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Ferry time

Ferry time
Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

As planned, our alarm went off at 5.30am and we were up and dressed ready to explore Venice on our own whilst watching the sun rise. It is a beautiful place when you have it to yourself, but you are also subjected to the rubbish from the night before, especially in St Marks Square, as the cleaners do not start until 6.30am and it is all swept up by hand. As we ventured around the city, Hugh’s keen eye took some wonderful pictures and the sky was perfectly clear, it was going to be a hot day. At 6.30am I bade him farewell and set off on my run. It is possible to run in Venice on very flat ground, but it does involve numerous foot bridges up and over each section of canal, so a bit of interval running was required. Towards the end of the grand canal there is a park which gives you sweeping views of Venice and the island of San Giorgio, so this particular run has been one of the most enjoyable….if that’s possible! Met up with Hughy again, who was finishing off his mornings camera work, and headed back to the Hotel for brekky. Now, all of the Hotels we have stayed in have included breakfast, much to our delight. Unfortunately this Hotel has Nonna as the chef. Her idea of breakfast consists of homemade sandwiches, boiled eggs cut in half and placed on lettuce and tomato, some type of cold looking bruschetta, mini croissants with salami etc, etc. It may sound pretty tasty, but at 7.30am in the morning all you really want to eat is cereal and some yoghurt. Suffice to say we do not eat much for brekky. Today we bought a Ferry Pass which gave us access to any ferry for the next 24 hours. Our first stop was San Giorgio, a small island which is best known for the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, designed by Palladio and begun in 1566. The belltower has a ring of 9 bells in C#. There is also a cemetery where the dead were separately buried according to their religious denomination. It is particularly clear to see this in the protestant part of the cemetery. Here there are very few locals as Italians are predominantly Catholic; finally Hughy senses a win for the Protestants. Unfortunately, as is Italians want, you can only access the cemetery as part of a guided tour, so we did not get to see it as we were once again getting sick of placing our hand in our wallet every 5 minutes. We did, however, part with €12 to take a lift (stairs no longer in operation) to the top of the tower, and the views of Venice were spectacular. Usually when we climb a tower the weather is not great, often hazy, but today it was super clear and perfect for photos. Back to the Ferry and we made our way around the Grand Canal taking in the sights before disembarking a couple of stations after our normal stop to meandered around San Polo. It is very much like most of Venice but with less tourists. We managed to find somewhere for a coffee and a very late breakfast of a traditional toastie, so we were happy. We made our way back to our apartment but not before buying up on some beautiful Murano Glassware and a mounted, steel plague doctor, Venetian mask for home and of course some clothes and shoes to replace a very tired looking suitcase. Back to the apartment for a break before heading out again in the heat to battle the crowds. At every turn you get swallowed up by yet another tour group and at times it felt like we were walking on air as we evaporated into the throngs. After a while it gets so frustrating that you just have to stop and regroup with a Spritz!! We were keen to re enter St Marks Basilica as we had missed the opportunity to view the famous 4 horses and to also capture the views from the second level. As the queue was quite long throughout the day we went back at 4.40pm and only had to wait 10 minutes before being told inside that the viewing tower closed at 4.45pm!! Damn, where is the sign outside that tells you that, no bloody good once your inside!!! Oh well, as we had an early start to the day we decided to rest up for an hour back in our apartment and catch up on some reading before heading out once again for dinner. At least by dinner time the throngs of tourists are safely back in their cabins and headed towards their next destination, making room for the next cruise liner tomorrow. One thing about Venice, if you have no idea where you are you will continue to walk in circles for at least half an hour before working out where you actually are. We headed to dinner but found the place we wanted was closed on Sunday, so Plan B was to find somewhere else as cheap and nasty as our intended destination. 45 minutes later and patience sorely tested, we arrived somewhere and decided to stop for dinner. The upside, $3.50 Spritz, we settled in, enjoyed a cheap eat and were grateful for getting lost. As tomorrow is our last day in Venice, we will once again get up early to enjoy the place to ourselves for a couple of hours, before making another attempt at seeing the viewing platform in St Mark Basilica, fingers crossed.

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