Week 6: Part 1: Day 34 & 35
15th January, 2017 – 16th January, 2017
Graham and Prunella had last visited Venice in 2000 whilst on their 14 month honeymoon. So it was with a real sense of romance that they looked forward to being here again.
Back then when their love story had begun, they had camped in a tent for two, on the mainland and come for day trips to this fabled city. Now in their 18th year of marriage, for the first time, they would be staying in an apartment in the very heart of Venice, a few minutes walk from Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square). Magic…
It is very hard to imagine the anticipation of arriving in Venice by rail. It really is a unique and awe inspiring European jewel. The iconic scenes that you glimpse as you rumble over the causeway, crossing the calm waters of the lagoon and the traveller suddenly emerges from the dark, busy station into the sunlight. Stunned as a myriad of water craft ply by, standing at the wonder that is the Grand Canal.
Our first task was to get to our bargain hotel and apartment stay. So it was packs on as we passed the last fleeting signs of snow and avoided the inflated vaporetto price to check-in. It is true to say that Venice is one of those places that thousands of photos can not do justice to capture all that it is.
We took so many photos but there is nothing quite like being there. Our first night would be at a hotel with the rest in a private spacious apartment near by. This allowed us to treat Pamela to her own room, complete with tiny balcony on her first night in Venice. A princess fantasy…
The morning brought renewed vigour, so after we moved to our nearby apartment, who could resist a few minutes walk to the astonishing St Marks Square and of course, onwards to the most famous Venice icon of all, the Bridge of Sighs. So nick-named because the view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment.
We walked past the Porta Magna at the Arsenal. The Venetian Arsenal’s ability to mass-produce galleys on an almost assembly-line process was unique for its time and resulted in possibly the single largest industrial complex in Europe prior to the Industrial Revolution. So famous that it was mentioned in Dante’s fourteenth century Inferno.
After a long stroll in the biting cold wind blowing off the lagoon, rather than walk back we couldn’t resist splurging on some vaparetto tickets and cruising the Grand Canal. Who could resist?
We stepped off near home to stop at one of our favourite and Venice’s oldest churches, San Giacomo di Rialto which was consecrated in 421, although the present building dates from 1071. It miraculously escaped the famous fire that ripped through this area in 1503.
Yet another magical day in Venice…
Then thoughts turned to our warm abode, rest and a welcoming home cooked meal.