Monday, October 8, 2012


Our pensione (similar to a hotel) was located near the stop "Zattere" which translates to last stop.

We reserved a room at the Pensione Seguso. Our beautiful room was overlooking a canal, with two small balconies. A small elevator that probably belongs in a museum helped us move our baggage. Hotels in Venice can be famously expensive, so we had budgeted twice our normal expenditure for this night.

We checked into our room, and began exploring Venice. Venice is truly one of the world's beautiful cities. Tourists quickly learn that getting lost in Venice, is just part of the experience. A map did not help. But once you get a feel for the major canals, such as the Grand Canal, and the major bridges, like the Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto), you will become more oriented. We did get completely lost at one point, but a shop-keeper was very helpful.

Venice is an ancient city, but well maintained. More than 50,000 tourists visit Venice each day during peak season (about 3 million annually).

The Grand Canal, photo by Ruth

The Grand Canal (Canal Grande) winds like a backward "S" through Venice. Most of the buildings date from the 13th through the 18th centuries.

The Rialto Bridge, photo by Ruth

The Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto) is one of Venice' landmarks. It crosses the Grand Canal, and was finished in 1591. There are shops on both sides of the bridge interior. In 1591, Ivan the Terrible had been dead for four years, William Shakespeare had yet to complete his first play, and Galileo, a Professor at the University of Padua, near Venice, would invent the thermometer two years later.

We returned to Venice on our cruise, again on Sunday. We used the ship's bus shuttle to transport us to the airport. It is about a 30 minute journey once underway. The Venice airport should be avoided for departures on Saturday or Sunday. Most cruise ships arrive and depart on these two days. The Venice airport is a zoo.

If we had a "do-over", we would do the same trip, but instead of using Venice as our connection point, we would choose either Bari (or Ancona). Unlike most cruise lines, MSC lets passengers book round trip voyages from many ports, and Bari is convenient and much less crowded. Our cruise would have resulted in the same stops, but would have started on Monday, and completed on Monday, from Bari. We would have treated Venice as a port of call on Sunday.


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