Travel Journal

Venice -- Rain makes the canals happy!

(Saturday 6 November 2010) by Mike and Julie's sort of round the world trip
Day 71-73 -- 10/15-17/10 Venice
Our luck on free highways ran out as most of the major highways are toll roads in Italy; however, we saved a lot of time going through the tunnels in the mountainous region of the north rather than driving on the regular highway. We pulled into the campground in the early afternoon. That’s right campground. The place was about 10 kilometers outside of Venice but with having a car it was the most economical choice. We had a small not-so-mobile home with our own bathroom which wasn’t too bad and the bus stop was right outside the camp. Eager to see Venice, we hopped on a bus that day and arrived about a half hour later.
With no set plan we really just wandered the street and bridges for a few hours before we made our way luckily back to the bus station and returned to the camp. It began raining that night and we were nice and dry inside the camper while the water began rising in Venice.
Weather was bad the next day with cold drizzle but we went back to Venice and caught the number 1 water taxi which travels the length of the great canal along most of the important sights. I braved the open section to take some photos, but as far as following the guidebook as we rode and noting the sights, forget it. It was too cold, wet and windy to do that. Julie was smart and stayed in the covered cabin rather than facing the elements.
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We got off at Piazza San Marco’s Square and were surprised to see the square was flooded.
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This must be common as the city had erected temporary elevated sidewalks to get the tourist around somewhat. Napoleon may have said the square was the “grandest drawing room in Europe” but they should have added a ceiling! We entered the Basilica di San Marco which was built to house the remains of St Mark. The exterior gleefully shows how the Venetians tricked the Egyptians smuggling the corpse by wrapping it in bacon. The interior is very gold but it was hard for me to enjoy it with chattering teeth.
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We stopped for some hot tea to warm up and then went next door to the Basilica to the Plazzo Ducale which was the political organ of the once vast Venetian empire. Because of the trade and large mercantile structure of Venice, it had its own convoluted laws (naval, civil, and criminal) to interpret and many councils to interpret several which meet in secret with vast powers. We wandered through several rooms and Julie got some pictures although it is verboten.
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The Bridge of Sighs was a short span that crossed a canal between the judgment room and the prison cells next door.
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Casanova was perhaps the most celebrated prisoner although I thought I read that Marco Polo spent some time there.
We spent the rest of the day dodging rain and window shopping and getting lost. I suppose that was part of the fun. You seldom ran into dead ends but the twist and turns made trying to travel in one direction a challenge. Back at camp, I took advantage of the laundry machine for my monthly machine washes to really get my clothes clean.
The next day we splurged and bought an all day pass which was good on the bus and water taxi for the day as we were planning to do some traveling to Murano island which would be cheaper with a day pass rather than paying for each leg. Getting to the Venice bus station we found the water taxi we needed and about forty-five minutes later we got to Murano with Julie surviving with her breakfast intact. We did some window shopping at the glass stores before stopping at the Museum of Glass which was disappointingly small.
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I can’t really recommend it especially with the time it took to travel there which was eating into our vacation time. Returning on the water taxi, we got off earlier than we originally planned because it was so slow going that we would make better time walking.
We stopped at the Rialto Market which the guidebook promised would have good places to pick up cheap eats but they eluded us. We did take another water taxi towards San Marco. Julie was toying with going to Gallerie dell’ Academia which I was going to pass on in order to go to the Museo Storico Navale as I have recently become interested in Naval history but Julie passed and we agreed to meet after I finished back at the Piazzo. I later discovered that I had added the Gallerie to my bucket list but didn’t check the list till after we left Venice. I also have Carnivale listed on the list so perhaps I will do both in the future.
The Museo was going to close in twenty minutes so I ended up passing on it and just admired the clipper ship
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they had docked outside. I just walked a bit down some of the smaller alleys before meeting Julie at the Piazzo.
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After a way too expensive lunch we just walked around a bit but on a water taxi back to the bus station, I remembered that Richard Wagner died at a casino here in Venice so we hopped off at Casino di Venezia where we snapped a few pictures.
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We got the bus back to the campsite and prepared to leave the next morning. I suppose Venice would have been more appealing if the weather had been better and we stayed in the city and avoided the high cost (they charge over a Euro to use bathrooms here). I guess I didn’t get the charm I was expecting from the city.

 


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