Venice 18th March 2008
Venice Travel Blog› entry 2 of 5 › view all entries
Waking early Tuesday morning, Ann and I had a cup of tea, which as it was her birthday I made, while Ann opened her many cards. Sue and Eddie duly arrived in our room and Ann opened her presents. We enjoyed a very nice buffet breakfast, there is something special about hotel breakfasts, after which we ventured out of the hotel to catch the hotel launch to the main island of Venice. This crossing was interesting in itself as there are an enormous number of craft on the water. At first it is diificult to appreciate that everything from building materials to hotel, restaurant and shop commodities and of course people all have to be transported by boat. In addition, cruise ships and large car ferries also travel along the Giudecca Canal to the port area, so it is busy indeed.
Arriving on the main island, we decided that we would join a very large queue, which I must say moved quite quickly, to go inside the Doge's Palace. The Palazzo Ducale was not only the central building of Venice but also the home of the Doge. In the early part of Venices' development, the Doge was the figurehead of the many councils ruling the city and the Palace housed him, the law courts and even the prison. We found the visit extremely interesting, there being many beautiful rooms containing many wonderful paintings but no furniture. We even crossed the Bridge of Sighs, into the prison next door which was very imposing and gave a good insight into prison conditions centuries gone by. We left there thinking that perhaps the prisons of today should be of a similar nature and not a form of hotel, at least it would prevent over crowding.
From the Doge's Palace we went into St Mark's Square - the Piazza San Marco - which is a most imposing area. We decided to have a coffee and then decided very quickly not to, having learnt that for the same price of one cup, we could buy ten in either Portsmouth or Southampton. We did however have a rest and took in the sight of the many visitors and the superb surrounding buildings. Having rested, we walked through the numerous alley ways and crossed many bridges over canals, until we reached the Rialto Bridge - Ponte di Rialto. This bridge crosses the Grand Canal - Canal Grande - and offers fine views of the water traffic on the canal, both boats and gondolas. The bridge has two rows of shops, which were originally houses, on it and is a must for visitors to Venice. Continuing with our walk, stopping at regular intervals for Ann and Sue to enter the many and various delightful shops that are present in Venice, we made our way back to St. Mark's Square. There are also many "streets" and squares which contain stalls selling items which I must say gained mine and Eddies interest. Having walked for most of the day, we eventually arrived back at the pier and after a short wait, boarded the hotel launch back to our lovely but temporary home. On our travels we had purchased some local wine, which we consumed in our room.