Thursday, we hit up Florence and Pisa, and on Friday, we checked out of the AC Hotel Pisa and began the 3 hour drive to Venice.

Day 1 - Friday, July 4th
Getting to Venice
Driving in Italy isn't too fun. Highway drivers drive quickly and will tailgate you until you get out of their lane - even if you're in the right lane. Driving in the streets (specifically in Rome) was chaotic. Dealing with scooters, traffic, packed intersections, signs in foreign languages... you get the point. However, the streets in Venice were actually pretty normal. So, we got off the highway and headed to fill up with gas. We pulled into a place that admittedly looked kinda closed, but not knowing how things worked here, I checked out a gas pump anyway. The pump seemed to be working, so I put in money (it took cash!) and tried fueling. Nothing came out. The screen acknowledged I put in 50 euro, but it wouldn't give me gas. That's when I confirmed that the storefront was definitely closed, and we quickly realized we weren't getting our 50 euro back. Gulp. Frustrating mistake, but what can you do?

We found an open gas station and then headed to Hertz. There is a drop off location on the actual "island" of Venice (even though there are no cars in Venice), but they charge an exorbitant fee to return to that lot. So, the normal drop off location is near the Venice-Mestre train station, which is not in Venice proper, but rather is near the edge of the Italian mainland. We pulled into the lot and thought it was weird that we had to get a ticket to park, but whatever - we parked and went to the office. It was closed for lunch hour. The Hertz office is actually closed for an hour in the middle of the day every day. ??? We waited for 1/2 hour, and then they let us in (and for some nice reason the guys ahead of us let us skip them). As we expected based on what we were told when we picked up the car, they did not accept the USAA code, so we paid full price. (After the trip, Hertz eventually refunded half the underage fee.) We just wanted to get out of there, but then they informed us that we actually pulled into the wrong lot and would have to pay the 2.5 euro parking fee to get out of that lot and bring the car to their actual lot. Ridiculous. They do not have good signs at this location. We finally got rid of the car, smiling that we wouldn't have to deal with a car for the rest of our Europe journey and headed across the street to the Mestre train station.

Our hotel had explained to me in advance that we would have to take a train from Hertz to Venice proper. In the station, we used the automated machine to buy tickets to the Venice-St. Lucia station (the main Venice train station). Trains were plentiful, running every 15 minutes or so and only cost 1.5 euro! The ride was just about 10 minutes, and before we knew it, we were stepping off into the wonderful city of Venice!

When you step outside the train station, you're right infront of the water with a few stands for the Vaporettos (water buses) that take you through the canals. We found the ticket window, found out which route number to take to San Marco Square (where our hotel was) and picked up single ride tickets since it was already Friday afternoon and our only trip that day would be to the hotel. We got our single ride tickets for 7 euro and then decided not to get on the boat just yet. Here's where I'll introduce our Venice friends.

DO Halfway Around the World
While planning the Venice/Italy portion of our trip on DDF, I found out that Yehoshua and his wife were actually going to be in Venice the same Shabbos we were! IINM this was actually my first DO of any kind, and I was a bit nervous at first. But after spending 2 minutes with them, we realized we'd get along wonderfully, and we ended up having an incredible Shabbos together! Only DansDeals can put something like that together. :)

Lunch at Gam Gam Goodies
Because Yehoshua was already in Venice for a night/morning, he informed us that the train station was actually very close to the Jewish Ghetto and Gam Gam Goodies for a nice lunch. Once again having just 2 rolling carryons and 2 backpacks came in super handy for the 5-10 minute walk. The streets of Venice constantly require you to cross mini bridges over the canals, and although some have ramp-like features, I can imagine it would be annoying to schlep heavy suitcases through the streets. A quick walk with Google Maps, and we found our way to Gam Gam, which sits at one of the entrances to the Ghetto. It's cool because this entrance is really like a small alleyway and feels very Ghetto-like. Right past Gam Gam is another storefront for Gam Gam Goodies, the pizza store. They also have different types of grilled sandwiches, ice cream, drinks and packaged deli. I can't imagine finding a pizza store in America that sells deli packages. :) We got pizza and some deli just to have some food in the hotel for about $16 total. We really liked the pizza here, and as you'll see, returned several times on our trip. The only complaint we had is that it's so small that they don't have any tables and chairs. It didn't matter on our first trip, since we took the food to go anyway. We then walked across the alley to Volpe Bakery and spent 7 euro on pastries and some rolls for the deli. The bakery also has a few Israeli packaged snacks and a fridge of assorted items. See the Venice wiki for information about the Kashrus here.

