Wednesday, June 28, 2017

15 An enchanted evening in Venice.

There is always an air of excitement as you enter the Venice lagoon. Sailing
past St Mark's square, beautiful churches and the stunning palaces whose
door steps are lapped by the water. Streets replaced by canals, buses
replaced by vaporetti, taxis replaced by speed boats. It is business as
usual as they scoot around the waterways, in and out of bus stops oblivious
to the fact a giant cruise ship is obstructing their route. But we are not
huge, as the larger cruise ships are no longer allowed to cruise this scenic
As an olive branch for missing Rijeka, Princess offered a free shuttle in
and out of St Marks for this evening only. Our plan of attack was to walk
to St Marks via a route not taken in the past and then catch the shuttle
As many rushed for the first shuttle, we kept walking straight out of the
port gates. Preserving our energy, we took the People Mover into the
Piazaale Roma. This square is like a major hub. There is a station where
buses get you in and out of the island. On the Grand Canal, you can catch a
vaporetto to St Marks or to one of the many outlying islands. Crossing a
rather modern looking bridge which screams "I don't belong here" you arrive
at the Santa Lucia Train Station. Being early evening this place was
heaving… not so much with tourist, but commuters making their way home from
We made our way into the Jewish Ghetto, and so was everyone else, as this
could be classified as the more residential area of Venice. Stalls and
stores still catering for the tourist, but without the traps that you find
closer to the Rialto bridge and St marks.
There were no designer stores nor flashy restaurants along these lanes. The
cafés became quainter and the touting less obtrusive. We wandered the
canals, crossing small bridges as we came to them; we walked down small lane
ways that snaked their way around. Sometimes hitting a dead end where you
either had to swim or turn back. The charm of a gondola cruising past, with
lovers enjoying the ride hoping to capture the romance of the city.
As night fell, the lanes became darker and the lack of street lights was
making it difficult for us to read our map. But then losing yourself in
Venice is all part of its charm. Finally, we found a lane that led us out
to water, a canal would have been good, but the large expanse of the lagoon
was a different story. We were now on the outer edges of the island, not a
soul in sight, pitch black and the dilemma of whether to walk left or right.
Spotting a bus station, we decided to see if could match it with a position
on our map…. Hmm ok we are exactly at the opposite position on the island
to St Marks. The practical and really the only direction we should go was
back into the dark abyss of which we came out of. With no straight line to
follow, we just had to follow our noses in hope coming across a major canal.

Running into a rather large group of people we decided to follow them, this
led to a large square. This was good, civilization you might say. We were
now getting hungry so we stopped for a quick meal and to regroup. Whilst
sitting there we noticed passing groups all heading in one direction, so we
decided that this was a good indication that it led somewhere of some
We followed their footsteps. Like children in a lolly shop our eyes light up
as we walked out a lane to be greeted by the sight of the Rialto bridge.
Amazing during the day, majestically lit up at night, a bridge of beauty no
matter what time of day. We knew St Marks was close by and we found our way
very easily.
"Is that water?" having seen the pictures and heard the stories, there in
the middle of the square was water, not deep, but enough to capture the
reflections of the Basilica and the surrounding palaces. People frolicked in
it, took pictures of it, or avoided it like we did as not to ruin our shoes.
Weaving our way around the puddles we headed out to the lagoon and to the
shuttle that took us home.

1 comment:

  1. We have been to Venice twice when the duckboards were down in St. Mark's Square and it was quite interesting to try and walk on them and not on the water. One time, it was so deep that the Water Taxi couldn't take us to our hotel from the ship and left us to walk with our luggage about 100 metres with all the crowds surrounding us! It wasn't fun. Both times were in October.