Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Venice - Oct Break 2012

We kicked off October travel week a day early with the 6th grader, flying to Venice the day before our cruise kicked off in order to tour the city.  Our travel agent recommended Hotel Flora in the heart of the city and it was full of old world charm.  Here is the inner courtyard where you could enjoy a glass of wine in the evening or breakfast in the morning.

Friday afternoon, we strolled from the hotel over to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) to take a look.  And I'm glad we did because the next morning it was very foggy and thus resulted in some less than perfect pictures of the scenery.

The basilica is in the midst of restoration and cleaning, but I was still impressed by the intricate mosaics, both inside and out.  Some of the tile pieces seemed to be about the size of my fingernail and I can only imagine how much effort went into creating the multitude of scenes and figures on the ceilings.

Adjacent to the basilica is the Doges Palace.  Isn't the entrance (below) grand?  The exterior was interesting - got an unexpected profile shot of the husband's head.  Unfortunately, we didn't have time to take a peek inside the palace.

The gondolas were amazing to see, cruising through the "streets" past various boat traffic and scooting beneath the many walkways over the water with nary a person getting knocked off or dumped into it.

The next morning, we awoke to fog that never completely lifted.  Not letting that dampen our spirits, we embarked on a two hour walking tour through the very crowded streets of Venice.  If it was this busy in the shoulder season, then I wouldn't have wanted to set foot in this city of water during the high season.   

Above you see the two columns in the Piazzetta which connects St. Mark's square to the lagoon.  Below is a close up shot of St. Theodore, the patron saint of Venice before he was replaced by St. Mark.  This statue of him riding a crocodile just tickled my funny bone.  Beneath Theo is the 15th century clock tower that is located directly across the square from these two columns.  It's pretty obvious which pic was taken on a clear Friday evening versus Saturday morning fog.

On a sunny day, this is the view from the clock tower over to the lagoon.

As soon as our walking tour ended, we trotted back over to our hotel where we retrieved our luggage and enjoyed a private guided tour in a water taxi for the next hour. Churches and palaces and famous bridges (Rialto) were scattered up and down the Grand Canal.  Even in the fog they were a sight to behold.  

And last but not least, a few odds and ends from my lens.  Continuing in the footsteps of the teen, who was on her own senior humanities trip to Florence and Rome, I snapped pics of various dogs and cats over the course of travel week.  In Venice, this was my favorite pooch strolling with its owner near an old decorative well that had been covered.

Reminiscent of buildings in Germany, I spied some sort of dragon creature on the corner.  It seems to me that he's holding what appears to be a cluster of umbrellas in his mouth.  Interesting... and I have absolutely no idea what this represents.

Finally, in honor of halloween today, I'm wrapping up this post with a pic I snapped on the side of a Venetian building as we were strolling along on our walking tour Saturday morning.  I think the four heads are beautiful, in a slightly creepy, maybe their eyes are following me sort of way.

No comments:

Post a Comment