At breakfast we decided that we really would like to stay at the hotel another night as it was the ideal location, fourth floor with A/C and a balcony overlooking the tower at Saint Mark's and despite being 3 stars, cheaper than the 1 star gaff we were booked to move in to today. We thought that we'd simply forfeit the deposit and after asking, another room was booked. I then checked my email from Hostelworld to find that despite paying a deposit my card would be charged for a full night's stay so we had to move our gear to the other hotel after all. We walked the half hour to the new place in the sun and with all the tourists walking in the other direction we finally happened upon the hotel which at first glance seems nice enough.
We then contemplated a game of hide and seek but thought that it would probably never end. This place is a maze and doesn't follow normal rules, having said that we've managed all our navigation around the place without a map until now. Everyone using a map seems even more confused than those without. Plus- this place is absolutely teeming with tourists, you can't hurry anywhere. Once again we stopped at our fave coffee shop for a cheeky latté and ham and cheese toastie. We arrived at Saint Mark's place around lunchtime to discover a mahoosive queue at the Basilica. Maybe not today then, shame.
Moving along the quayside we saw the famous convicts bridge and some building to do with Vivaldi, his house perhaps? I found a chap painting an awesome abstract Venice backdrop which I offered to buy but unfortunately it was going to take him until tomorrow to finish by which time we will be out of here. I wanted to drag the boys along to the Arsenale as this was the largest shipyard in the world during the 16th century, housed 300 shipping companies and could completely build a galley ship in a day thanks to a 16,000 strong workforce. We weren't able to get in (a military zone) but saw the entrance on the canal which was pretty spectacular with statues of lions and all sorts.
Time for another refreshment and so bums on seats and Dan ordered a coffee which arrived in a snazzy double layered glass. Unfortunately he proceeded to stir the glass to destruction and so the coffee filled up the outer glass. Waiter then brought Dan a childproof normal coke glass filled with coffee. Sorted.
Dan and I asked a few gondoliers how much a trip was and as they wouldn't allow us half an hour for less than 100 euros we declined even though they are supposed to be 80 during the day and 100 at night. We then found a gondola taxi which we took across the Grand Canal, another box ticked and not a bad experience for 50 euro cents. Plus we had a female gondolier- unusual because the first female gondolier in Venice started last year and this was the first we'd seen. Time for another refreshment and another panini/bruscetta!
Finally checked in at the 1* hotel and all apart from A/C is well. The room is clean, modern and with en-suite. Brekky included. We go out in search of a recommended off-the-beaten track restaurant but find it closed so we backtrack slightly and find what seems like an ideal spot with reasonable prices. Food v.good and wine and beer is far more reasonable than the previous night. Dan and Ben get proper pints of (Lowenbrau?) for five euros apiece and I tuck into a stunning delumptious bottle
of spicy red Cecchetto at 16 euros. Spot on. We even get free desserts thrown in which taste superb. So much for rip-off Venice and a tip is dutifully left after the excellent service we received at "alla Ferrata". Highly recommended. A little detour past lots of smooching couples and we're back at the hotel for our own little Bromance. It's steaming here and we have an 'overwhelming' dribbling fan, closed windows due to mozzies and No aircon. Dan tells us it's 94% humidity tonight and still over 30'c. Thanks and goodnight.