Monday, June 25, 2012


The last time were in Venice was 40 years ago! Our first European trip – fly now, pay later! I remember very little of our time here. I know we enjoyed it. I remember visiting the major sites. Also that we had a lot of luggage and that managing it in and out of the water taxi and to the hotel was a nightmare.
We love and have collected (to a small degree) art glass works so we had often talked of coming back for a visit. This cruise provided such an opportunity (and has whetted our appetite for another visit soon).

We sailed in from about 10.45am finally docking about 11.30am yesterday. This is a wonderful place to enter from the sea – absolutely beautiful. And the weather was perfect – clear and warm.

Venice consists of an aggregation of 120 or so islands that over the centuries of its existence have become the remarkable network of canals, bridges and narrow twisty streets. No other city I have visited has the same unique feel.

I love the water, it is everpresent here (and far cleaner than I remember it).

There are watercraft everywhere. Ranging from motor boats through the vaporettos and water taxis to gondolas; the mega yachts of rich and famous (motor and sail) and cruise ships of every type – masted sail cruise ships, small and exclusive liners and of course, mega liners.

So this is the scene then as you sail in. ships of all sizes sailing all around; blue, blue sky; blue calm ocean and glimpses of land. First the Lido;

then Giudecca on the Port side of the ship with Venice to Starboard as you sail down the Giudecca canal;

then finally into the Marittima Basin and our dock at the Cruise Port. People on the water incredibly hospitable – everyone waving.

The first view of the iconic landmarks – Piazza San Marco, the Campanile and the Palazzo Ducale and the thousands and thousands of tourists! Amazing.

We were anxious to make the most of our time here and chose not to do any organized tour but rather take a water shuttle – arranged by the ship - from the dock to a berth close to San Marco. So we went down to the gangplank area as we were arriving and were off the ship and on the shuttle in the first group.

It was a Sunday for our first day and the city was packed with visitors. Spent all afternoon wandering around starting off in the area of Piazza San Marco

then following a very random path towards the Rialto Bridge;

back along the Grand Canal for a way then cut across again to the Piazza.

This was one of the few ports we stayed overnight – the only cruise ship left as the others moved on. Most people went back into the City for dinner but we stayed on the ship, drank some wine, had a bit of dinner and relaxed.

As this Celebrity megaship sailed out, passengers lining the rails and waving, they were playing Andrea Bocelli (sp?) singing "Time to say Goodbye’ – Merle loves this song so took it very personally

Seagull landed on the rail of our balcony and just sat there for the longest time looking at us – must mean something – so I took a pic

This morning (Monday) took the first shuttle back again (8am). Wonderful thing to have done – the Piazza was virtually empty; the tourist shops closed. People commuting into work arrived, the coffee shops / bars opened and folks popped in for an expresso (and what looked like a Campari); food stores opened and people were there buying the days supplies – a city slowly coming to life.

Shopping stores only opened at 10 or 10.30 so things were quiet. Wandered the streets, did the requisite purchasing then back on the shuttle to the ship after noon for a 2pm sailing.

Loved Venice. Will come back for touring soon – didn’t get to Murano. Didn’t get to the Ghetto area and the museum. Want to.

Many of those reading this know Venice so there is little I can tell you. Except maybe how I experienced our brief time. First off, I had a smile on my face all the time I was here. Everywhere you walk there is something that catches your eye.

A lovely view of a canal from a bridge and gondolas gliding along

Beautiful Hotel courtyard with a glass fountain and elegant guests having breakfast; across the canal from there a classical Venetian home with beautiful flowers growing in window boxes.

Stores selling beautiful Venetian – made handiwork; lace from Burano; Glass from Murano; Leather goods; wooden keyrings and fridge magnets in the shape of cute and engaging characters.

Also, of course, stores selling lace, glass and leather goods (in far greater numbers) made in PRC (Peoples Republic of China) and Africans (Nigerians perhaps) selling bogus this and that (just like NYC).

Most delicious ice cream – I wont say "the most’…… the ships is up there but Happy Valley surpasses all. Vanilla is the flavor, of course.

Candy in stores that looks unique even when it isn't - had to buy the brittle

The sights; Piazza San Marco is special.

The world beats a path here – tourists of all flavors.

The Bridge of Sighs – the thought of where the name comes from – prisoners on their walk from sentencing at the Doge’s Palace to the prison and its enactment.

The clock on the Basilica and its way of telling the time digitally for todays world – VIII.30am it was when we took the pic

1 comment:

  1. Looks great! Pics are awesome as usual, really capturing the flavor! Looks to be bit crowded