Dear Diary, forgive me I have not made entries for some days now – too busy just soaking up the atmosphere of the last part of our Italian Treasures tour.
Bus Trip to Venice!
A long day’s coach trip from Cinque Terre through Parma then on to Venice gave us plenty of time to catch up on our Nanna naps – a much needed pastime after the flurry of tourist tasks so far in Italy. It’s hard work you realise, just keeping up with the guided tours, the eating and socialising! We are really looking forward to the beauty of Venice and the group are keen to catch their first glimpse of the floating lands as we cross the sea on board the coach! We notice that things have progressed since last I was here – a new tram line is being constructed – this will improve the transport to Venice from the mainline – affording choices between Coach, Train or Tram.
When we alight from the coach we then board the waiting water taxis, 8 by 8, and are transported to the canal entrance to our hotel near San Marco (St Marks Square) and get our room allocations. No view from our windows this time, but the room is well appointed. (Note to Italian Hotels – can you please just provide a jug for boiling water, we Aussies like to make our own tea.)
Time for a quick stroll to San Marco at night after dinner to sample the atmosphere and listen to the 3 small orchestras playing And to view the many gondolas lined up ready for the the next day’s tourists. We opted to view the gondolas and gondolieri from a distance – but this one could have been us!
Our morning tour takes in the Doges Palace and we are gobsmacked by the opulence inside – the sheer size and brilliance of this 1000 year old museum of art treasures reminds us of the power of the Doge (the King) over the centuries. The gigantic painted canvases on every wall and on every part of the ceilings transports us to a different cultural experience where the history of Venice is depicted in painted stories. Amazing!
We are advised to “go and get lost in Venice” during our free time and this we faithfully do! The yellow signs directing us “per San Marco” help us to return to the hotel. Did you know that there are 400 bridges in Venice? Do you know why the bridge outside the Palace is called the Bridge of Sighs? It is so called because it was the last glimpse that convicted felons were to see on being incarcerated in the prisons below the Doge’s Palace!
Dinner on our final stay in Venice was fun – we were wined and dined in an upstairs section of a local restaurant sporting a glass ceiling! Many more stories of our Venetian stay were swapped with our new friends on the tour – and we were eager now to travel into Austria and prepare for ‘stage two’ of our holiday – 2 weeks sailing on the MV Johann Strauss from Budapest to Amsterdam!
Ciao to Italy! Guten Morgan to Europe!