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Venice – Day 1

My first impressions of Venice is that the water level looked dangerously high.

Arriving at Marco Polo Airport, we picked up our pre-paid Venice Cards and followed signs to the water boats that would take us to our hotel on the island of Lido.

Venice is made up of a little over 120 tiny islands floating magnificently on vivid green emerald green water. Lido used to be a very popular destination for the hoi-polloi at one time, on the likes of Cannes. The island still hosts its own film festival every September and has a sandy beach to boot.

Anyway, the ride from the airport to Lido was memorable. The boats (vaporetto) are the main mode of transport in this water logged city. I was delighted to see ‘lanes’ marked with speed limits – 7km/hr – at one point, for the vaporettos. It was good to see the drivers slowing down every time they spotted a marker.

The ride from the airport to Lido takes about an hour, with one stop at Murano and then Lido.

Our hotel was right on the sea-front *, a stone’s throw away from the vaporetto stops which makes all the difference when you want to stay out late. Our room offered us a lovely view across the lagoon. On a clear morning, we could see Venice clearly a short distance away. Perfect.

View from our hotel window *

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening exploring Venice proper. A quick chakkar around San Marco (St.Mark’s) verified what the travel books tell us – San Marco is a busy, bustling beehive of tourists at any time.

Our Venice cards gave us entry into the Doge’s Palace and the opportunity to view some amazing art. If you like the whole Art thing, then Venice would be paradise, or close to it. Throughout our trip we were accosted with Titians, Tintorettos, Bellinis and other big, big names. Every little church you go to has a famous name on its wall – hung without ceremony, with no concessions made to sunlight, pollution or the damage of centuries. It’s there, in your face and close enough to touch. There is no security whatsoever for most of these paintings; each of them would be worth thousands of pounds, if not in the hundreds of thousands or more.

The Doge’s Palace leads to Prisons linked by the famous Bridge of Sighs (a replica of which you can find in Oxford). The bridge links the prisons to the interrogation rooms in the palace. We did the touristy thing and walked across, taking pictures from within the famous structure.

View from inside the Bridge of Sighs

We ended the day with a fabulous ‘Sargent in Venice’ exhibition at the Museo Correr showcasing the amazing watercolors and oils of John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), an American artist who spent a lot of time in Venice. The paintings are incredibly life-life and make you want to grab an easel or sketchbook and get painting right away. That’s the best kind of art, I think – one that inspires you to do something more…

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Note: We travelled to Venice over the Easter bank holiday : April 6,7,8,9 2007

*Click on this link for a good shot of Lido taken from the lagoon. You can see Hotel Panorama (where we stayed) right below the big green dome of the Military Memorial. Up close, you can even see the lamp post as shown in my picture above. Our room was on the second floor.

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2 comments on “Venice – Day 1

  1. Never been. Now want to go.

  2. nice travel-post. yeah, i agree – i too want to visit Venice some time soon. like ur travel posts. pls keep more of your travel posts & pics coming – even if its about some travel u made some time ago 🙂

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