Of Gondolas and Vaporettos

Location: Venice

Today was the longest day of our trip. We left the hotel at 645 AM and didn’t return until 12:15 that night. We wanted to arrive in Venice early to beat some of the crowds to get good pictures and avoid long lines. Our first stop was to St. Mark’s Square. At 8:00 it was virtually empty allowing for some great pictures.

St. Mark's Square... empty!
St. Mark’s Square… empty!


We entered the Doge’s Palace Museum as soon as it opened at 8:30. There we learned about some of the history of Venice, and how its Byzantine-like government operated. We saw the Doge’s quarters, map rooms, art rooms, bureaucrat offices, senate chamber, aristocrat council chamber, courtrooms and the prison. One of the highlights was crossing from the Palace to the prison via the Bridge of Sighs. It was named that because it was the last opportunity for condemned prisoners to see the sea before they died.

Doge's Palace
Doge’s Palace
Doge's Palace
Doge’s Palace
Armory in Doge's Palace
Armory in Doge’s Palace
Looking out of the Bridge of Sighs window.
Looking out of the Bridge of Sighs window.
The prison in Doge's Palace
The prison in Doge’s Palace

When we exited the museum a couple of hours later we hoped to visit St Mark’s Basilica. But the line was too long so we walked to the Rialto Bridge and market area to do some light shopping. Later we ate lunch in the Cannaregio district.

Rialto Bridge
Rialto Bridge

After lunch we visited the original Jewish Ghetto. There we toured the Jewish Museum and three of the synagogues of Venice. We were not allowed to take pictures here.

We had some time to relax before meeting the Baron’s (friends of Rachel’s parents who are also going on the cruise) and their friends for dinner. To pass some time, we went to Lido, an island, really just a sand bar, not far from the main part of the city. There, we walked to the beach and got snacks.

On the trip back to St. Mark’s Square we saw a smallish size cruise ship leaving the city. They were tugged out, but they had an awesome view as they went. We are looking forward to our own departure tomorrow.

A cruise ship leaving Venice
A cruise ship leaving Venice

Back at the plaza we went on a gondola ride because….. Venice. It was a pleasant way to see the quieter canals of the city.

On a gondola!
On a gondola!
View from the gondola
View from the gondola


After we got off the gondola we saw Harry’s Bar.  We were told this was a famous bar in Venice, but we were particularly excited to see it because Rachel’s brother is named Harry.  Sadly, he could not go on this trip with us, and we miss him, so we took a few pictures outside the entrance.

Harry's Bar
Harry’s Bar

Lastly we had dinner with our cruise companions for the first time this trip at a fancy hotel restaurant.

Becky (Rachel's Mom) and the Barons.
Becky (Rachel’s Mom) and the Barons.

Tomorrow we board the Celebrity Equinox and begin the cruise portion of the trip.

Total steps taken: 17,129 (and a lot of those were stairs!!)

Total vaporetto rides: 5

Total gondola rides: 1


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