Our last full day in Venice was spent sightseeing. I started the morning by taking a picture of the quiet, peaceful neighbourhood out our bedroom window. It really is such a joy to open your window and find this scene, in the same way it’s a joy to open a window and see Table Mountain. So unique, so special.
We caught a water bus (a vaparetto) to the further side of the city (San Giorgio Maggiore) in order to explore new areas. We got off at the wrong stop and had some time to kill until the next boat arrived. It took it as an opportunity to enjoy a light pasta from the nearest cafe. I’d been meaning to try ravioli with sage and a butter sauce so I gave that a go. WELL! What a bust. Basically, don’t buy cooked food from a kiosk! It wasn’t inedible but it was microwaved and probably from a box. Who thought people could make bad pasta ANYWHERE in Italy? Just goes to show – there are bad business owners all over the world! None the less, it was lovely to sit on the water’s edge and take in St Mark’s Square across the bay.
While we waited, we took a little stroll down the pier and found an interesting door. I couldn’t decide if it was a hotel or someone’s home, but it had a wonderful feeling about it…and which home with such beautiful features wouldn’t?
Soon our boat arrived, we hopped on and carried on down the river. We went past a fascinating display of sparkling gold pillars. After some research, I’ve learnt that they were designed by Heinz Mack and are known as The Sky Over 9 Pillars in San Giorgio Venezia. He used over 850,000 golden mosaic tiles for the installation that will only be there until mid November. I hope they choose to keep it because it looks AMAZING!
After this detour, we navigated our way from St Mark’s stop, through Venice, to get to the correct boat to take us to another of Venice’s beautiful churches.
On the way we found the Victor Emmanuel 2 statue of Italy (he was the king of Sardinia who became the king of Italy in 1861). What’s ironic is that the man on the horse was of no interest of me (I basically totally ignored him) as I was too busy taking pictures of the statue of the women with the lion and a sword in Venice at the bottom of the statue! I thought the women on either side were identical but realised not. The Lion is the icon of St Marks and is very common in Venice. There are people EVERYWHERE in Venice and it’s very difficult to get pictures of just the items you’d like! Case in point below 😀
This pair of gondolas are sailing under the Bridge of Sighs which was built in 1600. It connects the old prison named the Piombi on the left (which is apparently very dark, cold, went, bug infested and dingy) to the new prison on the right.
After our next ride we arrived at one of Venice’s most beautiful churches, the Basilica of St Mary, or the Santa Maria della Salute. The Basilica is on the opposite side of the grand canal and only a few stops from the beautiful golden pillars. It was started in 1631 and finished in 1681, taking 50 years to complete. Last year we were at St Paul’s Cathedral in London where the city orchestra was rehearsing, this year an organist also started playing after we entered. (And when we’re returned to Zurich, a band also started playing when we arrived at their church!). It always shows off how beautiful the churches really are, with the music swirling around the incredible features. This was built as an ode to health after the plague killed thousands of Venetians in the 17th century. We lit a candle for my gran who recently passed and my “mother in law” who were both devout Catholics. RIP
After the beautiful church visit we navigated our was to the Peggy Guggenheim art gallery where we thoroughly enjoyed viewing. By this time it was late afternoon so we started to make our way towards home.
After our boat ride we met up with our friends for dinner. We heard there was a nice place where young Venetians go, but when we got there they only had a table inside and the consensus was to sit outside. We called it the Venice Power and the Glory haha (that’s a bar in Cape Town city). So we went to the restaurant next door which was a seafood restaurant so Mr Love and I skipped dinner (we’d also had a snack just before the boat ride) and just enjoyed sitting outside.
Afterwards, we decided to do a last romantic stroll before we left the next day. St Mark’s Square had been so crazy busy during the day that we decided to visit at night. It was really fun because there were mini orchestras on the square who had competitions! So as one band would start the crowd would move to hear them. As that band finished the next one down the line would start and everyone would move there. It was really fantastic to hear the songs, they played them in their own special way, and was wonderful to be out in the warm night air.
Unfortunately, on our way home we got a little lost. We were using our Google maps, however, the ratio of what you think so close is hard to judge! So we ended up going on a quite a mission, down this alley, over that bridge, down this pathway, dead ends, reverse, go back, another bridge, another alley. Eventually we made our way back – ironically, past the first restaurant that we hadn’t been able to go to earlier that night!
Just as we were getting tired we suddenly popped up at the “Power and the Glory” again! It’s called Timons and is a great local bar. Boats on the canal have been boarded up so patrons can sit on them and have their wine and snacks. It’s also about 3 blocks from “home”, whoohoo! We hadn’t eaten anything by this time so I was happy to tuck into some bruscetta, which they sell for €1, with an array of toppings. They were REALLY delicious! We sat on a stair way bridge with our bread and drinks and took in the last of the Venetian night.
After our midnight snack, we walked home and had a GOOD night’s rest. We left the next morning, but that’s another story 😉 Thanks for reading 🙂 *penguins*