Getting to Our Hotel - The Comfort Hotel Diana - and Arranging for Shabbos Concerns
We took our food and walked back to the Vaporettos outside the train station. The short walk to/from Goodies gave us a taste of the #1 activity in Venice which we would be fortunate to experience constantly during our 4 days - just walking the streets! The shops selling all types of glass work (real Murano and fake China), crazy masks, and all sorts of tchotchkes are just fantastic and awesome to browse through.

We boarded the Vaporetto to San Marco Square. The boat doesn't go too quickly (private taxis sped right past us), but it doesn't make too many stops, and within about 1/2 hour, we were at San Marco. The stops all have large signs, so it's clear where you need to get off, but there are also a few crew members that can help you. Google Maps helped us with the 3 minute walk (once again with awesome shops!) from the square to our hotel. As I've mentioned many times in this TR, our goal was to stay at every hotel on points and not use cash. The points hotel options in Venice are a bit limited, and after some research, I found a Choice property, the Comfort Hotel Diana, for just 10K a night. They also charged us 6 euro a day (24 total) for taxes upon checkout. 40K MR -> Choice for 4 nights was a steal IMHO even though the hotel was not close to the grandeur of the SPG properties that most DDFers stay at. If my trip was just to Venice, I'd try for a nicer place, but with 6 weeks and only 1 year of playing the game, it's hard to stay at a 5* place every night. The bed/blankets weren't too comfortable, but otherwise we didn't have any complaints. I didn't really try hard for upgrades at any of our hotels (it was my first DDF trip, give me some slack!), so the room wasn't too big, but it definitely had some old-world charm to it.


Comfort Hotel Diana Room

We got ready for Shabbos and got the front desk to allow my wife to light candles on a table in the small kitchen area just off the lobby. The rooms only had electronic locks, so we kept our valuables in the safe and took DDF's advice of taping the key card onto the doorjamb and hanging up the Do Not Disturb sign. It felt a bit awkward leaving the room unlocked all Shabbos, but everything important was in the safe and b"h nothing happened. The lobby only has 1 door - and it's automatic - but the front desk is right by the entrance, and the clerk knew about Shabbos and told us that when she sees us approach the hotel, she'll push the button to open the doors. That clerk knew about Shabbos, but others that we encountered over Shabbos weren't as familiar, and we had to weirdly explain what we're doing without outright asking/hinting to them to open the door. I'm not positive on the best Halachic way to hint things to a non-Jew, but we did what we could/knew.

Friday Night in the Ghetto
We headed out and walked through the square towards the Westin and met Yehoshua and his DW in the street. Like I said, after 2 minutes, we were already comfortable with each other and enjoyed our 1/2 hour walk to the Ghetto. Man, walking in Venice is awesome!


(No, I didn't take the picture on the walk to Shul. :P)

On the way to the Ghetto, Yehoshua told me that he spoke with some of the Chabad guys in town who told him that the smoothie-like drinks at the 2 Frulala locations are Kosher as long as you don't get the milk or yogurt base. Better yet, Frulala hands out samples in shotglasses to passerby, so on the way to Shul, we all got a small refresher, which was great during the hot walk in our Shabbos clothes! Yehoshua found out about the Davening situation, and we decided to Daven at the community Italian Shul, as opposed to the small Chabad Beis Medrash (they have plans to build a large Shul). Per Yehoshua's warning, we brought our passports with us to show the guard. Davening was Nusach Italki, and there were plenty of Americans in Shul, including some people I recognized. The Shul is pretty nice inside, but it doesn't really compare to the other European Shuls I saw on the trip, like Rome and Florence. (I was only in there on Shabbos, so I don't have any pictures.) In terms of meals, my wife and I originally made reservations for a table in the private art Gallery near Gam Gam, but due to our desire to save when we could, we dropped them shortly before our trip and opted for the free Shabbos meals at Gam Gam (see the Venice wiki because the food situation here has changed). Yehoshua and his wife, though, did have reservations at the Gallery. However, they decided they would rather eat dinner with us rather than alone and decided to pass up on their private meal to join us at the community meal! Was very nice of them. We headed to Gam Gam quickly to make sure we got seats in the first meal, and although we couldn't find space for 4 inside Gam Gam, we found space at the group tables outside on the canal. Sounds cool to eat Shabbos meals outside on the canal, but it was quite hot out, kinda dark, and there was nowhere really to put our jackets - but we made do. Seating got crowded (as everyone says it does at Gam Gam), and we were displaced from sitting near Yehoshua and DW, but they courageously asked people to switch seats with them so they could be near us again. The meal moved along at a good pace, the food was fine, but yeah it was too community-meal-like for me with not a ton of food, too many people, hard to talk, etc. Still had a nice time, but I wasn't in love with it. After dinner, we leisurely walked back to San Marco, dropped off the Yehoshuas on the way back to our hotel, and called it a night - blocking the door lock worked perfectly. It might have been July 4th today, but there was no sign of it here in Venezia!

