What a city! No movie, book, painting, or even picture can prepare you for this magical adventure. And to think we had two days here! This was truly a top highlight of the trip. Venice is the source of the Tiber River and it runs all the way down to Rome. Venice is really a group of over 100 islands. Many are connected by bridges and transportation is by water taxi or the touristy gondola. We did lots of walking along narrow paths and over walking bridges.
We began our journey via water taxi to get a feel for the big island of Venice then took a gondola ride through several smaller streets. You were able to see the decay and sinking of homes up close. As many as 3 and 4 steps to front doors were underwater. Building foundations themselves sit atop thousands of narrow poles set close together and sunk into the water. The mud settles around the poles thus ‘cementing’ them in place on the murky bottom.
Gondoliers used long poles and their bodies to guide the long boats through the narrow canals/streets. Did you know that gondolas cannot roll? Comforting thought! We were serenaded by a wonderful singer and accordionist. Trafalger did a nice job of preparing this part of the tour. We would be on our own the next day, so the overview was nice.
Cruising along the Grand Canal and going under the famous Rialto Bridge was an adventure in itself. The Canal is lined with upscale eateries and grand palaces. Rick Steves’ says in his Pocket Travel book that Venice is “Europe’s best preserved medieval city–slowly rotting.
A funny site we saw was that church towers were all leaning because of their weight. A silt bottom isn’t exactly a sturdy foundation for a tall narrow tower! This brought us to the end of Day 1 in Venice and we couldn’t wait for the next morning to take off on our own and explore these amazing islands.
Our trip is half over, but there is much more to share with you. Finish the series; you won’t be disappointed!