Our European Trip - 2005 travel blog

Canal in Venice

Another Canal in Venice

And again

San Giorgio Maggiore from the Doge's Palace

View along the Quay from the Doge's Palace

The day dawned gray and cool. We were up early - first in line for breakfast - then took off with Nan's case in tow just in time for the rain to start. We took the Vaporetto to Piazzale Roma where she took the bus to Marco Polo Airport for her flight to London and on to Edinburgh. The rain had stopped by the time we got to the bus. It was sad to see her go as we have really enjoyed our time discovering these new places together. The parting is softened by knowing we will see her again two weeks on Thursday before we leave for home.

After the bus left we walked by the canals through narrow streets and wide squares to the Academie Bridge and back to St. Mark's Square where we lined up for a tour of the Doge's Palace. Before we reached the square, the rain started again, this time quite seriously. It was good to get out of the rain and discover some of the history of Venice and function of the Doge in its government as we viewed the old building and the historical paintings inside, including the dungeons and Bridge of Sighs where prisoners were reputed to sigh as they saw Venice for the last time before being condemned to the darkness of the prison.

We had lunch at the cafe in the palace, where service was slow and erratic. It was amusing to see an episode of "Fawlty Towers" being acted out. It was the one where the American tourist expects John Cleese and Manuel to provide service, just like in Texas. In today's reenactment it was (predictably) an Englishman complaining about service just as his order was being delivered to his table.

It was still raining heavily when we came out, so we walked round to the hotel to dry out. As we approached the hotel, the square was crowded with what appeared to be local people, all waiting for tables at the restaurant next door. It is the first time we have seen it like this and, although it seemed late, we wondered if it was the post-Church crowd!

We rested for a bit, then discussed our options at some of the ports to be visited on our cruise.

We ventured out again and the rain came on again. We walked round some of the areas window shopping, then had dinner at a nearby restaurant. Again we enjoyed a very tasty meal. We really appreciate the prices in Edmonton after being here. We have been surprised that prices are quite so high in Venice. Not so much by the actual price, as the fact that it does not seem possible to get anything cheaper. The prices by the Square and the Rialto Bridge are steep, but all the prices further away are pretty comparable with each other and expensive.

It was still raining heavily, but we went to the Square and walked round under the colonnade past the restaurants where the dueling orchestras normally play. On Thursday night Nan felt sorry for one orchestra which had a very small audience. Tonight it was the only one fielding a full orchestra and the crowd, who all appeared to be local, or at least Italian, were highly enthusiastic. Instead of facing out to the square, the players were facing into the cafe and people were dancing on the pavement between the tables and the rain soaked square. The orchestra needed no pity tonight!

We walked out to the edge of the square where it meets the water and saw the water level close to that of the cobblestones. Large, low "tables" are kept round the square to be used as walkways in the event of flooding and some of these have been set up, so it looks as though flooding is expected. We hope we get away before it happens.

We returned to the hotel by some other streets we had not walked before and suddenly were surprised to find ourselves in an area we recognized. A typical serendipity of Venice.

Tomorrow's activity will depend on the weather. The hotel clerk indicated that rain was forecast for the rest of the week, but he hoped the forecasters were wrong.

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