CANNAREGIO

And the Jews were gone. That’s what I read when I glanced over The Husband’s shoulder to see what could make his thumbs type so frantically on the blackberry as he sat on the Moroccan bed in our cush hotel in Venice. I just looked at him. He didn’t notice.

“And the Jews were gone…” I said as the thumbs continued to click away. There was no response. He didn’t even pick up his head. “I swear to god, if I hear you say that one more time I’m going to push you into the canal!” The one right outside our bedroom window.

He kind of smiled. Not at me. At what he was typing.

The Jews were two strangers on the bus we took to Palazzo Roma from the Treviso airport, an airport we had no idea we were flying into (We thought we were going to land at Marco Polo. Another long story). The Husband had spotted the couple as soon as they boarded the bus. Dressed head to toe in black, they were kind of hard to miss. And because the Husband had just read in Frommer’s Italy 2008 that a good way to save money on an expensive water taxi is to try to find people going to the same place, he leaned over and whispered in my ear, “I bet they’re going where we’re going.”

Even though I had thought the exact same thing the moment I spotted them sitting in the front row, I shushed him. Then I closed my eyes and went back to sleep. It had been a long day (and night) and the bus ride from the Treviso Airport to The Palazzo Roma was an hour long.

When planning our trip to Italy, I had a hard time deciding where to stay, and spent HOURS doing research online, particularly looking at a bzillion different hotel websites. The Husband did not want to go to Venice. He was adamant about it. “Venice is just a tourist trap,” he kept saying, whenever I’d bring up the subject. “But it’s a magical tourist trap, the kind of tourist trap you should see at least once in your life,” was how I responded every time he called it a tourist trap. It wasn’t until I found Ai Mori D’Oriente, located in Cannaregio, otherwise known as The Jewish Ghetto, that his ears perked up. He became even more intrigued when he saw pictures of fruit stands and bread stores nearby. But it wasn’t until I read him the following about Cannaregio from Frommer’s that he agreed to go…

it’s outer reaches are quiet, unspoiled, and residential (What high season tourist crowds, you may wonder?) One third of Venice’s ever shrinking population of 20,000 is said to live here.

“We’re here,” said The Husband, when the bus came to a stop, slinging his backpack over his shoulder. Indeed, we were here, and we were surrounded by buses, not water. “Hurry, we don’t want to lose them.”

“Who?” I asked, even though I already knew who. I rolled my eyes and gathered my things.

The Husband approached them as the driver handed over their bags. “Excuse me, you going to the ghetto?”

“What?” they asked, looking confused.

Oh god, I remember thinking.

Cannaregio. Are you going to Cannaregio?”

“Yes Yes!” they exclaimed in unison.

And together we walked towards the water to find a water taxi to take us to Cannaregio. Only there was just one problem. We didn’t have enough Euro. The only ATM at the airport was conveniently broken and The Husband refused to pay a $16 fee to get $20. I was on the search for an ATM machine.

“Where are you going?” asked The Husband, rolling his bag angrily behind me.

“Where do you think I’m going? We need money! We can’t go anywhere without money!”

“But we’re going to lose them!”

We did, eventually, find an ATM, but, as my husband predicted, we lost them. He was livid. “There’s no way in hell I’m paying $100 for a water taxi to take us two city blocks!”

And he meant it.

We walked. And walked. And walked. All the way from Palazzo Roma to Cannaregio. The travel books advise to pack light. Thank god we did. Because we dragged our bags across cobble stone streets, over bridges, down bridges, and over more bridges, for about thirty minutes. I cursed him the entire way. When I saw that the bottom of my khaki pants had turned black, I almost killed him. And he knew it. Yet we continued to walk. And walk. And walk. I don’t know how we did it, but miraculously we found the hotel, and the walk, I must admit, wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. That’s because I didn’t carry two forty pound bags over god knows how many bridges. Even so, there’s no way in hell I’d advise anyone else to try this. Sure, The Husband saved over $100 on a water taxi, but he’s going to probably end up paying more than that on a chiropractor.

Hotel Ai Mori D’Oriente (located in Cannaregio.)

A view of the canal from room # 101

Cannaregio at night.

Osteria Ai 40 Ladroni. This is where we ate one of our best meals. I’m still dreaming about the gnocchi with crab. Thanks, Guido, for recommending this place, which is located one block away from the hotel.

My new favorite dish, the spaghetti y vongoli, which is what we ate at TrattoriaAntica Mola” in Cannaregio on our first night, and several nights thereafter.

Now for The Husband’s email that triggered this post:

We are here but a little worse off than we expected. Although still in love Heather and I realize that we can not be partners in a travel agency. First we arrived Stansted and the airline gave us a room at a nearby hotel for a shower and a little rest because we had a long wait between flights. It was very nice of them but I think they knew the rest of our journey was going to be hell. After a shower Heather and. I went to the security checkpoint where she somehow tested positive for explosives! That’s right EXPLOSIVES! Needless to say we were given special treatment and in the process I somehow lost ALL of our travel documents except our passports (thank God). I didn’t notice until we were already inflight on our second airline that made southwest look like Concorde. Heather told me not to panic because we could just recopy our tickets at the airport which seemed feasible until we LANDED AT THE WRONG AIRPORT!By this time you can just imagine what it was like being with me. Couldn’t get any worse you say? Fuck yes it could because we didn’t have Euros and the only ATM in what was the NY version of Islip was broken. I had to pay 50US for 20Euros and then we jumped on a bus that took us through Trevisi and past Marco Polo airport which was the one we were supposed land at. We were dropped off in some parking lot and figuring we were going to the Jewish Ghetto I looked for the one religious couple I saw out of thousands of people. Sure enough they were going there but they too were lost. I turn around and Heather is walking away like she knows where the hell she is. The last thing I needed was to lose her.I got her and the Jews were gone. Back to being the wandering Jew of Italy. I walked over to a water taxi and the guy wanted 90US to take us to hotel which was less than a mile away. I refused to be ripped for one more cent and I asked a fireman to show us the way. Heather and I walked what seemed like an eternity over bridges and pitted streets until we saw Hebrew writing and Rabbis speaking like Don freakin Corleone. We finally reached the hotel dropped our bags and started eating. During dinner Heather actually fell asleep at the table. We went to bed a 9 and got up at 9. Heather woke up with trench foot and is itchy. All in all we are about 1000US down in reticketing but we are laughing. Heather has taken about 1000 pictures and I haven’t pushed her trench foot ass into a canal yet.

Cannaregio Hotel Ai Mori D'Oriente The Husband Venice

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Heather Poole View All →

Yeah, that's me, the one standing in the aisle wearing flammable polyester...

5 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Ah, the joys of love and marriage and traveling together… DoctorDude and I did the same thing in Paris. We took a cheap shuttle bus from CDG to L’Opera, and from there the apartment looked really close on the map. heh, not so close when your arm is getting shaken off by dragging the rollaboard over all the cobblestones. Every couple hundred yards DD would say, “We COULD take a taxi, you know.”

  2. Ah, the joys of love and marriage and traveling together… DoctorDude and I did the same thing in Paris. We took a cheap shuttle bus from CDG to L’Opera, and from there the apartment looked really close on the map. heh, not so close when your arm is getting shaken off by dragging the rollaboard over all the cobblestones. Every couple hundred yards DD would say, “We COULD take a taxi, you know.”

  3. Heather-just found your blog yesterday and am enjoying it. Your husbands email was hilarious. He needs a blog.
    Keep up the good work.
    Brother of a 40 year United FA.

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