Me, Rachel Swailes. My blog about stuff I get up to in and around the Western Cape, Cape Town, George, Wilderness, Hermanus and other cool places :)

Published on Thursday, September 10th, 2009 at 8:06 pm
St Mark's Basilica with the Campanile on the right.
After months of planning, trips to Schengen Visa offices and synchronisation of leave, we finally made it to Italy.

We got off to a delayed start curtosy of EasyJet but we got there at last.

Our first stop was Venice. It had received rave reviews from a number of friends so we decided to start our trip by spending two nights here.

Once we had found the right stop on the river boat and navigated the maze-like streets to find our hotel, we set about exploring the place for the rest of the afternoon.

This is St Mark’s Basilica with the Campanile to the right.
Canal and tower.
More canals.
There are plenty of bridges over the water that offer beautiful views down the canals.

The first thing you notice though is that not everything seems to stand upright.
Santa Maria Formosa and the first gelato stop.
It’s quite difficult to describe just how humid it was while we were there. One of our first points of call was to somewhere that would sell ice-cream. Gelato was one of the words we came to use quite a lot during our stay!

The building in the background is the Santa Maria Formosa.
Santi Giovanni e Paolo
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the city, taking in some of the sites and testing our limited Italian vocabulary.

We also landed up eating dinner at a French restaurant (with scary octopus starter snack things) and then wound down the evening hunting for more gelato.

This is the Santi Giovanni e Paolo.

On the Friday we got down to get as much seen as we could since this would be our only full day in the city before travelling to Sardinia.

Buildings surrounding the Piazza
Doge's Palace
St Mark's Clock
We started with a guided tour of the major locations in the city. Choosing to go with a guide was a great idea because we got a little more insight to the place and also got to skip the queues to see inside St Mark’s Basilica.

On the left is St Mark’s Clock that tracks both the time and the luncar cycle so that the locals know when the tides will be high.

Above are some of the other buildings surrounding the Piazza. Below are pictures of the mosaics of the Basilica and the columns outside the Doge’s Palace.
Mosaics on the front of the Basillica
The columns in the square outside the Doge's Palace

And these were taken of the Doge’s Palace on the right of the Basillica.

Front of the Doge's Palace
Front of the Doge's Palace
High walkway
From there we decided that we needed to grab some lunch and then escape the tourists for a bit. Nearing lunch time the centre was getting pretty crowded.

We had a quick look around the stalls in St Mark’s Square and looked up to see this walkway between two of the buildings.
Boy and a Frog statue at Punta della Dogana
View of the tower on Salute
Me in front of the Santa Maria della Salute
We took a river boat across the water to Salute where we sat on some shady steps for a while.

Me standing at the steps of Santa Maria della Salute.

Around the corner from this at the end of the Dorsoduro peninsula (called Punta della Dogana) we found the statue shown above of the boy with a frog.
Sleeping Gondola's behind the gardens
Narrow street in Salute
Scenic canal
Trees in the square and no people!
Getting away from the centre of Venice was the best part of visiting the city. On Salute and further south we found the most beautiful canals and walkways. There were trees growing in the (empty) squares and we could walk for blocks without seeing anyone.
View of the public gardens
Inside the gardens
Next we found some more space by taking the boats to the Public Gardens on the south-eastern side of the city.

I heart shade!!
Me and Richard in the shade
Glass sculpture at Murano
To round off the day we took a trip to the island of Murano which is famous for the glass made there.

The streets are lined with glass shops and there are a few glass sculptures in the squares.
Blue glass sculpture at Murano
Overflowing window boxes
Me and Richard on the Ponte di Rialto
This is us on the Ponte di Rialto. We stood on the bridge to watch the traffic – amazing to think that the whole city runs on the water.
Ponte di Rialto
On the final morning we got our stuff packed up and headed off to the water taxi jetty for the trip back to the airport.

This is the view of the Ponte di Rialto from the river boat station.

Some other photos from the trip…

The Grand Canal from the Ponte di Rialto
Floating restaurant
Old and new buildings on the southern islands
Me and Richard on Saulte
More boats on a canal
Trees and space on Murano
Lunchtime classical recital in St Mark's Square
Isola di San Michele
Afternoon sun on the Basillica

Next we were off to Sardinia.

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