Saturday, 24 August 2013

A visit to Venice!

We arrived in Venice around 11.30, having flown Volotea from Mykonos.  We managed to find our hotel without any dramas, and hit the 'streets' of Venice early.  Jean came here many years ago, but I was, until today, a Venice virgin.  Like Dresden last year, Venice is a place we took an instant liking to!

They say you can easily get lost in Venice, and they're right.  The easiest way to get around would surely be to follow the Grand Canal, the main waterway, as it winds its way through the city.  But you can't.  There are no footpaths lining the Grand Canal.  As far as we can see, the only exceptions are around the Rialto Bridge and St Marks Square.  So, if you're somewhere near the main train station in the northwest, and you want to walk to St Marks Square in the southeast (45 minutes), you will have to cut through the middle of Venice.  Venice is one great big maze.  It is a real rabbit warren, a veritable horizontal honeycomb of paved caverns, bricked walls with peeling rendering, and dead ends galore.  The maze consists of narrow empty lanes, pathways with creepers and trailers, little piazzas, and sudden, bridgeless canals that turn you about face.  Like in a maze, you can't see over the top of the wall to the lane running parallel with yours.  The free hotel map and the Trip Advisor Offline City Guide assist only to a degree.  Within the rabbit warren, there are 118 islands and 430 bridges.  At any moment, on any of the countless canals, while you're focused on finding the right direction, a gondola will float by, ferrying foreigners without a care in the world.  It's an intriguing, pleasant, pretty, and fascinating city.  Of course, you can find a vaporetto (water taxi) to avoid getting lost!  That might be your saving grace.

Our hotel is not far from the main train station.  We made our way to Rialto Bridge, St Marks Square, and the Bridge of Sighs, and soaked in the sights.  We took it slowly, passing souvenir shops selling many Murano glass products, Burano lace products and many other delights.  Gelati here.  Panini there.  Pizza, pasta and caffe latte.  It sort of feels strange to be back in Italy after a 12-day absence.  I know it's only been a few hours, but I haven't got Greece out of my system yet.  I wander through Venice whistling Zorba The Greek.  I'll have to stop that.  0 Sole Mio would be better.

St Marks Square
A cafe in St Marks Square
The Rialto Bridge
The Bridge of Sighs
Looking out to the church of Santa Maria della Salute
One of the many canals
A pleasant lane 

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