We left Rovinj early for a four-hour bus ride to the fabled city of Venice (Venizia). We arrived around 1pm on May 30th. But our tour director had to deal with a transit strike in Venice. Kelly was thinking fast when she lined up three hotel shuttle taxis to get us into and out of the west end of the island on which Venice is built. We made it in time to have a nice afternoon and evening of individual touring and a group dinner.
Kathy and I split off from the group to ride the Vaporettos, water buses that ply the Grand Canal. Because of the strike, we were only able to ride it to the Rialto Bridge. There we met up with Quinn and Laura Spann, their daughter Micaela, and our granddaughter Julia. We hired a gondola and set off for a 40-minute ride through some of the canals (streets) of the city. Great adventure! Afterwards we wandered though the city to Piazza San Marco. It is an immense square, the size of two football field, with an astronomic clock, two ranks of office buildings, St. Marks Basilica, a bell tower, and the Doge’s Palace, which borders the Grand Canal.
We met our tour group in front of the Basilica at 6:45 and had supper at a funky pizza place near St. Mark’s Square. It started raining hard while we were eating. When we left, we had to find our way back to the railway station and taxi park on the west end, across the Grand Canal twice. All you had for reference were occasional signs on the building walls that had an arrow and the words “Via Ferrovia” (to the train station). We got off track at least three times in the narrow streets with the dark and pouring rain. Kathy and I were the last ones to make it to the taxi stand at 9:30. Even though we were on time, it had a few people worried. Wet and soggy, even with raincoats, we rode back to our hotel for a hot shower and a good night’s rest. Tomorrow, Milan (Milano).