Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 – Venice, Italy – Sunny – low 60s

Distance from Ravenna to Venice: 94 Nautical Miles

Total Voyage: 960 Nautical Miles

Venice, a city of about 250,000 people sits on a group of 117 islands in a shallow lagoon. About 400 bridges connect the various islands and the main form of transport involves water vehicles.

The sail into Venice was spectacular and narrated by Tony from the bridge. The Sail In took us past several churches and finally past Piazza San Marco (St. Marks Square), the main attraction in Venice.

Venice Sail In 3 (Small)

The Bell Tower of Piazza San Marco in the distance

Venice Sail In - San Marco Plaza (Small)

Sailing through the Grand Canal

San Marco Plaza 1 (Small)

Piazza San Marco

The ship passed the Bridge of Sighs, the bridge prisoners had to cross from the Doge's Palace (where prisoners received their sentences) to the old prisons (for execution or incarceration).

Bridge of Sighs (Small)

The Bridge of Sighs

The Quest is scheduled to dock at the Marittima Cruise Terminal. There are only two ships there today – The Quest and the Crystal Serenity (much bigger than the Quest). This should mean fewer tourists in town and in Piazza San Marco. Another small, local ship is also docked nearby.

Nearing Maritimme Sea Port (Small)

Nearing Marittima Sea Port

Since we had no tours today and there was no shuttle bus to take us a central location in Venice, we put together a plan to see the city on our own. We would a) take the “People Mover” train from the Port to Piazza del Roma; b) buy two round trip tickets on the Vaporetto water taxi, which would take us to Piazza San Marco; c) from there we would walk around the city.

We did a) and b) but I was pretty sure that we could walk to the Ghetto from Piazza San Marco (it looked close on the map). It turned out that the Ghetto was only a bridge or two away from P. de Roma.

Piazza Del Roma (Small)

Piazza Del Roma (Vaporetto Station)

Bridge to the Ghetto (Small)

Bridge leading to the Ghetto

A sign pointed the way to the Ghetto of Venice. This was the first Jewish Ghetto and gave the name to all of the ghettos in history. The word "Ghetto" comes from "gettare", which means to cast - like casting metal. There was a foundry on the sites near the present Campo del Ghetto. Jews came to Italy and settled in the Ghetto area after fleeing the Inquisition in 1492.

Sign for the Ghetto (Small)

Sign pointing way to the Ghetto

This ghetto consisted of narrow streets, a few Judaica shops, synagogues, a Jewish Museum, a large Square, and a Kosher Meat Restaurant (too pricey to eat at). There are five synagogues in the Ghetto area.

Ghetto (Small)

Ghetto Street

Plaque in Ghetto (Small)

Memorial to previous residents of the Ghetto

Ghetto Street (Small)

Stores in the Ghetto

Piazza in Ghetto (Small)

The Ghetto Piazza

Holocaust memorial plaques (Small)

Holocaust Memorial Plaques

H and the Ghetto (Small)

Piazza in Ghetto 1 (Small)

The Square from the other side

Of the five synagogues in the Ghetto complex, the oldest is the German Synagogue which was built in 1528. This synagogue is now the Jewish Museum.

Jewish Museum Ghetto (Small)

Ellen at the Jewish Museum

Bridge connecting Ghetto (Small)

Bridge leading away from the Ghetto

We had lunch (courtesy of the ship) in one the squares – I could get WiFi there and could get and received messages but no internet. After lunch, we set out to find the only McDonalds in Venice (according to their sign). We though it was only a few meters away but according to one person we asked - “four bridges down”.

We did find the McDonalds and it had free Wi-Fi and internet capability. I was able to get seats on both British Air Flights for tomorrow. I had been worried about the seats since we got these flights but BA had a mobile site and I did it all on my phone. I got a Cono for 1 Euro and we set off for Piazza San Marco.

We were both a bit peeved that we had been told that all of these sites were not walkable. We had walked the length and breadth of Rome so Venice should not be a problem.

The city uses signs to point the way to the various sites and the one for P. San Marco led us down narrow streets and across many bridges. We saw lots of sites along the way.

Gondolas (Small)

Gondolas parked on the canal

We did not see a lot of gondolas in action – perhaps it was too chilly a day for a ride of one the open air boats. We did see a lot of gondoliers in their striped shirts and funny hats.

On our way to McDs (Small)

We even saw “Occupy Venice” protestors – not many but enough to block that street leading to the Grand Canal (below).

Occupy Venice Protestors (Small) Nearing Piazza San Marco (Small)

Beautiful bridge near P. San Marco

We finally turned the last corner and we were in one of the most famous squares in the world – Piazza San Marco. The square, which is enormous, contains the Bell Tower, the Clock Tower, the Doge's Palace, and St. Marks Basilica. The street level of the baroque style palace are filled with high end shop and eateries. The Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace) stands next to the Basilica and was the main government building and the home of the Doges.

Bell Tower (Small)

The Bell Tower

Shop at the Doges Palace (Small)

Section of the Doges Palace and Shops

St. Marks Basilica is a an example of Byzantine architecture. It was built in 830 as a chapel for the Doges. The current structure is from the 11th Century.

St. Marks Basilica 11th century (Small)

St. Marks Basilica

The Clock Tower contains a regular clock, a digital clock (yes, really), and a zodiacal clock. No way you can’t know what time it is.

The Clock Tower (Small)

The Clock Tower

Basilica Columns (Small) Basilica (Small)

Basilica (columns – top; facade – bottom)

VPiazza SanMarco from Grand Canal 1 (Small)

Piazza San Marco from the Grand Canal shore

Walking along the Grand Canal provided great views of some of the buildings lining the waterway. The Grand Canal is about 2 miles long and lined with marble palaces dating back to the 12th through 18th centuries.

XXXX from P San Marco (Small)

The Grand Canal from Piazza San Marco

H and E P San Marco (Small)

We are at the Grand Canal of Venice

Earthquakes have shaken the city of Venice many times in the past resulting in some of the bell towers leaning a bit from vertical (hard to see below but the tower was leaning)

Clocktower Jaunty angle (Small)

It is hard to find workable washrooms in Venice so you have buy something at one of the coffee shops to use their facilities. It this case, a 2 Euro Cafe Americano.

Coffee on the Grand Canal (Small)

Ellen had the terrific idea of riding the Vaporettos around their entire route (we did after all buy those tickets). We hopped one of the water taxis and we were off.

Heading on on the Vaporetto (Small) On the Grand Canal (Small)

Views from the Vaporetto

After making about 10 stops – the water taxi only stops for a minute or two at each stop so you better hop on or be left behind. We got off at Murano, one of the islands and famous for Murano glass. We walked along the canal streets and checked out some of the shops (very pricey).

E on Murano (Small)

Ellen on Murano Island

Vaporetto Station (Small)

A Vaporetto Station (a subway station on water)

An interesting stop on the way home is the Cemetery Island (below).

Cemetery Island (Small)

We got back to P. de Roma after dark and got back to the ship shortly after that. I got a great picture of the Quest all lit up.

2011-11-16 Quest docked in Venice (Small)

We had dinner in the Dining room and it was a fine meal for the last night – Spring Rolls, Halibut, a nice salad.

The Farewell Show again featured Lelani Marrell – a nice performance.

2011-11-16 Lelani Marrell (Small)

We did finally get a chance to really see Venice.

Bags are in the hallway – the cruise is just about over.

Pedometer: 11146 steps; 5.28 miles; 546 calories

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