If Venice is sinking, I'm going under!!!
Our adventures in Switzerland having come to a conclusion, just in time for a nap, we departed by train, bright and early, and travelled 503 kilometers to Venice, city of canals, gondola's and bridges.
Our stay in Venice, although short, was certainly worth the stop. Kim would later mark it as one of her favorites. I think we could have spent a week just wandering the seemingly endless and infinite number of streets, alleyways, bridges and corridors. Each one we crossed or ventured down opened up another hidden gem to this stunningly gorgeous seascape.
It happened by chance, while trying to cross one of these waterways, that we jumped on a water taxi thinking it would be a short trip across the canal to the dock on the opposite shore, when we realized we boarded the taxi heading in the opposite direction.
Best mistake we could have made!!!
Our $8 dollar boat ride took us around the entire island offering the best, most inexpensive sightseeing cruise around. We were able to see, up close, stunning views of some of the most spectacular Venetian architecture on display. The boat not only offered cover from the sun but also a constant breeze to help counter the 36 degree temperatures and ridiculous humidity that Venice had in store for us.
Our boat ride left us on the other side of the island at the head of the Grand Canal and a good distance from our hotel. We danced our way through the streets stopping for gelato and Aperol Spritz along the way whilst taking in all of the amazing sights of this republic, once a great maritime power during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. After a few hours of travel our dance slowed to a shuffle and we took refuse from the heat in a small restaurant that offered, in addition to their wonderful food, a welcome blast of air conditioning. We arrived back at our hotel and had time for a short rest after a long cool shower. I would definitely recommend travelling in a shoulder season when the temperatures are a little less intense and the crowds a little less numerous.
We ventured out around 10pm and found an entirely different Venetian vibe than what had transpired during the day. Our night time temperature was a pleasant 27 degrees, the breeze was cool and the crowds had thinned. We found a table on a lovely patio on the piazza's just around the corner from our hotel. There were musicians and street performer's intertwined with couples holding hands, families enjoying dinner and kids being kids. When the vendors started packing up around 2am, we figured we would pack it in as well.
The following morning was departure day for us but not before enjoying a lovely breakfast at the hotel and of course, we had to take a gondola ride. The young man that took us for a rip on the Grand Canal was so welcoming and such a treat. We were his first trip of the day and I am sure he was not expecting to have to ferry us around so early on arrival but he gave us a wonderful voyage and took us into some of the smaller canal passageways, expertly navigating other gondolas, low bridges and high speed vessels. His thoughtfulness was the icing on the cake of what was an amazing experience. Next time, we will stay longer.