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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Lost In Venice

A few days ago we got back from a fantastic family holiday. I blogged about part 1 of our holiday. The last two days of the cruise were a bit mixed. Sailing back towards Venice from the Greek Islands we had half a day in Dubrovnik. It was HOT!

Everyone had told us we had to walk the walls of the old city of Dubrovnik so that's what we did. I didn't actually make it all the way around. I gave up halfway as it was just too hot. But it was worth it. The old town of Dubrovnik is beautiful and quite small. The view from the wall was fantastic. I'd definitely like to go back to Croatia and Dubrovnik. The water looked very inviting but we didn't have time for a swim.

After a rainy day in Ancona, Italy, and a rough night's sailing, we arrived back in Venice. Vanessa had a bad cold while we were on the cruise and when we got to Venice Emily had caught it. We left the ship and headed to our hotel in Venice. Checked in and got on the bus to go into the city. About halfway, Emily was sick on the floor of the bus. A helpful lady gave us a pack of wet wipes and Simon cleaned up Emily and the bus as well as he could. Simon and Emily headed back to the hotel while Vanessa and I continued in to Venice for an afternoon of exploring .I was worried Emily had caught a sickness bug and that we might all get ill so thought it best to get on with exploring Venice while we were fit to do it. Turned out it was only a bad cold and the next day Emily was well enough to join us.

I'd visited Venice as a child and I know it was beautiful but I'd forgotten just how beautiful Venice is. The narrow streets, the old buildings, the canals, the faded grandeur - its all stunning! We enjoyed wandering the streets and getting lost.

We had two full days and two half days in Venice. On the first half day and full day, we explored on foot. Walking aggravates my chronic upperback/shoulder/neck pain a lot so on the second full day I couldn't face anymore walking so we decided to get a day's travel card which gave us unlimited travel on buses and water buses. Venice has an excellent water bus system. You can travel around Venice as well as to the many islands in the lagoon and we took full advantage of this.

Venice is known for glass making and I saw this beautiful art piece in a courtyard in Venice.

We headed to the island of Murano which is famous for glass production. There are several glass blowing studios and a glass museum. Most of the glass blowing studios charge to watch demos. I've seen glass blowing lots of times before so we decided not to pay. The shops stock beautiful glass art, jewellery, table ware, vases and lots more.

The impressive statue above is displayed in a square on Murano and is made of glass. Murano has narrow canals and is just as beautiful as Venice.

Later in the day, we got back on the boat and headed out to Burano which was about a 45min boat ride but well worth the trip. Burano has canals just like the other islands in the lagoon but it has a completely different feel to Venice itself.

Burano is known for lace making and brightly coloured houses. The houses are beautiful and I loved the colours. There were lots of little shops selling lace souvenirs but it all looked a bit tacky.

There were some more upmarket shops selling beautiful lace garments and one shop selling beautiful linen clothes which were made by the owner and her family. We were trying to do Venice on the cheap so I didn't buy anything but it was very tempting.

On the final half day we headed back in to Venice and had just under an hour left on our travel card. We worked out that if we got on a water bus quickly, we could ride the length of the Grand Canal to Salute (at the end of the Grand Canal near San Marcos - St Marks Square). There's a beautiful cathedral there which had free admission. Because it was relatively early for many tourists, there were fewer gondolas and water taxis ferrying tourists around and more service boats delivering parcels, frozen good, drinks etc to the businesses in the city.

Below is a photo taken from the water bus as we approach the end of the Grand Canal and the cathedral (you can see the dome) at Salute.

I really enjoyed Venice and I hope I can go back one day. It's an expensive city and we were trying to do it on the cheap which was a struggle but it's possible and I'm so glad we decided to add three nights to the end of our cruise and stay on in Venice.

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