Now about that hotel. See, Bill had set this thing up before the trip on hotels.com. He'd already paid for the hotel in fact, even though the reviews it received on the hotels.com website and other places he checked were decidedly mixed. Some people loved it because it was so close to Piazza San Marco and it was pretty inexpensive and it was clean. Bill liked all that. But some people hated it because the lobby was on the fourth floor of the building and there was no elevator and you have to haul your bags up the stairs all by yourself and worst of all .... it's almost impossible to find. Bill even called Cindy to see if she thought this somewhat questionable hotel sounded OK. "Sure," she said. "It'll be an adventure!"
Besides, Cindy had a printout from Google maps with the hotel clearly marked. Really, it's right up here ... no ... it's got to be over there ... no ... seriously it has to be down that alley. Bill even walked down that alley but he didn't see a hotel.
That alley. Yes, that one.
Just when it appeared there was no hotel anywhere around here, Cindy walked down the alley Bill had walked down, and Cindy, this time, actually read the signs on the wall.
Like the one over there beside this door.
Locanda "Antica Venezia." Just like the hotels.com website said. So we push that little brass button and in short order the door makes a loud buzzing sound and we push and we enter ...
... somebody's basement. Really, except for some electric meters and some bottled water and some ancient brick walls with ancient wooden doors, there's nothing here. Not even a sign. Nothing.
Well, there are some steps. So Bill tells the ladies to wait here while he goes exploring. And they hear his steps, loud at first, then softer and softer as he disappears up, up, up ....
Then, the sound of clump clump clumping Italian Foot Locker sneakers and he reappears. Success! Bill has discovered a lobby!
Ladies, walk this way.
Ta daaaaa! It's a hotel lobby. Really.
What, you didn't believe me about the four flights of stairs?
And our rooms are just off the lobby. Lovely rooms. The design on the blue wallpaper was exactly the same as the design on the blue drapes which was exactly the same as the design on the blue bedspreads which was exactly the same as the design on the blue cushions on the chairs. But as Patty pointed out, it was a very Venetian design.
Patty finally gets her room with a view.
What a view.
I hope that chimney doesn't start spouting coal smoke while we're here.
Meanwhile, back at the office, Jim Stofan was organizing his annual Guess the Oscar Winners contest. Now it's one thing to enjoy being away from the office on vacation for a few days, but entirely something else if being away means Patty and Bill have to miss a chance to win an all expenses paid movie-talk lunch with Jim Stofan. But how to enter the contest all the way from Venice? No problem in the era of instant communication. Bill and Patty scribbled down their guesses and Bill whipped out his handy dandy Blackberry and snapped a picture of their ballot and ....
Voila! I mean, Pronto! An official Oscar ballot emailed from the Old World to the New in the blink of an eye. Bill actually got 14 right, but Patrick Longenbaker got 15, darnit.
But I suspect Patty and Bill had more fun entering the contest than Patrick.