We would spend the last day of May in the mythical city of Venice. We are now well into the second part of our trip -Italy- a good place to reflect and take the time to breath in all the magical places we were privilege to visit. I know I don't have to try to sell this crowd, but for those of you that are thinking about about a long bike trip, start talking and get planing, until you reach that point of no return and you can let yourself be carried by the wave of things to come. I don't believe trips are ever about time and money, their just about making choices, in our world of instant gratification its sometimes hard to see how those choices will payback in the future. This adventure is for us the most amazing thing we've done yet, but as so many before us all it has really succeeded in doing is setting the stage for things to come.
Over there to the left, there she is.
Ponte della Liberta, would take us as close to the city as possible with anything on wheels.
The great thing about riding is the ease of finding parking space. This said, as we arrived at the last parking space possible in Piazzale Roma, ST was again the fattest gal on wheels, and it took a lot of maneuvering until we felt she would be happy to wait for us for the whole day.
We parked just next to the bus terminal were the "F" points to on the map.
And off we went.
Recorded, or known history dates Venice as early as 150 AC, however there are no historical records that deal with the origins of the city.
To many visitors, it is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Build on more then a 100 small islands, the city of water stands at the north of Italy on the coast of the Adriatic. Despite its fairly small size (412 km2) and a population of just 271000, it’s a complicated place to get around in.
But the mail still gets there on time.
The streets are very narrow, some less then 2 meters wide, with building 4 to 6 stories high, and many many bridges, and narrow canals make it very confusing to walkabout.
Undoubtedly it's part of its charm, and we had great fun getting lost, and not finding our way. Once you stray away from the Grand Canal it quickly becomes confusing to know where you are in the city.
Comparing notes with other tourists just adds to the confusion. To put it in perspective, Venice has a 150 canals, and 409 bridges.
No wonder we got lost a lot. What was also a bit disconcerting (in terms of landmark) is the abundance of Murano glass jewelry stores, and boutiques-workshops selling masks, all having more or less similar displays in their windows.
Yes yes I know where we are... ask for direction! Why would I do that? I don't know where to go
The only remedy to this confusion other then an aspirin was to get on the Vaporetto. The Vaporetto is the water bus that allow you to get around the city of bridges, and let someone else do the thinking.
Yes the city is quite beautiful, and being in Piazza San Marco was extraordinary, magical. Venice was crowded with tourist, and at the end of the day we were, if somewhat melancholic, glad the visit was done.
What I personally found the most extraordinary about Venice is its absence of anything on wheels. There are no cars, no scooters or motorbikes, and no bicycles. To get around in Venice you either walk, or take some kind of floating device, hence there are no sidewalks, or better there are only sidewalks, the entire city is pedestrian only. To me that was truly special.
For those of you who have not been to Venice, don’t take that statement lightly, it is actually quite something to be in a fully functional city without seeing anything on wheels, no road signs, no lights, no stops, no noise. no traffic (there is a bit of noise pollution from boats), but nowhere near as loud as any busy downtown street of any city in the world. It was posted in several places to please walk as you would drive (on the right side of the street) and to avoid stopping on bridges. Nice advice, but from the number of people that were perched on the Ponte Rialto, easier said then done.
The city is also quite romantic, the gondolas, the piazzas, the small secret corners... As Charles Aznavour sings in if famous "Venise au temps des Amours morts", it must truly be a hearth-wrenching experience to be alone in Venice, on a rainy afternoon thinking about the one that does not share your love for them.
Indeed quite a romantic place
Jackie was having a good day.
She found some friendly critters.
The cathedral was another beauty, time to start to tally how the Italians will fare against the Spaniards in the Cathedral contest.
Saint Mark would get a high mark.
And the arches.
From this side
The famous clock of St Mark, most known in the world after Big Ben, one of the outstanding characteristic of the mechanism is the astronomical indications.
Watching the sun set over the canals and lighting the building from a westerly angle was truly mesmerizing.
As you would expect Venetians have, like most Italians, a lot of style, and more than anywhere else in our trip so far, tourist were the easiest to spot here. It was quite neat to watch people leaving the opera house, or just sitting in cafés, you could instantly identify the locals. Thinking about locals, I wondered how difficult it would be to live in a city that is so small, and constantly overrun by visitors, indeed something to be proud of, but at times they must get on your nerves.
Looking at the Venetians strolling their amazing mazed city, going about their business, they appeared to be quite content and unbothered by their surroundings.
A quick note on style, if you want something really nice, be prepared to pay. We saw in the window shop of a designer who’s name we were not familiar with, not that I would know much about designer names anyways, a purse that would set you back € 4700.00, add € 1800.00 for the shoes, and € 475.00 for the gloves, and you have the beginning of a very nice ensemble. You will need to add a few more thousands for a skirt, belt, and shirt. Then, step next door to complete everything with a nice negligee for just under € 700.00. Nice if you can afford it.
Indeed Jackie was having a great day.
Thank you Venice for sharing your magic with us, truly wonderful day in a magical place.
Tomorrow we rest and spend the day around Padova, time to get ready for Tuscany....