Venice - A Magical Port by Donna Rombough | Craig Travel

Venice - A Magical Port by Donna Rombough

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Arriving at Venice's Marco Polo Airport in the morning, we didn't wait long before our luggage arrived and we were outside waiting for ATVO bus number 5 which would take us to Piazzale Roma. From here, a two-minute taxi ride would take us to the pier, where we would store our luggage for the day, until it was time to depart on our Mediterranean cruise. We had a lot of exploring to do, on this, our first visit to Venice.

The city encompasses 118 islands separated by more than 150 canals, which are connected by some 400 bridges. Most of the city has to be explored on foot, but a very convenient water bus system (vaporettos), as well as water taxis are plentiful and they all vie for space on the crowded waterways, horns blowing, drivers shouting. Shop and restaurant supplies all arrive by boat, coming and going in every direction, like transports on the 401!

My companions and I were soon caught up in the hustle and bustle and made full use of the vaporettos, enjoying the sights and the sounds of life on the canal. We took the plunge into the myriad of little shopping streets; a rabbits warren of confusing, tiny, cobblestone walking streets which had us lost within minutes. Getting lost is all part of the charm of this captivating city. We quickly learned to pay extra attention to the street names found on the sides of buildings and to names of shops and landmarks that we passed.

Around every corner a new surprise; lovely shops with buttery soft leather gloves in every colour; famous haute couteur shops, museums, charming little cafes and restaurants overlooking tiny canals, gondoliers carrying tourists along those canals singing old Italian songs and adding to the sheer romance of the Venice experience. No visit to Venice is complete without a gondola ride down the famous Grand Canal! No time on this trip, but I have done it since that first visit and it was worth it despite the $95 cost per person for a 35 minute private ride.

St. Mark's Square offers access to the stunning St. Mark's Basilica and Doge's Palace. We didn't mind the twenty-minute wait to enter the Basilica; it was well worth it and gave us an opportunity to people-watch and to absorb the sights and feel of this incomparable city. Many cruise itineraries start and end in Venice and it's easy to see why.

Our time was short and soon it was time to hail a water taxi to take us back to the pier for the start of a very memorable cruise. Sailing out of Venice as the sun began to set, it was obvious to see why it is known as one of the world's great cities. The orange sky was a stunning backdrop to the splendid palaces and magnificent domed churches that lined the shimmering golden Grand Canal. It was one of the most romantic sites I had ever seen and I knew it was a destination I would return to many times.

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