It's about time I started telling you all what we've been up to for the last few weeks and I'll start in Venice.
I got in a few days ahead of the tour to make sure I was feeling at home when everyone else arrived. The hotel was perfect - right on the Grand Canal and about 400m from St Marks Square. Arriving at the hotel landing by water taxi was a good way to reinforce that things are done a little differently there.
Although we were still "off season" there were people everywhere. However, if you stay off the beaten track a little it gets so much quieter - every bridge you cross heading away from San Marco you gain some more personal space, and by the time you are down to Via Garibaldi it's just you and the locals going about their own business, probably wondering why you are taking photos of the guy selling fish.
So that's my first tip - stay away from San Marco. You do have to see it, it's amazing, but once you have been in try heading out to find the more authentic Venice - it's only a few bridges away.