Day 2 - Shabbos, July 5th
Shabbos Day in the Ghetto
We woke up Shabbos morning and walked to the Ghetto. Yehoshua and his DW were already at the Italian Shul when we got there. There was a Bar Mitzvah, but it still didn't take too long. After Shacharis, Yehoshua and DW headed to the community Kiddush, but we ran to Gam Gam to ensure we got into the first round of meals and maybe even get a table indoors. We found Gam Gam to be still closed, so we waited outside on line. Shortly thereafter, the Yehoshuas showed up with Kiddush and food for us! It was awesome to get some food in our stomachs while waiting- again, really nice of them! While they might have had a nice time at dinner, they were not planning on joining us for lunch again, especially in the heat of the day. At the same time, they did want to eat with us again (can you believe it? :P), so courageous Yehoshua approached the Chabad Rabbi - Rami - and got permission for us to join them in the Gallery!! I'm not sure if it was because the Gallery wasn't full or what, but we were thrilled! The air conditioned Gallery, with our own table, food, waiter, etc. was a MUCH better experience than Gam Gam, IMHO. I know plenty of others like the community meals, so, to each their own.

After lunch, we walked back to our hotels and got in a nice Shabbos nap. When we woke up, we walked back to the Ghetto for Shalosh Seudos and enjoyed another meal with Yehoshua and his wife in the Gallery, who were already there. Once again, they allowed us in without a problem. Really nice of Rabbi Rami. We missed Mincha at the community Shul (they Davened early apparently), so we had to go to Chabad. Boy, was it packed. The Beis Medrash is just a regular, small room and there were SO many people packed in there. Men were in the women's section, women had to stand outside, and the AC was no match for the temperature + body heat. After Mincha, we went back to the Gallery to continue eating until it was time for Maariv, which we caught in the community center. I don't know if they always Daven Maariv there, or why this week they didn't Daven in the Shul, but they Davened there and made Havdalla afterwards. We walked back to Yehoshua's hotel to check out the Westin Europe & Regina. It was really nice with a marble lobby, and their upgraded room was spacious and fancy. After saying our goodbyes, we headed back to our hotel and called it a night. What an awesome, awesome Shabbos!

Day 3 - Sunday, July 6th
After a fantastic Shabbos, it was time to start doing some actual activities in Venice. I woke up, walked to the Ghetto and found that the community was Davening in the Beis Medrash of their winter Shul. There are 2 Shul buildings right across from each other and, because of the way they are built/insulated, one is used during the winter and one during the summer. On Shabbos, they Davened in the summer Shul. But on this morning, they Davened in the Beis Medrash of the Winter Shul. It was nothing special, so I didn't take a picture.

