|Good morning, Venezia|
|The docks of Venice|
|Oh the light and colors|
Walking tours had their plusses and minuses. The most severe minus is the fact that the Whisper doesn't work as well as it should.... I am SURE that there is better quality sound and I did write that down during my post trip survey from EFT. And of course the heavy accent of the guides was distracting, too, but it was enchanting as well. Our first guide took us around a small part of Venice, and I think it lasted about 2 hours. We saw the canals and the outside of the buildings, and were in St. Mark's square and Doges Palace as well as a sort of lame glass blowing demonstration... I've seen glass blowing and it is interesting but definitely justice not done to it in a 10 minute glass blow with a 20 minute, here -buy our glass time. We had then free time for lunch and time in Venice.
|OOOOOOOHHHH IONIC COLUMNS!!!!|
|Interior of Doges Palace|
|Pano of St. Mark's Square|
It was Rose and my first foray into sitting down at a restaurant and ordering, and we all were sort of at a loss of what to do. But between Paula and Daniele we braved it and went down a street and found an air-conditioned place where we could sit down and relax and regroup. Turns out I had one of my best pizzas in this city- al fresco, so fresh greens and tomato on top. We did a little bit of shopping and a lot of looking around. We made our way to the grand canal and found our way back. We also had a gondola ride, which seems sort of stereotypical, but hey! Why the heck not??
|Pizza al Fresco|
|Selfie in Venice!!|
I found Venice to be enchanting and charming and I LOVED the lack of cars and bikes and such. It was a grand way to start our trip. AND I got some great photos. My first gasping/crying moment (I felt like hiding my tears 99% of the time) was getting into the first large room of Doges Palace. You just can't imagine the opulence and grandeur of it all. I had seen the old buildings, but it didn't quite seem real. It felt like I was seeing the pseudo-old buildings that house the great art museums in America- like the Art Institute in Chicago or the Met in New York. But no, this was the real thing. REAL! As in hundreds of years old. So it HIT me while I was in the palace that I was really in a foreign country, across the ocean, seeing things that were older than I could imagine. It was a moment that was intense and moving.
Our gondola ride was amusing, as the gondolier "sang" to us in his cigarette altered voice, mostly -row row row your boat - as he rocked the gondola back and forth. He was an older man who had been doing this for 35 years I think. He was animated and did his best to converse and joke with us. The others doing this did not have such a treat. Those men mostly were talking to the other gondoliers. This guy was racing with another one, and basically was clowning around- he was a hoot.
There were all sorts of things to notice and see- if you looked you could see the way that the water is affecting the buildings- an eloquent decay, as was so elegantly described to me. I took several photos of this, and I want to work on doing special editing for those--- so that could be several weeks before those surface.
|Bridge of sighs|
|Looking out from the Bridge of Sighs|
After the Palace we attempted to find something to drink and place to sit for a while- until the rest of our group assembled. People watching and gondola watching commenced, and it was entertaining. We finished up by seeing the first of many cruise ships spotted on this trip, watching some impressive clouds roll in over the islands, and taking a water taxi back to our hotel. Our luggages were waiting there for us (luggages! Loved all the quirky little things that Daniela said during this vacation- he was so sweet), and we had a good meal and what turned out to be the best wine of the trip! 2 bottles worth of good! And a red, surprisingly, as my tastes drift towards the whites. What a great great way to start this tour.
|Looking out of the window at the Palace|
|Small city headed your way!|
|Our little group!|