We in fact followed travel guru Rick Steves' advice and got lost in Venice -- twice -- on our second and last day here. And I can see where this amazing place would be worth a 3-day stay.
We enjoyed breakfast at our hotel in a dining room overlooking the Grand Canal, then scurried off to the Doges' Palace for the "Secret Itineraries" tour. We saw the prison cell from which Casanova escaped and the torture rope used to get criminals to talk. We also saw medieval graffiti etched into the walls, although the spray-painted "eat me" observed in a public area was clearly of more recent vintage.
After the Doges' Palace tour, we had a quick sandwich at Birreria Forst, a cheap and good place near St Mark's cathedral. After refueling, we took a vaporetto the long way up the Grand Canal and across the lagoon to the island of Guidecca. It's far less crowded on this island and it was very peaceful just walking up and down the main footpath along the lagoon. And you have very good views of Venice from here. Stopping at a local grocery, we bought some health food in the form of Ringos cookies and Coke Light. I confirmed that Barilla brand pasta is sold here also, not just at Lunds.
Hopping on the Number 2 vaporetto at Guidecca, we jumped off at the very next stop at San Giorgo Maggiore, to have a quick view of the church and then a 5-euro lift ride to the top of the bell tower. From here, you really have a great perspective across the lagoon to the city of Venice.
Next it was time for two art museums, in rapid succession. First, we took in the Gallerie dell'Accademia and then Kristin, Sydney and Sam went to the Peggy Guggenheim collection next door to satisfy an urge for something more contemporary, while dad (that's me) rested his weary legs in the courtyard.
Normally, now would have been a natural time for siesta, but we pushed on to a return visit to St Mary of the Friars so that this time Sam could see in person his favorite painting, Titian's Assumption, which hangs behind the primary altar.
By now, we had been going non-stop for about 12 hours and decided to have dessert first before dinner. The kids had gelato and then we dined on the Grand Canal. I don't remember the restaurant's name, which also reflects the forgettable food, but we came for the view, not the spaghetti al mushi.
We finally succumbed to our swollen cankles and trekked back to the hotel, which is when we got really lost and gasped a collective sigh of relief when we came upon a familiar vaporetto stop. Venice made me feel like a winning contestant from the old TV game show Money Maze. We had found our formaggio.