Murano, but not Burano
After Shacharis, I walked back to the hotel, and we got ready for the day and had some of the bakery items we bought on Friday for breakfast. We then went to the front desk and asked them if they have someone who could take us to a glass factory in Murano, and like all hotels in Venice, they happily called their guy. The "captain" of the speedboat picked us up at the hotel and walked with us to a canal where we met up with another group who were going to be sharing the free ride with us. Hey, who cares if you have to share your free ride? The trip took about 1/2 hour IIRC, and the guy informed us that the factories are mostly closed on Sunday, but he brought us to one that was open. I've read that everyone has a different experience by these tours, but boy this was far from a tour. In fact, I'll even go so far as to put "tour" in quotes. :P We walked into a workshop where another boat captain/guide was sitting with a group watching a demonstration that was already in progress, and we were told to just sit with them. There was no explanation of anything, and it was just watching the process of the glassblower taking sand on a stick and magically shaping it into a horse - a figurine we found Murano/Venice to be in love with. While the demonstration was extremely cool, it would have been nice if it was more of a tour and if we didn't just join another group's demonstration. The truth is, it was free, so I'm not complaining. After the horse was complete, we were escorted out of the workshop into the factory store. The store was packed with the most amazing glassworks I've ever seen. It was 2 stories of just the most colorful, detailed pieces of glass - it was really fun to walk through! All the items that were of a decent size ranged from $1,000 to $20,000, so we weren't serious buyers ::) until we got the lower level which had jewelry and other cheaper items. However, things were still relatively expensive in our opinion, so we just browsed for a while and then left. We walked around the street outside, but didn't really explore Murano. I'm not sure if it's just the 1 street/canal we were on or if it's much larger like Venice, but everything across the canal from us didn't look like stores - maybe they're all factories? - so we assumed the shopping was just the one area we were in.



Anyway, we wandered into one shop and saw gorgeous drinking glasses and, along with designs made out of 24k gold, some even had Magen Davids and Menorahs painted on them! I fell in love with one and wanted it to be my new Kiddush cup. I haggled with the guy from 60 euro down to 50 (hey, that's like $15!), got my little paper proving it was authentic Murano glass and walked out a happy customer.



Later on our trip, I found the same glasses at one of the specifically-Jewish glass shops in the Jewish Ghetto for 30 euro (and I trusted the owner claiming they were real Murano). I was not too happy, but whatever, I still love my cup. Anyway, we were getting really hungry and had to make a decision. Originally, the plan was to take a Vaporetto from here to Burano to check out the cool colored houses and then another Vaporetto from there directly to the side of Venice near the Ghetto to get lunch. However, as I said, we were really hungry... So, I texted some friends and found out that Burano is cool for the 5 minutes it takes to get some pictures of the colored houses but that it's not a "must do," so we decided to catch a Vaporetto back to San Marco Square instead. (Looking back now, I wonder if taking a Vaporetto to Burano and switching to the line that goes to Venice near the Ghetto would have been faster than Vaporettoing to San Marco and walking to the Ghetto. Nu nu.) Again, we just bought 1 use passes (7 euro each), since we didn't expect to take another boat ride that day and buying the longer passes (like 3-day or something) just didn't make sense since we weren't planning on taking enough rides to make it worth it. 1/2 hour later, we were back in the square and heading to lunch.



Lunch at Frulala and Goodies + an Afternoon of Shopping
On the way to lunch, we stopped by Frulala for our first actual purchase. The smoothies (if they can be called that without milk) were tasty and cost 5 euro. They're great for having something to sip on while walking on a hot day. We continued on to Gam Gam Goodies and picked up lunch for $15 for the 2 of us. As they don't have tables/chairs, we took our food and walked further down into the Ghetto where the Chabad storefront is and ate in there since they had a table and didn't mind. Thanks Yehoshua for the idea! After lunch, we spent the afternoon just walking the streets and canals. As opposed to on Shabbos, we could finally enter shops and check out all the cool wares for sale. We definitely came across some interesting glasswork.



Also as opposed to on Shabbos, we actually could spend money. *gulp* ;) Just walking around and getting these views was such a treat.


Gondolas!

And one of my favorite pics...



Dinner at Goodies
Eventually, we headed back to the Ghetto for dinner. I can't remember why we decided on Goodies for the 3rd time instead of trying out Gam Gam, but we did. Maybe it was because we knew it was good and pretty cheap? We picked up dinner and ate on a bench further down in the Ghetto. We also picked up some of their baked goods for breakfast and some sandwiches for lunch for the next day. Those 3 meals in total cost 17 euro. Thinking back, cost probably was the reason we went back to Goodies for the 3rd time. :) Here's where we hit our first problem with Minyanim. Because Shkia is so late in Europe in the summer, there was still around an hour till Mincha by the time we finished dinner. After a long day, we decided not to wait around and instead headed back to the hotel to call it a night. Staying at a hotel 30 min away from Shul can definitely affect your desire to make all Minyanim, so consider that when picking where to stay.

