Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Venice is made up of 118 islands (small) and 400 bridges that now tie the island together. There are 6 districts known as sestieri, three on each side of the canal grande (grand canal). San Marco, Castello, Cannaregio, Dorsoduro, Santa Croce and San Polo.

We flew into Marco Polo airport about 7km north of Venice on the edge of the lagoon. Then we walked down a long covered sidewalk to the docks to find our water bus called the Alilaguna which took an hour to reach the San Marco stop.

The water bus ride on the way back was packed and we kept going even in the thunder and lighting. I guess they never heard that you shouldn’t be on the water during lighting. When we got off and had to wait for them to unload our luggage we were standing on a metal dock. The good news is that they don’t fly in the lighting and we were delayed an hour.

First stop…Piazza San Marco. They say St. Mark’s Square is the world’s most beautiful public square. I don’t agree with them, even if I had put my glasses on I would still have to say the Grande Place in Brussels is 10 times better. (the whole square is like the buildings behind me)

The square is full of café’s, shops, tourist and flocks of pigeons. The crazy pigeons were landing on everyone but me!! Foxy loved chasing them, but one didn’t move when she charged it and I had to pull her back less than a ½ inch before she ran into it. I can’t even imagine what would have happened then.

At the end of the square is the Basilica di San Marco. It is the third church built on the site, and dates from the 11th century.

Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) is between the Basilica di San Marco and St. Marks basin.

It was the residence of the doge and also the governing councils, law courts and a prison. Outside the building you see columns where folk lore has it the two reddish columns on the upper arcade were red by blood of tortured corpses that were hung there for public to see. (in the photo about 8 columns over from the left you can see the red ones)

The square and surrounding area are packed with tourist. (you can tell by the tags lots of group tours going through - the people from the cruise ships looked like they were going to Disney World not Venice) (you are looking towards the water and the land in the distance is another island)

Best to view early in the morning (before 10:00) or evening (after 7:30). This is when the loads of tourist either head back to the cruise ship or back to the surrounding islands for the night. Also at night in the square there are bands playing in front of the café’s that echo in the square. The music is perfect for dancing under the moonlight. (But foxy doesn’t approve of her mom & dad dancing)

My favorite part was in the mornings taking Foxy out at 6:00 (sometimes earlier) and there was nobody around just absolute still and quite. There was a strange calming sense around. It was nice being there for 4 days and not seeing one car! (Cars are not allowed on the islands or surrounding islands)

Check back for more venice...i'm doing posting in parts so it isn't one big long story.

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