Untourists of the Week: Gale & Rick Shipley
Today, Gale and Rick will tell you the story of their Venice Untour...and tomorrow we'll let their pictures do the talking.
1. Tell us a little bit about your most recent Untour.
We had a great time in Venice! The Rezzonico apartment was lovely and the location could not have been better.
Our Untours guide, Denny, led us on a wonderful walking tour of the Dorsoduro area of Venice, complete with a question and answer session in a gondola-making shop, followed by a fabulous lunch at an Italian bistro. Her true talent was revealed in the patient manner in which she explained how to use our passes to travel around Venice via vaporetto - several times! She then made sure we were all confident in our ability to navigate the city before leaving us on our own. We were very happy that our apartment was located between two of the liveliest Campos in Venice - everything we needed (grocery store, fruits and veggies, fish market, butcher shop) or wanted (gelato, bakery, wine shop) could be found in either the Campo San Barnabas or the Campo Santa Marguerita. We particularly enjoyed the "produce boat" parked on the canal right outside of the apartment. We got in the habit of cooling off at the end of the day with a spritz and chips at one of the cafes in San Barnabas, which we renamed the Campo di WiFi because of the internet access! I also ended up with two of those little light-up propeller toys that were launched into the sky each night by a group of young entrepreneurs in the campo.
We celebrated Rick's 65th birthday with lunch on the Lido island, and then shopped for and enjoyed seafood and pasta on our apartment patio. My brother Tobin and I spent two long days absorbing the incredible art on display at the Biannale. It was concentrated in the Giardini and Arsennale venues, but really could be found in almost any direction you looked around the city. Most of the exhibits outside of the two main Biannale venues were free and many were installed on multiple floors of palaces on the Grand Canal, giving us not only great art but a peek into Venice's past glory, and wonderful views of the canal.
All in all this was one of those once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences! If we do have an opportunity to return we would love to stay in the same apartment, especially since we now know our way around, more or less! We would probably dress a bit lighter as well, Venice was quite warm, even in early June. And we would bring mosquito repellent. We saw quite a few red polka-dotted legs and had several bites on our own. Small price to pay, however, for a very memorable vacation!
2. Why did you decide to go there?
We decided that Venice was the place to visit this year mostly because of the Biennale exhibits. My brother teaches art at Cabrillo Community College in Santa Cruz, and he and several of his fellow teachers were impressed by the quality of the artists exhibiting their work this year. Also, several of our friends have stayed in Untours apartments in Venice in the past and gave them rave reviews!
3. What is your favorite Untours memory?
There are many great memories we have had with Untours, most involve memorable meals! Others would
include watching the sun set over Venice from the top of the tower in San Marco square, the first view of the rainbow of houses on Burano, and having ice cream sundaes at the summer pavillion of the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna with the temperature topping 100 degrees!
4. How is taking an Untour different from other ways of traveling?
I know it has been said before, but traveling with Untours really does allow you to "go native" in the places you choose to visit. Much better than feeling like a tourist, always in a hurry to see everything before you go on to the next stop on your itenerary. We feel that you can really absorb a unique part of the world if you experience it from the perspective of those who live there. You also meet some really great people!
5. Three words that describe an Untour would be: Live like locals!