Day 4 - Monday, July 7th
Not to get down on myself too much, but unfortunately, I didn't have the drive to make the early morning walk back to the Ghetto for Shacharis. After Davening in the hotel, eating breakfast that we bought the previous night in Goodies and getting ready for the day, we headed out for a... BEACH DAY!

A Day at the Beach
Isn't it wonderful to actually have a beach day on your honeymoon instead of just running around to historic sites all day?? ;D It had already been 3 weeks since we were at the beach in Eilat (and about 10 months if you're going by TR days), and I hadn't been feeling well back then (plus there isn't much of a sandy beach there), so we were super excited for our day on the beach. We walked to San Marco and picked up the Vaporetto to Lido Beach. Because we knew the roundtrip travel was all the Vaporetto we would need that day, we just bought roundtrip tickets at 14 euro each (not a savings from a single pass). The trip took about 1/2 hour, and then a straight 10 minute walk takes you across the entire width of the island of Lido, and you're at the beach! Supposedly there are a few beach entrances/areas - some cost money, some are free, some are better, etc. but we just went into the first entrance we saw (and it also happened to be a free one). The beach was pretty crowded, but we found a spot to lay down and enjoy. There were many peddlers selling large towels, and one was particularly aggressive and got quite offended when I offered him 5 euro for his 20 euro towel. He kept walking past us giving us the stink eye - whoops! An important note is that not only is this not some secluded beach in Hawaii, it's also a European beach. We'll leave it at that. After spending some time on the sand, we got a locker rental for 5 euro to dump our stuff and went in for a swim. Proportionally, the ocean was far less crowded than the beach, so that was very nice. However, there was a lot of seaweed floating around, so that was a bit blah. Eventually we went back ashore for lunch, which we brought along from Goodies the night before. We spent some more time on the beach, some more in the water, and in the mid-afternoon, decided to head back to Venice. A very fun, relaxing day. :)

Dinner at Gam Gam
After walking around the area near San Marco, we slowly headed to the Ghetto for an early dinner.  Finally, it was time to check out Gam Gam! We walked in and immediately found that we weren't going to have great service. There was no one at the door seating people, so we kinda just stood there watching waiters rush all over the place, hoping someone saw us. I wanted to just tap someone on the shoulder and be like, "Hey, can we get a table?" but everyone looked so busy, and it was uncomfortable. After about 5 minutes someone came over and seated us. Getting our orders placed and waiting for the food took a very long time with different waiters stopping by randomly asking what we want to order, showing that they clearly didn't know if anyone took our order yet. It wasn't a pleasant service experience, yet I acknowledge that they were very busy. I hope they have figured out how to deal with busy nights since then. We both ordered different pasta/meat dishes. It's nice to have fresh food out here in the middle of Venice, especially Fleishigs, so I appreciate that, but the food was only okay - nothing to write home about. Prices were pretty reasonable as we spent $38 total (although IIRC we didn't get appetizers or desserts). I would try the place again in the future, but we were definitely happy that we chose Goodies for every other meal.

Again, it was still too early for Mincha, so we decided to walk back to the hotel instead of sticking around. I Davened at the hotel, we relaxed with some TV (somehow we still didn't finish everything I brought with us) and called it a night.

Day 5 - Tuesday, July 8th
Laundry!
After Davening Shacharis in the hotel, we packed up and brought our bags down to leave at the front desk while we went out for our last day in Venice. The hotel does not have a closet to store bags, so we just left them against the lobby wall in full view of the front desk. Was a bit sketchy, but we were not about to schlep everything around with us all day. Packing/leaving the bags was a bit difficult since we had to leave most of our clothing out of the bags as it was time for our second laundry run of our trip. The front desk pointed us in the direction of a laundromat that was 5 minutes away. Laundry here was expensive, costing us 8 euro. Instead of waiting around the laundromat, I convinced my wife to let us stroll around the nearby stores while we waited. Risky perhaps, but all was fine in the end.

