Venice was the starting port of our European cruise.
We arrived to overcast skies and cool temperatures. What happened to the forecast for sunny and warm weather? Since it was starting to drizzle, we decided to drop off the luggage instead of paying to store it and then we ventured out to explore.
We took the people mover back to Piazzale Roma and then started walking over the first of many bridges in Venice. The people mover is a way to get from the ship back to Piazzale Roma, for only one Euro. We started roaming the streets, heading in the direction of St Mark’s Square, enjoying the beautiful views along the way.
At first, I really enjoyed the bridges, but you only walk a short distance before you had to cross another bridge. It’s very hard on the knees.
We were window shopping when I finally spotted a Coop. A Coop is a grocery store in Italy. It was not what I was expecting to see. I had read about the Coop but did not know what I was looking for. It’s very easy to miss. There is a sign that says Coop. That’s it. You would walk right by it as it does not look like a grocery store until you get inside. We stopped off for bottled water and drinks for our room then continued on our way.
Even though the weather was not very nice, there were plenty of people out exploring. We saw the Rialto Bridge as we made our way to St Mark’s Square. There were plenty of places to eat, but we wanted gelato. That would be our first of many gelatos of our trip.
It was getting late and our body was shutting down from being up so long due to the time change, so we called it a day and headed back to the ship to crash for the night.
The next day we decided to take the #1 water taxi to St Mark’s Square down the Grand Canal. This was a recommendation from Rick Steve’s book. I left my copy of Rick’s book back in the room. So I was not really sure what we were looking at, but it was still worth the 7 Euros per person. The houses and palaces were beautiful. You get a different view from the boat then when walking.
There are a lot of boats on the canal. There were boats transporting food and supplies, water taxis, private boats, gondolas, etc. The canal was always busy. This is the main mode of transportation in Venice. It is truly something to see.
If you have your heart set on a gondola ride you can easily find them, as they were everywhere. I felt like we got a better deal riding the water taxi from one end of the canal to the other, then spending 80 Euros on a gondola ride. On some of the back streets, you would see the gondolas lined up and follow each other through the back canals. The men would be singing as they kicked the wall with their foot in order to not hit the wall, as the canals were narrow with that many boats traveling through.
After arriving in St Mark’s Square, we opted to walk parallel to the water to explore. You could see why things flood during high tide or heavy rains, as the water is right there. After walking in one direction, we turned around and headed back to St Mark’s Square. By this time the tours had arrived and the area was quite crowded. The line to get into the church was really long. Walking around the square, there are plenty of places to eat and shop. The shops along the square are very small. There is not much space inside and only a few people could be inside at a time. You had to watch that you did not break any of the murano glass on display.
We were getting hungry so we elected to find a place that was recommended on Trip Advisor called Pasta To Go. It’s a lot cheaper to eat off the beaten path. This place was hard to find but after asking around they finally guided us down a narrow alley. We arrived before it opened and people were already waiting in line. There are only a couple of places to sit inside. We were lucky my husband grabbed a seat while I ordered lunch. After we ate, we headed back to the square which by that time was flooding. The Italians are used to the flooding and had on their rain boots to walk through all the water. It started to rain again so we decided to return to the boat.
With our limited time in Venice and the bad weather, we would like to return and see more of Venice. To see the way the Venetians live, it is totally different than what we are used to. Walking the narrow streets and crossing over multiple bridges to get to your destination instead of driving everywhere is foreign to us. To have the sea water lapping at your front door is quite a view to see.