October 31, 2019

In our early discussions about the trip, Torrey said that he wanted to see Venice before it was engulfed by the sea. We did not need to include it in the first part of our trip, since we would be stopping there overnight during the cruise. Venice consists of 118 islands in a lagoon. The island of the main part of the city is shaped like a fish. We sailed in from the east, past Lido and San Giorgio Island down the Guidecca Canal just to the south of the main islands making up the fish. I took a series of pictures from our balcony.

San Giorgio is across the canal from St. Mark's square and a little to the east.

My suggestion was that we go with Rick's recommendation to explore Venice on our own. Christopher's idea was for us to take the ship's walking tour excursion, with the idea that would be our orientation, and then we would be equipped to venture on our own. So Torrey signed us up for the tour. The concept is often a good one, but things did not work out that way. The tour ate up our time and energy, and we didn't have a chance to see the interiors of anything, and we didn't hang around to go to an evening concert or anything. Torrey was still feeling a bit puny, and at the end of the tour searched vainly for a Farmacia (we had passed at least several during the walk).

After the shuttle boat dropped us off, our first main sight to see was the Doge's Palace. The Doge was the leader of the Republic of Venice from 726 to 1797. He was elected for life by a committee that often functioned like our Electoral College was originally intended. His powers were usually quite constrained by the other nobles. He could not get his family members involved or choose his successor. The Doge's Palace is one of the main sights to tour in Venice.

The prison is the building beside the Doge's Palace.

Connecting the two buildings is "The Bridge of Sighs." After sentences were passed in the palace, prisoners were taken to the prison across the bridge. Supposedly they got their last look at the outside world through the lattice work in the bridge's windows before their imprisonment.

During the walk we did see many streets and squares of Venice.

Imagine having to cross a bridge to get to the front entrance of your house.

Gondola rides are rather expensive. Rick says they start at €80 for a 40 minute ride during the day, and go up from there.

The Palazzo Malipiero was begun in the eleventh century. The top floor was added in the thirteenth century. The other side faces the Grand Canal, and across this plaza is the Church of San Samuele.

The Corte Seconda del Milion was the property where Marco Polo lived after he returned from China.

The Rialto Bridge is a famous bridge across the Grand Canal. Unfortunately this is best view I got of it.

St. Mark's Basilica is of course the main attraction in Venice. It was built in the eleventh century to replace an earlier church that also housed the supposed bones of the Gospel writer. The symbols of the Four Evangelists are winged animals, and St. Mark's is the winged lion. Some traditions suggest that Mark was the young man who ran away naked from the Garden of Gethsemane. Other traditions identify him with the John Mark who accompanied Paul. Ezekiel's vision of four winged creatures who also reappear in Revelation became associated with the Gospel writers symbolically.

The symbol of Venice is the winged lion holding a book that says in Latin, "Peace to you, Mark, my evangelist."



The clock tower was built on the north side of the square in the late fifteenth century. It is a digital clock. Look at the blue squares on either side of the Madonna and child. The hour is shown in Roman numerals, and the minutes are shown in Arabic numbers, updated every five minutes. The time stamp on my photo is 3:35, in agreement with the clock. On Epiphany and on Ascension Day, an angel appears and leads the Three Wise Men from one door to the other over the semicircular balcony.

St. Mark's Square as seen from the church. A couple weeks after our visit, the square was filled with water over knee deep, and the basilica and area shops had a foot or two of water in the flooding. The city is sinking, and with rising sea levels this problem is likely to get worse and occur more often. I'm glad we got there when we did.

A smaller bell tower stood here for a thousand years and then crashed into the square in 1902. It was replaced with the Campanile di San Marco. You can see views of it by night farther down this page. I didn't try to get in to ride the elevator. It was about closing time.

Torrey and I met back up at the boat to take us back to the ship. There was a couple who live near Tel Aviv. I told them I know a player for the Maccabi team. The next morning I saw them after breakfast, and they had looked him up on the internet. They said when they got home they were going to tell all their friends that they met someone who knows Jake Cohen.

We were in port for the night, so in theory we could have come back and seen the city by night and returned in the morning for some sightseeing. It seemed that the various authorities had made the return to the ship from the shuttle as inconvenient as possible. If the intent was to discourage us from getting off the ship, it worked for us. Plus Torrey still felt a bit puny.

The view from our balcony the next day was not bad, looking past the cruise terminal. About 5:15 we started sailing east. So this time the port side faced the main islands. I stood on our balcony and photographed the view as we left and as darkness fell.

We had a great view of the Doge's Palace and the Campanile. Then we came into line with the opening for views of St. Mark's.

I think I will make large prints of one of these pictures, maybe the last one. I'm quite impressed with the low-light capabilities of my little travel camera. These seem surprisingly clear for hand-held shots made on a moving ship as it got dark.


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