Today we had breakfast about 7:30am. I had croissant and some cornflakes along with an apple and some sort of juice — still not sure what kind it was. Then we headed off. We walked about 5 minutes to the lagoon that separates our island from the main part of Venice. We boarded a water taxi and took off for the city. The water is low, so getting into the boat was a little tricky. Here is a picture of Lynnette trying to get down in then board.
(I can’t figure out how to rotate the picture….yet! Sorry!)
It took about 30 minutes to get to the main part of Venice. It was just beautiful. We started off with a guided tour of Venice. The local guide, whose name was also Anna, walked use through the city. I was lost in 2 minutes. We saw St. Zachariah’s Church, wandered across some of then streets and crossed many bridges. We got to see really what life in Venice for those who still live there is like. Daily a man pulling a cart comes around to pick up garbage. Anything that has to be delivered is by cart because there are no cars. (Many of the streets were barely wide enough for two people to walk down them. Venice is made up of 120 islands. It is very expensive to remodel or make repairs on the houses. The weight of the house has to be considered because if it is too heavy, it could sink. There are few elevators, so for the elderly and the young living in the old part of Venice is not desired much any more. We did walk down a little area where a lady was hanging out her laundry.
We kept walking and Anna gave us a lot of history of the city. It has been part of Austria, France, and only since the early 1800s has it been a part of Italy. So, there have been lots of difference influences. We ended up in St. Mark’s Square which is the main square in the city. So named for their patron saint whose remains were moved here from Alexandria, Egypt many years ago. He was laid to rest in the St. Mark’s Basilica which is off the square. The square also has the Doge Palace where the rulers of Venice lived for many, many years. We’ll come back to the palace and basilica later. We enjoyed Anna’s humor and singing, but our tour was now over. Anna, our tour director, guided us all back to the boat and we headed to an island to see the Arti Venziane alla Giudecca.
We started with a glass blowing demonstration. The main made a beautiful vase right before our eyes. He then did a demonstration where he made a beautiful horse sculpting it from the hot glass. Amazing and very impressive to watch him make it and do it so quickly.
Then it was time for some shopping. Venice is know for its Mulano Glass and this place was amazing. Beautiful (and expensive) pieces of art and jewelry. I splurged a bit and bought this beautiful gondola. It will be a beautiful reminder of the city and this trip. I also found a few gifts for family members, too. Following that, back to the boat and back to the city. This time we went to see the Lace School.
Here again we saw a beautiful demonstration of the handmade lace from Venice. Never exported out because there are now so few that know how to make it. Pieces can take months and months to produce. They were absolutely amazing. I did find another family gift here, so that was good. I had been worried about find that particular one.
After that we were all pretty much worn out and needed some lunch and most of us needed money, too. So we headed towards an area with shops and restaurants. We found a small little sandwich place for us and I had a ham and cheese sandwich and a drink – really needed a drink! The sitting down for a bit helped, too.
Rested a little, we headed back out and found some other little trinkets (a necktie for me!) and then waited for the rest of our group to come back. Then it was off for the gondola ride. It was amazing. Just so calm, beautiful, and serene.
We would have gone again if time (and money) were endless. The gondolas that travel between the city glide across the 9 foot deep water pretty easily. A little congestion and the boat in front of us even had a singer on it which was neat to listen to him sing to the riders.
After the ride, we got tickets to go to the Doge Palace. Before that since the line was really short, we walked through St. Mark’s Basilica. It was beautiful, but unfortunately they don’t let you take any pictures inside. We also had to have our knees and shoulders covered out of respect. The art on the walls, ceiling, and just everywhere was amazing.
Then, we walked over to Doge Palace. The courtyard kind of reminded me of the set from the Muppets Show, but it was beautiful with all of those arches.
We started walking through the rooms. Many again, we were not allowed to photograph. But, we had a great time looking around at the paintings that had been there for more than 500+ years, the fireplaces, the woodwork, etc. It was all breath taking. Towards the end we decided we needed to pick up the pace to get out of there. Well, the tour kept going and we found ourselves crossing the Bridge of Sigh to go from the palace to the prison.
We went up and down more steps than I could count, but we finally saw the prison and got out of there just in time to meet our group for the water taxi back to the hotel. After a short break, we took the bus to the center of this island for dinner on our own. We found a cute little restaurant where we could eat outside. I had a grilled steak (delish!) and we split a liter of wine. But, of course the highlight was the gelato. I got chocolate chip again, but I had bites of Strawberry, Rum, and Chocolate….all were amazing. Now, back to the hotel to check email, post stuff, and get ready to depart in the morning. We’re heading to Florence and Pisa tomorrow!
Tags: C.L.A.S.S. · Italy