Venice = very niceApril 30 in Italy
We spent a day and a half in Venice as it was a change over day with half the ship disembarking and a new lot of passengers joining the cruise. There are three other cruise ships in port already so Venice is bound to be crowded. The port is a little way away from the main square and the only way is by water...there are no roads where we are going (to quote the Doc in Back to the Future - am I showing my age here? )
So we arrive in Venice and the place is a sea of people ( This is also a public holiday weekend). When you think of Venice you really only think of the canals, gondolas/ gondaliers, a couple of famous bridges (Rialto bridge and Bridge if Sighs), St Marks Basilica & Square and the Grand Canal. Apart from the Doge's Palace there is not to much more to see. I guess it is the uniqueness of this place that is the main attraction.
We had a tour of the Doge's Palace - very ornate with gold and painted ceilings and apparently one of the largest canvas paintings in the world. We crossed the Bridge of Sighs which does not have any romantic connotation associated with it as the gondoliers would have you believe as they punt you underneath. Instead it was actually the direct path to the prison. The sighs would be the sound the prisoners would make as they crossed the bridge, possibly only a one way trip.... Or so the story goes.
It is known as St Mark's Basilica (and square) because that is where the apostle St Mark is buried. Trouble is, St Mark died in Egypt , not Venice, but as the Venetians were always competing against Rome (who had St Peter), they decided to steal the body from Egypt and bring it back to Venice. To do this they hid his body in a large basket and covered it with pork so when they passed through customs the Muslims would not touch pork and thus not find the body. True story - fascinating stuff. There is a depictation of this event on the front of St Mark's Basilica. Unfortunately we were not able to go into St Mark's as the queues were just too long.
We didn't go on a gondola as it is quite expensive and when we looked at the faces of those travelling, nobody seemed very happy, including the gondalier. We got plenty of photos though and we also made our way to the Rialto bridge, did some shopping and bought a piece of Murano glass (another Venetian specialty) and a couple of other souvenirs. Back onboard on off to Split in Croatia.Read more