I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Our Italian Honeymoon - Venice

Saturday 19th May

The photos from Venice do not necessarily tie up with the text – I just like them!!

We didn't wake up till 8.30! Richard was despatched to the local supermarket to buy supplies while I unpacked and attempted to shower. I said yesterday that it would probably be interesting and I was right! I had to bend and shower - oh and yes there is no shower curtain - when I got out the floor was flooded!

We set off walking towards the station and came across a food market. As in Maglie last Saturday the produce looked and smelt lovely. As we walked along I felt as if I was in some sort of a trance - it all seemed so much better than I had anticipated. As we neared the station so we met the tourists - honestly tourists I ask you! It was chaotic. The waterbus we wanted was suspended as the America's Cup is in town so we caught another to St Mark's Square. By this stage my toes were really hurting but I soldiered on bravely! My big toe is black and blue - almost the same colour as my toe nail varnish!

St Mark's was heaving not only with tourists but people wanting to watch the yacht racing. We went inland a few streets, hoping things would be cheaper, and bought a couple of nice rolls which were heated up for us. We then wandered back to the waterfront to watch the start of the race. We think there must have a false start as it took ages. The boats were huge catamarans - 9 of them but no British entry. There was great excitement as one of the Italian boats was in the lead as we left.

By this time my toes were so painful that we had to head back to the apartment though we did walk, stopping at a restaurant for a beer.

After a rest we changed and returned to St Mark's Square. We walked inland again and found a nice restaurant where Richard had a pizza and I had spaghetti bolognaise. We wandered back to the Square to see what was happening. I had read that St Mark's Square at night is lovely after the cruise ships have left and also the people who are staying on the mainland have gone. The article was right! There about four main restaurants in the square and they all had an orchestra of four or five musicians. We listened to one until they stopped for a rest then walked on to the next and did the same. The third "orchestra" was more of a band with an excellent violinist who had the crowd either swaying or singing along.

At about 11pm we thought we ought to make our way home but had to wait for ages for a waterbus and then had to catch one that didn't stop at our stop which meant more walking and hoping we were going the right way. We have found two landmarks now, the local Co-op and the pizza restaurant we went to last night - it's great when one comes into view.


Sunday 20th May

We weren't too sure what today was going to bring weatherwise as we still had no internet to check on the forecast. After his bread foray Richard said that it was warm and bright. So we set off to the Doge's Palace in shirt sleeves and an umbrella. We got off at the stop before St Mark's to see the old customs house and take in the Zattere. In the end we took the waterbus to Lido where we had lunch. From there we went to Murano - we wanted to buy some glass with wedding present money - we had no idea what we wanted and in the end bought a lovely bon bon dish with a matching plate.

As it came time to leave Murano it began to drizzle so we took the waterbus across to Treporti. We called at Burano which used to be a fishing village and where the houses are all brightly painted. Legend has it that this was done so the returning fishermen knew where to go! When we got to Treporti we had planned to go back via some other islands but the bus wasn't going all the way back to Venice so we went back the way we had come. The north side of Venice isn't particularly nice - run down industrial areas but it was interesting to see.

It was 7pm by the time we got back to the apartment so we quickly changed, put on some warmer clothes and went in search of dinner. We found a lovely restaurant, Da Ignazio, where we had an excellent last dinner in Italy and early birthday celebration for Richard. I had scallops to start with which must have been the best scallops ever; Richard had an amazing plate of frutti del mare. This was followed by a very good steak and finished off with tiramisu. Excellenti!

We finally have internet access - Leth had given me the wrong password with an "o" instead of a "0". Better late than never I guess.

Weather today. It started warm I guess about 22 degrees but got cooler though we were never cold in our shirt sleeves.


Monday 21st May

An early start this morning. I made the birthday boy a cup of tea and gave him the cards that had arrived before we left home. I had my last shower in the apartment or should I say that I flooded the bathroom floor for the last time! Packing was so much easier this time as just about all the clothes are dirty though we do seem to have acquired a few extra things!

We left the cases in the apartment and set off to St Mark's Square once again but we went via Rialto as there were a couple of things I wanted to buy from the shops there. By this time it was pouring with rain - as usual I had inappropriate footwear, sandals, and got extremely wet feet. We caught the waterbus down to the Square and joined the queue for the Doges's Palace, however we were queuing in the rain and were also conscious of the length of the queue and the time we had. We decided against going in and instead went up the Campanile San Marco which was originally used as a watch tower or lighthouse for the dock, the city’s tallest building at 323 feet. It has an interesting history as in July 1902, the north wall of the tower began to show signs of a dangerous crack that in the following days continued to grow. Finally, on Monday July 14th around 9.45 am, the campanile collapsed completely. Remarkably, no one was killed, except for the caretaker's cat. A new campanile was built on the same site and was inaugurated on April 25th 1912, exactly 1000 years after the foundations of the original building had allegedly been laid. I would like to say that we climbed up to the top but there is a lift! As the lift door opened the cold wind hit us and I know I could feel it swaying! The view from the top was fantastic and showed the whole of the lagoon – we thought yesterday that it was big but we could see its enormity today. From the top you couldn’t see any canals or alleyways – it just looked as if the houses were jumbled on top of each other - we think that when Venice was built the builders got a job lot of roof tiles as they all appeared to be the same.

While we were in St. Mark’s Square we noticed that all the flags were at half-mast. After several texts to home we discovered that there had been an earthquake north of Bologna 4am on Sunday morning and that 7 people had been killed. Well the earthquake had woken me up in Venice! I was woken in the early hours on Sunday morning by the bed shaking – I thought it was Richard snoring but realised that the wardrobe was moving too. In the morning I asked Richard if Venice is in an earthquake are as I thought I had felt one but he didn’t know and probably thought I was dreaming! It’s amazing how, 90 miles from the epicentre, the quake was still severe enough to wake me up.

From the Campanile we took the waterbus to Ca’ Rezzonico to see the Palace - we felt that we really ought to go inside one of the palaces and get some culture! There were some lovely ceilings and furniture and some stunning paintings – both frescos and oils (hark at me – I do know the difference now!!) The palace was started in 1649 by the Bon family, one of Venice's patrician families. Unfortunately the head of the family, Filippo Bon, suffered a financial collapse and it wasn’t finished until 1756 by the Rezzonico family.

As it was raining so hard we got the waterbus back to Rialto and then walked back to our local square to have a late pizza lunch. We collected our cases and took the waterbus back to Rialto where we waited for the airport waterbus. It wasn’t a very pleasant ride in a smallish cabin with 12 other people and no air. The driver would put his foot down then throttle back making it a rather nauseous sensation – oh and yes he loved his bow thruster! It’s a 7 minute walk from the waterbus stop to the terminal and is a covered way thank goodness as it was still pouring with rain! We were miles too early so sat in the café and made one cup of tea last an hour! We checked-in and went through to airside – my knee set the security machine off again! The flight left on time and was a little turbulent at times but we arrived back at Gatwick ahead of schedule. The queue for UK Border Control was ridiculous and by the time we got through we couldn’t see the end of the queue. Our car was delivered on time and we drove home – arriving just after midnight. Millie went berserk – more like a dog than a cat! She was running about like something possessed! She soon settled down when we went to bed and lay between us all night.

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