Friday, 29 May 2009

The Canals of Venice

Venice 3 May 2009. We walk from St Mark's Square towards the Rialto Bridge, through narrow alleyways, crowded shopping streets and small piazzas, squares with just a narrow doorway as an exit. Almost always you can find small signs saying "Rialto" or "S. Marco" to guide you as to which way to go.

You come into a small square with exits almost hidden away in a corner and as soon as you find your way, you find yourself on a bridge over one of the many canals.

Gondolas weave in and out of other traffic on the canals and tend to stay close to the walls of buildings so that gondoliers can "scoot" along using a foot. The buildings on either side make the canals a contrasty mix of light and shadow.

The Rialto Bridge. We found it safe and sound without the aid of a map, though not without Fran casting doubt on my navigation at one point!

It was extremely hot. We spotted a slush machine - fruity ice and I nipped into the shop. "Due granitas, per favori," I said confidently. Hey!! I got it right too! In the heat, the ice drinks were delicious. I've always thought you can get a long way and make people more inclined to help if you can count to five, say please and thank you, including thank you very much for extra brownie points, know left and right and know what basic foodstuffs are called. Which is fine if I'm in a french, german or italian-speaking country and I'm almost there with my spanish. But on this holiday, croatian and greek would be good!

We spend a bit of time at and near the bridge before making our way back through the alleyways, piazzas and canals towards St Marks Square and the waterfront. We pass one of many glassware shops with some glass penguins and Fran prompts me to take a photo (it's on the Flickr site). Unknown to me the shopkeeper is standing next to me, enjoying a cigarrette. Luckily he is quite amused and nods quite amiably at us and shares our laughter at being found out!

We wander along the waterfront back to our rendezvous point for the shuttle boat. We have a look around a couple of shops looking for some souvenirs to take back and wait as a party of Japanese file onto a boat for a lagoon cruise. Our shuttle boat is forced to wait whilst they embark and then we set off back towards the Ocean Village II.

It had a service boat alongside which I jokingly called the "shit ship", but I've no idea really what it was taking off, or loading on, for that matter! I apologise unreservedly to the crew!

It was late afternoon. The sun is starting to slide down the sky. The sail out will be against the backdrop of Venice seen under the rich colours and shadows of sunset. Next entry, though will be a look at some of the cruise ships next to us in the docks.

Large versions of the photos: canal, Rialto Bridge, waterfront, Ocean Village II

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