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Welcome to my blog. If you live in Surrey and birding is your obsession (to get out of bed at some ridiculously early time of the morning, no matter what the weather, to go and look at birds isn't normal behaviour, believe me) and you're still a bit of a novice (like me) then, hopefully, this blog is for you.



Monday, 13 April 2015

VENICE

I'll keep this blog post relatively brief as it was more a three-night trip for my wife Annie's 50th birthday rather than anything related to birding, but as it turned out I did see a few.

View from the Rialto Bridge looking south down the Grand Canal
View of the Grand Canal from the Accademia Bridge looking east
towards the Santa Maria della Salute
View of the Grand Canal from the Accademia Bridge looking west
If you read the previous post you'll know Annie wasn't feeling too well leading up to the trip. We did go however, but with hindsight it was asking a lot for her to suddenly wake up the following morning and feel great.

Annie in Piazza San Marco with the Campanile di San Marco behind
Anyway, we arrived at out hotel, the Hotel al Codega, just before 10pm. It was ideally positioned between the Rialto bridge and St Mark's Square. It had been a long day already but at least we were there and the hotel was a good one. As the visit progressed the staff could not be more helpful.

Venice is nothing but popular as a destination
The view towards Santa Maria della Salute from the Grand Canal
San Marco Campanile and Doge's Palace from the Grand Canal
Over the next three days we took water buses and walked around the popular sights and some of the quieter areas. Venice is a deceptively compact place, and is easy to get round. With  tourism the biggest industry, English is spoken everywhere and the atmosphere is relaxed.

A typical side street in the quieter Dorsoduro district
 We also ate at a couple of really fantastic restaurants – the Osteria di Santa Marina (not far from the Rialto Bridge) and the Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti.

The Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti in the Dorsoduro District: one of
the finest restaurants in Venice
The former has a fabulous tasting menu and an extensive wine list (go with their recommendation) while the latter (pictured) has just four tables, a window bench and a couple of tables outside. The food is fabulous.
Soft-shelled Crabs were a highlight of the meal
As was the dessert...
The family-run restaurant prides itself in not having a freezer and the menu for the day is influenced by the catch of the day – in our case soft-shelled crabs, John Dory, Sardines and Sea Bream. A wonderful place to spend a lunchtime.

The view across the Grand Canal towards Campanile di San Marco from Dorsoduro

Venice isn't noted for bird-watching but there were plenty of Mediterranean Gull and I also saw a couple of Hooded Crow.

One of many Mediterranean Gulls seen on the water in Venice
On the last morning we took a water taxi back to the airport, organised by the hotel and just a short walk to the meeting point. This was such a great experience – just the two of us on the boat, sauntering through the canals alongside the gondolas before we reached the lagoon and then the
boat stretched its legs on the half-hour journey to Marco Polo. We felt like we were in a James Bond movie.
A sedate water taxi ride through the canals on the way to the airport
The canals began to widen as we left the centre of the city

The water taxi opened up once it left the city and entered
the lagoon towards the airport
The exhilarating ride lifted Annie's spirits

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