(In my travelogue I’d written “Friday–whatever the date is”. Yep–we’d gotten to that point.)
As I write this, we are passing a lighthouse out in the far distance. Two more hours and we should see Venice on the horizon.
We woke up this morning to much gentler waters. It was my turn to have the semi-difficult night’s sleep last night; the cold virus hit me late yesterday afternoon. However, it was short-lived–I don’t feel much of it at all now. Made for a meds-induced sleep though.
(In case I don’t mention it later, the cold was just taking a short coffee break…)
Paul was already up, dressed, and had had breakfast by the time I awoke for the final time this morning. Once I was dressed, we went up to the buffet room so I could have my breakfast. I’m really trying to keep the calories down from now until I get home. Hard to do, restaurant/prepared food being what it is. Salads, fruit, some protein, keep the carbs and fats low. I’ve already scaled my six flights of stairs for the morning. Depending on what we do in Venice this afternoon, there may or may not be a repeat of that this evening.
We’re supposed to dock at 2pm, which should give us plenty of time to nose around town a bit. First order of business is to figure out the easiest way to get to our hotel for tomorrow night (it’s near the airport, a good number of miles from the city itself). We’ll be staying on the ship tonight and disembarking in the morning. At that time, we’ll get our stuff shifted and spend the rest of the day blowing off the rest of our euros (which isn’t much).
An aside: It doesn’t matter where you go anywhere in the world, people in elevators are the same. Conversation ceases when they step into the little room and push the button for the floor they want. The doors close, and all eyes focus on the box that displays the floor number, as if it is the most compelling thing we have ever seen in our lives. Either that, or we stare at the wall/floor/ceiling–anything but eye contact with other people. Sometimes I almost laugh out loud–but that would violate the sanctity of the elevator room…hee hee.
Things I am looking forward to when I get home:
- Being able to hang out in my PJs
- Not having to vacate my room so someone can come and clean it up
- Firm footing–no more shipdeck rolling
- Seeing my daughter/friends/cat again
These are not necessarily in order of importance.
We are now sitting in the most forward room on the ship – the Galaxy of the Stars. Every once in awhile I check the horizon for signs of land. Nothing yet. There’s a game of Trivial Pursuit going on–again, we didn’t sign up for it (got there too late), but we knew the answers.
I’m out of things to write, so I will go off and do something else before – tah dah! – lunch.
The buffet area is really the best place to get meals, because I have control as to what I put on my plate. And today it will be another large salad (no dressing) and of bit of cheese or chicken for protein.
Horizon Check: water…
At least the clouds are gone. The air is fresh and cool out there–absolutely wonderful! I am staying inside, though–no sense inviting this cold virus to get its claws into me any more than it has.
As we got closer, the seagulls guided us into port almost as well as the pilot. They took turns flying even with the ship for awhile, then would flap a wing and fly off to other business.
It took a good hour to get from where we first passed land to where we docked. As we floated along, many of the landmarks that make up Venice came into view.
And practically everyone on the ship was on on the left side of every deck, taking pictures. I’m surprised we didn’t tip over…
I noticed something odd–well, odd in my view because I hadn’t known about them. At least two towers are leaning–mayble not as bad as in Pisa, but definitely noticeable. (I never came across info on them while we were there, so I just now looked them up.)
The Basilica di San Pietro di Castello (English: Basilica of St Peter of Castello), commonly called San Pietro di Castello, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica of the Patriarch of Venice located in the Castello sestiere of the Italian city of Venice. The present building dates from the 16th century, but a church has stood on the site since at least the 7th century. During its history the church has undergone a number of alterations and additions by some of Venice’s most prominent architects. Andrea Palladio received his first commission in the city of Venice from the Patriarch Vincenzo Diedo to re-build the facade and interior of St Pietro, but Diedo’s death delayed the project.
After St Mark’s Basilica became Venice’s official cathedral (it had previously been the private church of the Doge), San Pietro fell into a state of disrepair. It was firebombed during the First World War and only through the efforts of conservation organisations has it been restored to its former state. Its ongoing conservation is now managed through its membership of the Chorus Association of Venetian churches.
The church is located on San Pietro di Castello (from which it derives its name), a small island off the eastern end of the main city of Venice.
The Chiesa di Santo Stefano (Church of St. Stephen) is a large church at the northern end of the Campo Santo Stefano in Venice. It was founded in the 13th century, rebuilt in the 14th century and altered again early in the 15th century, when the fine gothic doorway and ship’s keel roof were added. The tall interior is also Gothic and has three apses.
Once the ship checked in and was opened for disembarkation (there were a few shore excursions, but we didn’t sign up for those), everybody lined up along the promenade deck. Leaving the ship this time was a little different; instead of mass-trotting down to the fourth level and exiting off a gangplank, we left via a tower the dock officials had rolled up to the side of the ship. Once folks got into the tower, they had the choice of stairs or an elevator. Convenient!
Once we got free of the marina, we had a look around to see the best way to get into Venice proper. I had to laugh when I saw a “People Mover’ in the near distance. Suddenly we’re in Disneyland?
Well, it was legit–a small train/shuttle that would take us into town. Since we didn’t know any better, we got in line, paid our €1.50, and hopped aboard. Off we went–a whole one stop and we were off…only three stops to the (very short) line.
Actually, knowledge of this conveyance helped on our way back–but we felt pretty foolish at this point in time. Less than a mile’s walk–well, what did we know?
We threaded through the labyrinth that is Venice, trying to get to St. Mark’s Square. On the way, we ran into Hard Rock Cafe’s outlet store, so I was able to get my shirt–yay!
Things I won’t miss:
- The ever-present smell of cigarette smoke
- Selfie-sticks–those wands that enable people to take pictures of themselves in front of monuments, etc.
One thing I have to say–Venezians must have some bonzer leg muscles. All those stairs and steep bridges! I was pooped out after three hours or so of these streets.
You can definitely tell the difference between tourists and residents around here–residents are talking on their phones, while tourists are taking pictures with theirs.
But–what magnificence! Every time we turned a corner, there was yet another incredible sight. I can hardly wait for us to be able to explore tomorrow; this is why we booked an extra day in Venice.
We got delightfully lost trying to find St. Mark’s Square, and simply touched on the area when we got there. This was an area that we were destined to spend a lot more time in the next day.
Paul was smart concerning our voyage (which is what it truly was) back to the ship. He felt like we should give it at least an hour and a half to get back on time. We had a dinner reservation on board at 6:30pm, so we had to keep to a schedule.
Okay–vaporetta, or water bus. Great concept, but it has got to be the slowest way to get anywhere. Reason being, all of the stops it has to make. Oh, the crowds on board! Xenophobes would have jumped overboard in the first few minutes, I’m sure. And when they made their stops at the floating stations, they smashed against them so hard it was almost impossible to keep our footing (we almost always stood). Fortunately all of those other bodies kept us upright. :-/.
We got to our own vaporetta stop with about 15 minutes to get back on board and to the restaurant. As Paul walked his normal speed, I sprinted several times in order to keep up or pass him.
Then the stairs back up the rollaway tower. I was completely out of breath once we got to the restaurant.
I still kept the calories down as much as I could–although I did have dessert.
We went up top to see Venice by night, but our view was blocked by two other cruise ships. Bummer.
Here are our best:
Now we’re back in our cabin. I’ve finished packing, and Paul’s doing his. Tomorrow we’ll have the adventure of figuring out how to get to our hotel from here.
Tomorrow: Good-bye NCL, Murano, and St. Mark’s Square