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It was an all night and all day sailing from Corfu to Venice. We entered the Giudecca Canal and slowly made our way to the Marittima Cruise Terminal. It was a very nice evening but rather hazy or smoggy for a city without cars.
There is no other city in the world like Venice. It consists of 118 islands with a well planned web of 150 canals and 400 bridges. The heart of Venice centers around St. Mark‘s Square or Piazza San Marco. It has been called “a great, marble salon” open to he sky. The piazza is huge yet harmonious, with covered galleries all around, sheltering luxury shops and cafes. Our hotel was less than a 5 minute walk from the piazza yet on first arriving, but most difficult to find. But I get ahead of myself.
The fourth and fifth photo below is a distant look at San Marco and the Campanile. Doge’s Palace is just barely visible in the shadows. Just before getting to our berth, we sails passed the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore and the Redentore Church.
A small cruise ship was across the way. We prepared for leaving the ship the next morning. Luckily, we did not have a really early departure time so there was plenty of time for breakfast. Once out of the ship and with our bags picked up and through Italian customs, we were at the dock where our water taxi was to arrive. It was a mad house. People trying to get to the taxis down fairly steep ramp with very heavy bags. The water very rough because of all the taxis coming in and going out so while trying to get into a taxi it is bouncing up and down. With much struggling, we were in the boat and headed for our hotel.
The water taxi was suppose to take us to a landing near to our hotel. The boatman knowing we knew nothing took us to the water taxi piers near San Marco. Well, I said that our hotel was close to San Marco except that it was on the other side of the Piazza and I knew not where. After much walking and asking, I finally found the hotel. There they allowed their porter to accompany me back to where I left Mieko and the remainder of our bags. Finally, we were back at the hotel and in our room.
We only had the rest of this first day and the night to see Venice. We struck out on foot, of course, to see the immediately surroundings, after all we were in the center of Venice. We were also hungry not having eaten since early this morning. There are many, many shops selling things of Venetian. There are beautiful and interesting masks in just about every other shop. These are for the Venice Carnival and for tourist to buy. Past the shops, we looked for a place to eat and found this one little place that had no more space after we entered. We had pizza, beer, bottle of water and small sandwich. Cost us nearly 30 US dollars! After eating, we decided to use their restroom, a tiny little place. Unknownst to us, the light was on a timer and there were no windows. As it would happen to Mieko, the light went off after she went in!
Finished with eating we went into the Piazza San Marco. It was a busy place with lots of people, things for sale and musicians playing. The really strange thing that happens, but not while we were there, the Piazza floods with the tide waters during the winter. It is deep enough that small boats and gondolas are used to get across it.
Next to San Marco Basilica is Doge’s Palace. This building is very recognizable Venice in a Renaissance style distinguished from that of the rest of Europe. Somewhere between Gothic and fully Renaissance, there was a period of transition during which Venetian buildings displayed combined Gothic and Renaissance features. This can be seen in the pointed arches of the facade of the Doge’s Palace.
A closer look at San Marco Basilica one will notice that each of the entrances to the Basilica are of a different design. The marble and tile work is beautiful.
This hotel in yellow stucco was quite a contrast to the Basilica. More intriguing masks in our hunt for a place for dinner. We settled on a nice medium size restaurant on the same street or path as our hotel. It was not overly crowded and this little girl went around and visited with all who were there. I took this photo of her and I overheard her father say, “Wish she would do that when I try to take her picture.”. We each had a nice salad, a very good basil pasta dish that we split between us, each a wonder dish of turbot, a Mediterranean flounder like fish, a class of beer and a bottle of water. I finished the evening with a lemoncello. Our bill was $212 US! Oh well, it was the first and last time in Venice.
Back on the street or path, we did a little more looking and shopping. Lots of Venetian glass. Beautiful pieces with a pretty price on it.
The next morning we were to meet our water taxi about 10 or 11 o’clock. We got to the landing and there was a garbage barge there. It did not seem to me ready to leave anytime soon. Shortly our taxi arrived and the garbage barge was still there. We had to do so it was upon on the barge and across it to our taxi. What a way to leave Venice.
We wound through the canals, out into the Grand Canal and shortcut back through the narrow ones. We were lucky enough to pass by the Rialo Bridge which is another landmark of Venice.
I shall provide this information least readers of this might wonder how I know about much of what I have written regarding Rome, Greece and Venice. I had about 4 years of architectural history while working for my degree in architecture. However, all this is not something one remembers without reference. I give the credit to the book A History of Architecture on the Comparative Method by Sir Banister Fletcher for this information. It is the one of only three books that I kept from my days at Texas Technological College. Professor Sasser, you can be proud.