Wow! What a great day. I was a little bummed yesterday. I just didn't have a lot of fun. I'm not sure why. I thought perhaps I'd been here too many times but now I'm sure that wasn't it. I felt a little puny - never identified a cause - and it was chilly and overcast much of the day. Who knows.
My past visits were always in June and the weather was much nicer. Well, today was a beautiful day and I decided I'd walk from the ship to St. Marks. I'm not sure how far it is but I know the Grand Canal (which goes about the same distance) is two miles long. Because the path I took through the city meandered somewhat I may have walked farther. I really didn't care. I was too busy being delighted by the beautiful and at times surprising sights along the way. I took about 100 pictures today. Most of them were postcard quality. It is hard to take a bad picture in Venice!
I woke up without an alarm around 8:30 AM. Slept like a log. Had breakfast on Lido and off I went.
The first part of the trip wasn't too beautiful. The port area is perhaps the only part of Venice which could be called ugly (at least in comparison to the rest of town). It took perhaps ten or fifteen minutes for me to find my way to the beautiful Venice. The first surprise was a small park. I remember seeing it on past visits but never went into it. Too much other stuff to see and do. Today I thought, "What the heck. I have no agenda. I wonder what a park in Venice looks like." Well, it was not very large but it was beautiful. Several postcards there.
Off toward St. Marks. The Venetians have a different way of naming streets so you don't try to use a map by street name. (I'm told several streets may have the same name and that the names change from time to time.) So the trick is to look up on the buildings for yellow signs which point the way to major attraction points (such as Piazza S. Marco). If you have an idea of the general location of these landmarks you can use them (or rather the signs pointing the way to them) to lead you to where you want to go.
On the way amid many beautiful photo ops I passed a Coop Market (think 7-11 grocery store but much smaller - two aisles only). I kept walking for a few yards and stopped. Lunch! I returned to the store to explore. I was curious about prices in such a store which was obviously not a tourist trap but was used by the locals. Nothing is cheap in Venice even for the locals but the prices were more reasonable than elsewhere. I bought some yogurt (the ship lately has had very little and most of it is not to my liking - low or no-fat or plain without fruit), some plastic spoons to eat it with and a few other items for later use (some Tic-Tacs and some Mentos, etc.). I had water in my napsack so I had yogurt and that was almost lunch. A stop in a bakery - there were a few along my path - provided me with a scone (chocolate chip variety - chocolate is one of the basic food groups I believe!) to eat as I walked along ... drinking the Coke I couldn't resist. I promised myself to eat better at dinner.
I'd like to say that the failure to resist temptation ended there but there was this candy store.... Well, I might run out of my stash of sweets before Ft. Lauderdale. I had to buy a couple more bags of candy just in case right? These are interesting ones. A hard caramel type candy sort of like a Werther's but it has a honey center. I've never seen any like it in the States but I don't go candy shopping often there. I do almost all my candy shopping in Europe and Asia dahling.... LOL.
After two hours of a really great walk I reached St. Marks Square (Oh, I saw two McDonalds along the way. What is Venice coming to?)
After lunch I started to walk again with no plan in mind and met a couple of shipmates who were going up in the clock tower. I had thought about doing it yesterday and passed thinking it wasn't worth the 8 Euros required for a view perhaps just a little higher than the one I had from the top of the ship on the sail-in yesterday. I decided to join them and I'm glad I did. The view was great. It was also fun to see the young people who went up too. The vewing area can hold perhaps 30 people at one time. After we had been there a bit the young ones showed up. Their enthusiasm as they jostled to crowd into pictures taken by their friends was a hoot. I took a few pics and listened to the audio guide I had rented for awhile and then descended.
After that I headed for the shuttle boat dock for a ride back to the ship. I decided to take a back way (I'm so cool I can do that you know...OK, I wasn't sure but I was in an adventurous mood and I had come 2 miles or more already...It also helped that I had an extra hour or so if I got lost.) Well, not only was I able to find the way but I also found a few more great pictures and surprises.
One surprise was a sort of fountain with bottled water, cocoanut pieces and cocoanut halves. The bottles were on the top level and the water was running down over the bottles, dripping on the cocoanut pieces and then dripping on the cocoanut halves. All of this to keep them cool I surmised. The funny note about this was the note. It read, "Please don't touch the water." Yes, it was in English, not Italian. What does that tell you about who needs to be told not to touch the water? People from non-english speaking countries apparently have enough common sense to realize that touching the water might contaminate the food (cocoanut). Duh! I'm embarrassed for my co-english speakers.
Another surprise was seeing lovely chandeliers hanging from the awning shading a sidewalk cafe. Chandeliers! Only in Venice!
I also photographed the Bridge of Sighs from the back side (not from the Grand Canal). Most people never see it from that side. Sadly, it doesn't look much different but hey! A new perspective is a new perspective right?
I finally returned to the ship for our sail-out party and dinner. I'm in love with Venice all over again. It is unique. Like Paris it is a city everyone should try to visit at least once.
The after dinner show was our ship dancers/singers and a new comedian, Al Brown. It was pretty good.
Well, it is after 11 PM and I need to shower and sleep before an 8:45 AM tour tomorrow. Gotta go.