The cruise ship I am working on is in Venice, so today I’ll be talking about this place which is known as one of the most beautiful places in the world. The city is built on 118 small islands and is laced with a network of canals that enhances the city’s beauty and romance.
The ship has to dock quite far away from the city centre, so once you have got off the ship, you will be taken on a short 5-minute bus ride to a water taxi station. The cruise line will provide the water taxi so you will not have to pay to get into Venice. The journey takes about 15 minutes and it’s a lovely way to enter the city, on a boat, because you get to see all the fantastic buildings. The taxi will drop you just outside St Mark’s Square which is handy, but the crowds are intense as this is where all the action is.
Although there are lots of things to do in Venice, I wanted to get a feel for the city by wandering the streets. The tourists are too busy looking up at The Basilica Di Marco to notice other people, so there is a lot of bashing into each other that goes on. The Basilica Di Marco boasts intricate carvings and beautiful paintings, and that’s just on the outside. I would have loved to go in, but the queues were insanely long. Although my friend and I didn’t go in, we did spend a long while stood amongst the crowds admiring it. Belonging to the Basilica Di Marco is the St Mark’s Campanile which is a clock tower. The two men who made it were later blinded, to stop them replicating similar clocks in other cities. Many people go up the clock tower as it offers the best view of the city.
Next door is the Doge’s palace. This masterpiece of Gothic architecture and was built in the 9th century, but from then work continued on it until the year 1420. For almost 1000 years The Doge Of Venice directed the city from this palace. ‘Doge’ is the name of a leader of the city. Today the palace is open to the public so we can get an insight into the history of Venice’s leadership. I can only imagine the inside but judging from the exterior, it would be pretty awesome. Another exciting feature that can be seen from the outside is The Bridge Of Sighs. The white limestone bridge leads to the palace prison cells and was built in the 1600’s. Many people would walk over this bridge never to return, hence the name.
After spending a good hour mooching around this square of sites, we wandered through the large archway at the end of the square and arrived into a maze of streets. The ground is made up of cobblestones, and the streets are very narrow. The houses seem to be 2 meters apart at the bottom, but when you look up at the roofs, they seem to grow closer together which gives the sense of being closed in. The streets are heaving with people as soon as you exit the square, but after about 10 minutes walking, it calms down.
Many of the shops are designer stores in the touristy parts, and they seem to come to an even divide of designer and high street brands. To every five clothes shops, there are six souvenir shops selling magnets, Venetian masks and snow globes. Walking through Venice, not knowing where you are going and not having a destination in mind, is so lovely because you then wander down little streets that you wouldn’t walk down if you were passing to another place. We walked down many little streets, and while some were like any other alley, others had beautiful big wooden double doors and carvings in the brick. Then to walk through a small archway and emerge on a little bridge crossing the water. It’s such a fairytale place.
You will find restaurants all over Venice, and it’s your choice where you eat but generally, like most cities, the further you are away from a tourist attraction, the more affordable the food. If you decide to eat somewhere and there is live music nearby, don’t be surprised if when your bill comes, you are charged for listening to the live music. The local language is, of course, Italian, but English is just as commonly spoken. In fact, you might find when you’re practising your Italian with the waiter, he will reply to you in English.
Venice was just as beautiful as expected, and no matter what you have planned, you will have the best time here.