We’ve just spent a brilliant day in Venice, and have arrived back at our campsite absolutely exhausted, and maybe very slightly inebriated!
Having both been to Venice before, ten years ago to be exact, for my fiftieth birthday – we felt no pressure ‘to do the sights’. So we leisurely took the ferry across the lagoon this morning, and then just pottered. The city wasn’t as busy as last night, but nonetheless, the popular spots like St. Marks Square and around the Rialto Bridge were still pretty crowded. But as soon as you took yourself off from the main thoroughfares, it was remarkable how quickly you could loose everyone. We stopped for coffee down a little side street near the university, and apart from a group of four Venetians, we were the only ones there. We meandered around, through little squares, and over bridges, with streams of gondolas passing below. Last time we had visited Venice, we had done the statutory gondola ride. As I recall, the gondola Howard had selected for me on that occasion not only had a gondolier navigating the canals, but a rather corny Italian at the other end of the gondola singing to us. When he got to the ‘Just One Cornetto’ tune, it was hard not to laugh. A shame, because I think the whole idea, is that the experience is supposed to be a romantic one, and not a comedy turn! So, on this occasion, we gave the gondola ride a miss, and just watched others paying their extortionate fees to have a ride.
We found a glorious square for lunch, washed down by a glass of wine. After that, we opted to utilise our 48 hour ‘do anything, go anywhere’ ticket, and like a couple of children, spent the next hour or so going up and down the Grand Canal in the vaporetto water taxis. At one point, we found ourselves across the lagoon in Lido, but the conductor just shrugged as everyone else alighted, and let us stay on board, and do the return trip back down the Grand Canal. Having sobered up sufficiently, we then continued to meander around the lesser known peripheries of the city.
A little later, we stopped for an ice-cream over the far side of the main island, sat in a cafe just along from where the water taxis where dropping tourists off. Howard was in his element – I couldn’t drag him away. He is developing a severe case of extreme people watching. He sits and invents whole life stories of these people who pass him by in just a few seconds. I know when he’s up to it, because he just smiles, or chortles quietly to himself. He even commented today that sitting where he was positioned was ‘better then watching TV’. It took an age to drag him away, but eventually he was persuaded to leave his ‘prime spot’ and explore a little more of this lovely city.
Our day ended sitting in St. Marks Square watching the sun go down. We both agreed that this is a very special place. Despite the crowds, Venice has a certain something that no other city can replicate. It’s architecture is stunning, the canals unique, and the whole feel of the place is just very magical. It will definitely not the last time we visit this glorious city, maybe even later at the end of the year – but for now, we have had our ‘fix’, and tomorrow we move on again. Somewhere north – Howard is checking out campsites, as I type! So much for us getting more organised – we are taking our trip planning here down to the wire!