Half way through our 14 Night Adriatic Cruise, the ship headed once again to the port in Venice to return 7 night cruisers, reset the ship for new guests, and begin its second 7 day itinerary – which we’d be joining them for. 🙂
This was our chance to see more of Venice, so we headed straight for the St. Mark’s Square via water bus to get in the line to tour St. Mark’s Basilica early. The “bus” ride was pretty and it was surreal to sit back and look at the views from the water!
The square was already full of its visitors from all over the world. About 25 million people visit Venice each year.
Bryan’s research proved handy as he was able to pre-check our backpack so that we could enter the church without delay.The scaffolding (shown below) on the church itself was the only real eye sore here..but the inside of the church was simply stunning (sorry no photos were allowed of the main rooms) .
We found it challenging to navigate from here to the location we were to meet our Free Walking Tour Guide. I mean, the city’s layout with islands, canals and alleys is pretty crazy! Eventually we found our meet-up spot.
I had low expectations for the reliability and professionalism of a free walking tour, but as 3 young professionally dressed adults passed out forms, took attendance and divided the group amongst the three of them for the day, I was already blown away. Our tour guide was Andreas (“On-dray-us”) and he was a resident there in Venice who was extremely knowledgeable and entertaining! Instead of the packed famous squares (that we would all easily find on our own later anyway) he took us down back alleys and quiet spots showing us the architectural attempts to help the buildings stay upright, various attempts to build more accommodations in the spacially-limited area, interesting bridges, views, and cultural and historical points of interest we’d never realized without him telling us. The Free Walking Tour turned out to be an incredible experience!
We ate lunch in a small square before continuing the last leg of our tour. The main distraction during lunch was this cat who preyed on the pigeons as they flocked to handouts. It was cute enough that I filmed it, but unfortunately when I did he snagged a poor bird! Just my luck. I was so shocked/horrified I quit filming.
But don’t worry! The bird actually got away in the end. And I hate to say it but I don’t think he learned his lesson.
After lunch we had a bit more of the tour left and we ended at a good place to take the “must do” gondola ride. It was really hot and I honestly wasn’t thrilled about sweating on the cute little boat…but we wanted to do it in case it was our only chance to be together in Venice. Thinking he could get away with it since I wasn’t making a special thing out of the gondola ride, before I know it Bryan agreed to split a gondola ride with another older couple, dashing any possibility of the gondola being a romantic memory! That’s a man for you! I just shook my head and laughed. Despite it becoming a surprise double date gondola ride, it was nice and the couple was truly very fun and relatable – lucky for Bryan haha!
Our gondolier was quite the ladies’ man – haha. He called out to and flirted with every girl he saw on the walkways by our route with his italian charm. It was hilarious!
After this we made our way back to the ship where my parents had boarded and we’re waiting for us! I was beyond excited to see them and take them on their first cruise ever!
It began to look like a storm was headed for Venice right as we set sail, making the familiar exit from the city unique and dramatic with the stormy sky. 🙂
But we were on to better weather! After a day at sea, we would have an insanely busy four days – with many crazy adventures and stories. Check back here for our next post featuring our time with my parents running the island of Corfu, Greece!