We arrived in Venice, Italy on Sunday morning, 1 April 2018: Easter Sunday. We docked among four other cruise ships which meant that about 20,000 additional people had just been added to the population of Venice. Needless to say, everything was fairly crowded. In my journal I recorded Saint Mark’s Plaza as being populated by moving mobs as the various tour groups jockeyed for space to gather for their information talks.
This was an overnight port for us and the end of a World Tour segment so about 200 people were leaving our ship and another 200 or so getting on the ship for the next segment that takes us back the U.S. at Fort Lauderdale. Sobering in one way as this indicates that the end of the trip is in sight with the Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles segment being the last. Still lots to see however.
The tour I selected for Venice was fairly inclusive. We got off the ship at the tender dock and boarded a private water taxi for the short “drive” over to the dock by Saint Mark’s Square. The dock is about three bridges shy of the square so we had to walk to the square from the dock. Of course, many more were doing the same walk. One of the bridges allowed us a view of the Bridge of Sighs between the Doge’s Palace and prison. The bridge is called that because of the last sighs of the prisoners when they crossed the bridge and saw, for maybe the last time, the outside through one of the small windows. A nice story but just that, a story. The bridge was mostly used by soldiers going back and forth and the sigh story was started by Byron when he wrote about the bridge and sighed at having to leave Venice.
I have a photo from the bridge over the canal that the Bridge of Sighs crosses but instead have included here a photo of both bridges so you can see the crowds of people one has to fight in order to get the “classic” Bridge of Sighs photo. This photo was taken on our sail-out from Venice. We sailed right past Saint Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace as we left.
We met in the square and listened to the guide talking about the cathedral and history as I walked around taking photos of the outside. The cathedral was closed so we did not get inside (sigh…another causality of ship’s scheduling). When finished, we got into the line going into the Doge’s Palace. The line lasted between a half and three quarters of an hour (did not time it exactly) which was actually pretty good I’m told. Inside the palace we learned that it was not so much the home of the Doge (it was for some period) but actually more of the justice center for Venice. But, no matter what the history, the amount and quality of art in the palace was almost overwhelming. I’ve included a photo of one wall in the Hall of Justice just to whet your appetite.
Part of this tour allowed us to view the prison and to do that we had to walk through the Bridge of Sighs in both directions. The third photo below shows the inside of that famous bridge.
After the Doge’s Palace we boarded another water taxi and sailed up the Grand Canal to the Ca’ Rezzonico Museum where we were exposed to another three floors of beautiful art. On the way we passed under the famous Rialto Bridge that everybody takes a picture of when they cruise the Grand Canal. Mine is included here. (Yes, that’s right, they were doing renovation work and the bridge was completely covered.)
After the museum we boarded yet another water taxi which took us further up the Grand Canal and then over to the port where we exited and went back to the ship. This time I was the first on the taxi which allowed me to crawl to the back and stand outside during the trip back to the ship. That’s right, I said crawl. Water taxis in Venice are oddly designed for a tall person and I found it easier to maneuver inside if I was on my hands and knees!
With the crowds and having seen the major points of Venice in my tour I decided to stay on the ship on the second day and organized photos and played trivia with the team I joined until our sail-out. Was on the top deck, bundled against the cold and wind, during the sail-out and got some really nice shots of the same areas I visited along with many other areas of the city as we passed by.
Leaving Venice we sailed a short distance over to Croatia to visit Korcula. This is a YAMT (Yet Another Medieval Town), like many of the other towns we’ve seen along the coast. The old town is small (only 200 live there now) and surrounded by a wall with land and sea gates. The whole is built on a hill so you walk up or down, depending on where you start, through narrow “streets” to see the town. We had a walking tour that lasted about 1.5 hours with the stops for history. You’ll have to wait for the Photo Club presentation for photos of this area as I have not yet done much editing of those.
You are now caught up as today is a sea day sailing from Korcula last night to Malta tomorrow.
The adventure continues.