Sunday, December 4, 2011


Okay, so after an overnight flight to London then a connection to Venice, finally made it.  Of course very tired since sleeping in a cramped coach seat is not something that I have been able to do.  The airport in Venice is not too large and located on the mainland, tickets for the shuttle to San Marco in hand, we head out to the terminal.  A nice walk outside bring us to the various shuttles, a cute little dockside coffee shop beats the familiar chains back home.
After getting of at the wrong stop and wandering through Venice, and over a few bridges, we find our hotel, the Hotel Ala.  It is located on the Piazza Giglio and is very charming.  Originally built in the 17th century it has been updated, though the elevator is not for people with claustrophobia, but better than walking up 4 flights of stairs.
Our room was on the 3rd floor(4th for us Americans) at the end of the hall.  It had the standard place for the room key to keep the power on while in the room.  The room itself was good sized, and the bath was very clean.  The original beams had been exposed which added to the charm.  And as a bonus the window opened and offered a view of the little square and the top of the Camponile at San Marco was visible above the roof across the square.
After a brief nap and some freshening we set out walking.  The hotel was less than a 10 minute walk to the Piazza San Marco.  Once you have a sense of which way to go, Venice is not that difficult to get around.  The stores along the way featured Murano glass, the latest fashions and stationery.  The Piazza San Marco was almost deserted since we were off season, so it was great.The large arcade surrounding the plaza was lined with more high end shops and also those for tourists.
The inside of the basilica was beautiful.  The Doge's Palace next door was impressive.  The tour went through the various chambers where the Doge lived and where the various bodies of government met, and then to the prison across the canal by the Bridge of Sighs.  Unfortunately it was being restored and was covered in scaffolding.  The view from the top of the Camponile was impressive, but mostly red tiled roofs.
During our two days before the cruise, we also observed the everyday life in Venice.  Of course there are the gondoliers with their striped shirts, but also the delivery of goods and removal of trash.  To be a gondolier takes years of schooling and practice.  They need to be able to navigate narrow canals with other boats and not collide.
The green boat is the Venice version of a garbage truck.  There is a small crane located at the rear that picks up the full dumpster, then dumps it in the middle section to be taken away and disposed of.  Venice is a city of canals, so that is how things taken for granted are delivered and removed.  Hand trucks are loaded off a barge, sometimes double parked then trundled to its destination, often over small bridges over lesser canals.  If you notice, the man in the blue jacket has thrown a box to the man on shore, it is mid-air over the grey boat.

Of course the food was delicious.  Lots of pasta and fresh seafood.  There is the Rialto Market which is held almost daily offering the freshest seafood.  There is all kinds of fish and shellfish available along with fresh vegetables and fruits.  When I say fresh, the shrimp  and crabs were still moving as they were placed in bags and sold.

After two great days in Venice, we took the water taxi over to the port area and boarded the Pacific Princess.  Venice is definitely a place to visit, between the canals, the architecture and the food, it has no equal.  Now on to a 12 day cruise to the Holy Land.  Bon Voyage!!
Remember, when the urge to travel gets hold of you, Travel Themes and Dreams can make your dreams come true.

No comments:

Post a Comment