On the day of my birthday, I chose to purchase a 9-hour guided walking tour of the City of Venice, which as everyone knows is made of up 188 islands and 432 bridges. I am sure I walked every single island and crossed each and every bridge!
Of course, San Marco Square, the location of the renown St. Marks Cathedral and the Doge Palace with it's two pillars supporting the symbol of Venice, a winged lion, and Poseidon with his staff, are the main center of 'tourist Venice.' Hundreds upon thousand of tourists from around-the-world, school groups, solo travelers, all throng to see the magnificent architecture and marvel at palaces built literally on water - with the tides rising and falling and coming right inside the front doors!! The general consensus is that the entire place will sink within an other 100 years! - especially since their last mayor made off with over a billion euros that was designated to shoring up the crumbling intrastructure!
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I stayed in a lovely little AirBnB on the mainland which was a very easy 20-minute bus ride each day into the Centre. I took a long boat ride around the Grand Canal, ate fabulous pasta accompanied by red wine, was serenaded, flirted with, got lost - which is my favorite thing to do in a new city - and had very sore feet by the end of each day.
Here are just a few of the wonderful sites I saw....
Carnival MasksStatues on top of The Doge Palace
Just one of the magnificent ceiling in the Doge Palace
Gondoliers getting ready to go to work
The Riallto Bridge
A Doge in his very weird hat!
After 3 days in Venice it was time to take my first European coach ride - 16 hours to the south of France.. The bus ride was like riding with a United National delegation all speaking at the same time in different languages on their phones. But it really was comfortable, not crowded, very reasonable, and they stopped lots of time for food and stretching and potty breaks. Will certainly travel this way again. I am spending the next week or so living on a 110-year-old barge on the Canal du Midi, just a bit north of the Mediterranean Sea. The weather is perfect and boat life is so much fun!
Until next time....