Doge's Palace
After packing our clean clothes back into our suitcases in the hotel lobby, we headed out for our 11:30 tour of Doge's Palace. The hotel is just a few minutes from San Marco Square, and the palace is basically just off to the side of the square. We had pre-purchased tickets for the Doge's Palace Secret Itineraries Tour through the Musement deal for about $10 a person. From my research, the palace does not offer a tour of the whole palace (maybe you can find your own guide somewhere), and the entrance fee to just browse on your own costs more than the deal we got. So, we opted for our deal/tour since it was cheaper, brings you into rooms you can't visit otherwise and of course also allows you to walk around afterwards. The tour was great; we really enjoyed it. The tour started with the group of about 20 people following the guide down to the dungeons of the palace. I'm not sure what was crazier - hearing the types of crimes that would warrant prison time or actually seeing the small, cold, musty cells where prisoners were kept.




Prison Cells

The guide was very knowledgeable and gave a great history of Venice's royalty. After going down to the dungeons, we were brought up to officer's offices, the courtroom and a torture room. (It was too big for me to call it a "chamber.") We also got to see some "higher quality" cells that were on an upper story. The catch with these rooms was the low clearance - you couldn't stand up straight. The guide told us the story of Casanova who supposedly escaped from his imprisonment in the palace. We went through hidden doors and secret staircases and ended up just popping out into the middle of the crowded, more "museum-like" part of the palace. I highly recommend this tour.

One Final Lunch at Goodies
We didn't browse around the palace too much after the tour because we were hungry, so we headed out and began our final walk to the Ghetto. As you can probably guess, we went to Goodies. Pizza and packaged deli for dinner (which by the way, was awesomely flavored!) cost 15.5 euro. We headed across the alley to Volpe Bakery for drinks (cheaper than Goodies) and rolls for the deli for dinner - total of 3.8 euro. 20 euro total for 2 people for lunch and dinner is pretty sweet.

Alilaguna Probably Means "(Hello and) Goodbye Venice" in English
We made our final walk back to San Marco and to the hotel to grab our bags, and then took a short walk to the canal to catch the Alilaguna boat, which is the only public transportation to/from the airport. We had just missed one, so we had to wait about 20 minutes till the next one. 2 one way tickets cost $40.95. The boat is about the same size as a Vaporetto, and about 1 hour - 1:15 later, we pulled up at the airport. We quickly found out that the dock is a good 10-15 minute walk to the actual airport. If you're schlepping lots of bags with you, it can't be too fun. Private water taxis probably leave from the same area (so you have the same walk), but they go much faster than the Alilaguna (and cost a lot more, too). My n00bness found out that United Club One-Time Passes don't get you into Star Alliance lounges, so we found some seats near the gate, Davened Mincha and hung around the pretty nice airport until it was time for our flight.

As I started with, Venice was incredible. We had an absolute blast, and it was definitely our favorite city on our trip. You can definitely have a wonderful stay without having as long of a trip as we had - as you saw, we had plenty of walking around/free time, but we never got bored of being there. That's all for Venice, and that's basically it for Italy (we stopped back here later for an overnight connection). Off to Switzerland... with only 3 more weeks to go! :P

Offline Marco Polo

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #250 on: July 22, 2015, 03:53:06 PM »
Very nice. glad to see some more parts coming out.
Quaerite et Invenietis.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #251 on: July 22, 2015, 04:18:08 PM »
Excellent installment! Looks like the rest of your time in Venice was really fun. I can't wait for the rest.

Offline sam28

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #252 on: July 22, 2015, 05:10:13 PM »
wow nice TR

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #253 on: July 22, 2015, 05:15:23 PM »
Very nice. glad to see some more parts coming out.
Thanks, I hope I can keep doing this even if it's slowly. I also hope it inspires others to write TRs that are long overdue.

Excellent installment! Looks like the rest of your time in Venice was really fun. I can't wait for the rest.
Thanks! Yeah the second half was so much better than the 1st half  :P ;D. May the rest eventually come...

wow nice TR
Thanks!

Offline rediplus

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Re: @Yehuda's Israel/Eurotrip Honeymoon Trip Report
« Reply #254 on: July 22, 2015, 05:33:41 PM »
Great installment as usual. Brings back good memories although my trip was in the winter. Thank you