Monday, April 29th – We couldn’t wait to finish breakfast and hit the streets (or canals) or Venice! It was raining while we were eating breakfast which was disappointing but by the time we got off the ship the rain had stopped and by the time we got the water taxi from the port to the city the skies had turned blue!
At first we walked around S Marco Piazzo (St. Mark’s Square). We didn’t spend much time there – there were so many people it could have been Time’s Square in New York on New Year’s Eve. It was too packed to be enjoyable. Hundreds of people were standing in the line to get into the basilica on the square – some had been waiting over an hour and were still standing in line!
And of course all the tourists attracted all the souvenir kiosks which were standing in the middle of St. Mark’s Square which made it even more crowded.
Everyone we talked to who had been there before agreed with Bill, it used to be nice to stroll around St. Mark’s Square but that was before Venice became a cruise ship port. Now thousands of tourists are brought in by the ships so it was shoulder-to-shoulder crowded. I think there were 3 cruise ships that in port that day.
St. Marks is known for having pigeons running all over the square. It was so crowded that even the pigeons were scarce unless you looked high on the buildings and statues – no where for them to land in the square. If I ever visit again I’ll make sure I’m there when there are no cruise ships in port!
Venice really is a city of canals! They run throughout the city – little arches with steps cross over all the narrow canals which are on every corner. When we asked for directions we were told, “turn left at the corner and cross over 3 bridges” or “Go straight across 4 bridges”. Some of the blocks were very short because the canals were so close together. As we crossed each of the bridges arched we could see each narrow canal running under the bridge and gondolas were everywhere.
Of course I wanted to ride on one of the gondolas and Bill was very sweet to arrange a gondola tour of the canals through the city for us. We saw Marco Polo’s house and the house where Cassanova lived from our gondola.