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Venice day 2

The Grand Canal from the Rialto

On our second day in Venice we did a walking-tour excursion, “Hidden Venice”. This started at 8:15 at the ship – we were taken in a launch from the deck 4 tendering platform round the outside of the docks to Piazzale Roma. Actually, we couldn’t land there because the tide was out and the launch side was too far below the landing-stage level so we were dropped then the side of the grand canal at the station instead. Then we walked across the Ponte degli Scalzi and made our way through the back alleys to the Campo S. Rocco, Campo del Frari, and the Campo S. Polo, with our guide explaining what we were seeing, and also giving us background information on Venice, such as what the street names mean. We had radios and little earpieces and we could hear her well, except when she went round a corner and the buildings interrupted radio reception for those behind.

From S. Polo we made our way to the Rialto, crossed the grand canal and were soon back in the maze of alleys. We kept on walking until we reached Campo Santo Maria Formosa where had a refreshment break. At this point we and another couple separated ourselves from the group temporarily, and walked down to the Piazza San Marco (which was absolutely heaving with people). Then when we reached the waterfront we turned left and crossed four bridges until we met the group again for the boat trip back to the ship.

We really enjoyed this excursion. Much of it took us through non-touristy areas, where the shops were for locals and there were real Venetians around us, and it was good to get even a faint impression of what life is like in Venice. One thing that our guide said hit home – the population of the city itself is falling, and is currently not much more than 50,000. The problem is the price of property – it’s beyond the reach of locals (including our guide), and most young people move to the mainland when they leave the parental home.

From our balcony during sailaway

Later in the day was the sail away from Venice which we really enjoyed, in a slightly sad way. Ventura left her berth at about 4:45 and reversed into the navigation channel. Then she was turned round with tug assistance) and began the slow glide along the Canal Giudecca. In this direction it was the port side that was facing the main city, so we had excellent views into the city from our balcony. The highlight, of course was passing Piazza San Marco. Then we were out into the lagoon just looking back at Venice. A few minutes later we passed the Lido and were out in the Adriatic.

So what did we think of Venice? Probably – no, certainly – the most spectacular place we’ve ever visited. The last three days in Dubrovnik and Venice have been sensational. Korcula and Corfu have a lot to live up to.


Update: Here’s a link to my Picasa album of the best images from venice.

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