Day 8 – Venice

May 1, 2010 in ITALY,Mediterranean | Comments (3)

Tags: , ,

Picture 1 of 19

We cruised into Venice cruise port at 9am. Logistics dominated day 8. But we succeeded in managing a visit to Piazza San Marco by refusing the advice of the girls at Reception.

They told me I had to be on the transfer at 1230 from the port to get my flight at 1710 (almost no time in Venice). Fortunately I got a second opinion. The tour desk tried various diagnoses of the situation and finally came to a remedy. Tour VCE03 would get us back for the 2pm transfer which would absolutely, for sure, get to the airport by 3pm – more than two hours before departure. That would be 3 hrs 30 mins in Venice plus charming boat transfers to and from the port.

VCE03 – St Marks’ Square and airport transfer.

And so we got to see the simply marvelous city. The totally fabulous city. Its domes and towers rose above the floods of people off the cruise boats and local Venetians enjoying the public holiday of First May. Above the confusion of people in St Mark’s square and stands selling T-shirts or Venetian masks, the basilica of St Mark rose ebulliently, flambouyantly, opulently, making an intricate skyline.

Built in the 9th century, it was added to in different centuries (mostly the 14th), so it is a mix of Byzantine and Gothic, with sculptings and sculptures, arches,  mosaics, domes and pillars. Much just stolen or taken from other cultures further East. Sometimes it went the other way round – the horses for example were taken by Napoleon and later returned to Venice.

The Golden church is indeed gold. Its mosaics so glittering so impressive, looping into the curves and domes. We took some photos before we discovered we should not.

After that feast of Venice treasures we wandered down a side street and met a gondola station in a canal. Didn’t take much to persuade us to take a  ride for 60 euros. We have no idea whether we bargained ourselves down or up.

The willing or too willing guide was told we wanted silence. We have been on a boat with too much noise. Now we want it quiet I said to his apparent dismay. I think he loves guiding. So we said ok just tell us a few things when we see the sights. It was as we dreamed – or better. A sunny day, green glistening water, quiet backways, a little mossy and crumbly – plenty of beautiful arched bridges, and some other gondolas passing by – one with a singer standing and delivering Italian songs. Because of the quiet moments and lack of people it actually felt less touristy – though its obviously the most touristy thing you can do in Venice. Our guide was very happy when his one item of information got us pointing and taking pictures just like proper tourists – it was the home of Cassanova. And our history did include that gentleman.

Next we called on Luna Baglioni hotel, where I had arranged to look and take pictures. This is the first hotel in Venice, and a stop during the crusades. Its in a charming spot, on a side canal, with its own gondola stop. And it is saturated in history and Venetian romance, with old Venetian garments on display, and the perfect combination of wallpaper, chandeliers, flowers, furniture – presenting the classic romantic Venice.

And then some shopping. Aleah bought a load of masks – apparently all made on the islands of Venice.

Back to logistics. We met our transfer on the quay at 1.30, got to our bus transfer via a nice boat ride at 2.00, and to the aiport at 2.45.

The only sad thing was we met our Swedes who had a wasted day, sitting at port and airport…

This is biggest complaint I have about MSC.

We cruised into Venice cruise port at 9am. Logistics dominated day 8. We succeeded in managing a visit to Venice by refusing the advice of the girls at Reception. The other Swedes at our table sadly failed to get into the marvelous city, and spent the 7 hours after arrival at the boring port or in the airport. They were not even allowed to stay on the boat. Cruel, truly cruel!  Most had chosen that cruise because it included Venice.

Reception told me I had to be on the transfer at 1230 to get my flight at 1710. As it was a public holiday, they said, the 2pm transfer would not get us there in time. One would perhaps have an hour in the city of Venice. A kind girl at Reception told me that if I really cared about getting to Venice I should leave my luggage in the port, take the shuttle to the railway station and then boat to St Mark’s square. On return to port – should take a taxi to the airport.

Fortunately I got a second opinion. The tour desk tried various diagnoses of the situation and finally came to a remedy. Tour VCE03 would get us back for the 2pm transfer which would absolutely, for sure, get to the airport by 3pm – more than two hours before departure. That would be 3 hrs 30 mins in Venice plus charming boat transfers to and from the port.

VCE03 – St Marks’ Square and airport transfer.

And so we got to see the simply marvelous city. The totally fabulous city. Its domes and towers rose above the floods of people off the cruise boats and local Venetians enjoying the public holiday of First May. Above the confusion of people in St Mark’s square and stands selling T-shirts or Venetian masks, the basilica of St Mark rose ebulliently, flambouyantly, opulently, making an intricate skyline.

Built in the 9th century, it was added to in different centuries (mostly the 14th), so it is a mix of Byzantine and Gothic, with sculptings and sculptures, arches,  mosaics, domes and pillars. Much just stolen or taken from other cultures further East. Sometimes it went the other way round – the horses for example were taken by Napoleon and later returned to Venice.

The Golden church is indeed gold. Its mosaics so glittering so impressive, looping into the curves and domes. We took some photos before we discovered we should not.

After that feast of Venice treasures we wandered down a side street and met a gondola station in a canal. Didn’t take much to persuade us to take a  ride for 60 euros. We have no idea whether we bargained ourselves down or up.

The willing or too willing guide was told we wanted silence. We have been on a boat with too much noise. Now we want it quiet I said to his apparent dismay. I think he loves guiding. So we said ok just tell us a few things when we see the sights. It was as we dreamed – or better. A sunny day, green glistening water, quiet backways, a little mossy and crumbly – plenty of beautiful arched bridges, and some other gondolas passing by – one with a singer standing and delivering Italian songs. Because of the quiet moments and lack of people it actually felt less touristy – though its obviously the most touristy thing you can do in Venice. Our guide was very happy when his one item of information got us pointing and taking pictures just like proper tourists – it was the home of Cassanova. And our history did include that gentleman.

Next we called on Luna Baglioni hotel, where I had arranged to look and take pictures. This is the first hotel in Venice, and a stop during the crusades. Its in a charming spot, on a side canal, with its own gondola stop. And it is saturated in history and Venetian romance, with old Venetian garments on display, and the perfect combination of wallpaper, chandeliers, flowers, furniture – presenting the classic romantic Venice.

And then some shopping. Aleah bought a load of masks – apparently all made on the islands of Venice.

Back to logistics. We met our transfer on the quay at 1.30, got to our bus transfer via a nice boat ride at 2.00, and to the aiport at 2.45.

The only sad thing was we met our Swedes who had a wasted day, sitting at port and airport…They weren’t even allowed to stay on the boat as they had been promised and were forced to take an early transfer. So they missed Venice. This is biggest complaint I have about MSC.

Still – thanks to their tour desk we had the most perfect day in Venice -and got home safely, well fed and saturated with impressions and experiences….