Saturday, August 31, 2013

Day 42 Venice 1

The excitement has been building as one the highlights for us on this cruise is Venice.  This was one sail in we certainly did not want to miss,  we were up really early so we wouldn’t miss a thing.  The skies were looking threatening and storms were predicted but we just packed up our umbrella’s and poncho’s and headed out ready to brave it all.
Princess had arranged a water shuttle service to take us to and from St Marks square. Each day we were given a ticket that could be used (unlimited) in that 24hour period and charged $15  each .  If you didn’t use your ticket on the day you could take it back and get a refund.  

Day 42 Venice 1 2

On this first day we decided to walk into St Marks weaving our way around the canals. We walked from the ship to the port gates. Here we could either catch the people mover through to the Placa d Roma or walk, which was our choice.  Now we pulled the map out to start off in the direction that we needed to follow... we soon realised that we didn’t need to refer to the map  as on most corners there were  signs pointing to St Marks or to the Rialto.  Some were professionally printed signs and other were a bit graffiti that someone decided to add to help out. Through many lanes, over lots of bridges not knowing what we were going to see when we got to the other side.  Some lanes so narrow that you were lucky to see daylight around Garry’s shoulders.  
We did pass the Frari Church but as it was Sunday morning we didn’t go in as mass was in  progress.  We found the Rialto bridge which is a hive of activity and you have to be quick to snag a good spot to take a picture ... though my pet hate, which is something that you not only find in Venice but in many other places of interest is that they hang advertising banners on these iconic structures ..... to me the greatest form of graffiti.
We did have a man who offered to take our photo and before I knew it he was snapping away on my camera.  Suddenly I had this pang that this man looked like he WAS going to run off with my camera and when he asked us to look loving in to each others eyes I thought “oh oh this is it “ so with one eye looking at Garry and the other trying to watch this guy and a grimace on my face that I am sure did not photograph well.....  but lo and behold he did give me my camera back..... phew I thought ...... then the hand came out.... that would be one euro please!!!
A quick coffee from a grumpy Venetian ( Venice seem to have a lot of these ) then onto St Marks Square... The line was short so we made our way up the bell tower for some sweeping views of st Marks and the surrounding Venice. We were even treated to a concert put on by the bells just above our heads..... the are large and loud and just amazing to watch the 2 bells swinging from side to side.

Day 42 Venice 1 3

We had tickets booked to visit the Doges Palace and the Basilica on the second day,  so we decided to hop on a ferry and pop over to Murano. A lot of the glass blowers were on holidays but we did manage to find one show room to put on a show for us... Not just that, but we were sure that we had Vin Diesel do the honours for us... Murano is a quaint little town far away from the Maddening Venice crowds.
Back to Venice and more exploring snapping up a few bargains.... well as bargain as you can get here in this generally expensive town.
We were now ready for our Gondola Ride which was basically a 45 min trip around the block.  The skies were starting to look really ominous now and those predicted thunder storms were now starting  to come to fruition.
We found a small restaurant in a back street and just as well the view was a construction site as they quickly shuffled us inside before the heavens opened up.  The food was delicious but I must say that the bread in Venice has got nothing on Greece and probably the worst we have had on this whole trip.
Now it was really raining so we got out the umbrellas and decided that the only thing to do now was to return to the ship.  We walked back to the Rialto and had to wait a while until a Vaporetto came along empty enough  to take us back to Placa d Roma.  Then it was about a 20 min walk back to the ship in pouring rain and lighting flashing around us.... so lucky we did the trip in the morning and kind of remembered our way back through the maze they call their port.
We ended the day with night cap upon deck which rounded our day off nicely.

Day 40 Dubrovnik

One again up early to watch our sail into Dubrovnik and one again another sail in that did not disappoint.  As soon as we hopped off the ship we went down and hired a taxi to take us on what they call the Panoramic City Tour for 50 euro’s . In one our they take to several vantage points where you can get some great pictures of the ship and the old town.  The look out up where the cable car takes you to is magnificent.  It is so hard to believe that this city was so damaged by war and not that long ago.  But according to our taxi driver times are very good in Croatia now.

We booked him for another hour and he drove us out along the Croatian Riviera as far as Cavtat and brought us back again.   We did stop at a little sea side area where we saw what once would have been beautiful hotels along the Beach.


Day 40 Dubrovnik 2

He dropped us off at the Polce Gate where we stopped for a quick coffee before we attacked the wall.... We walked the whole wall and all I can say is “ it was hot “ ..... up, down and round and round we went, taking in all the different views that can be seen until we completed a whole circuit.

We stopped for a quick lunch and a much lighter lunch that we had been having as I am sure all this port food is starting to take it’s toll.  We then decided to follow one of our walking tour maps just to get around the city to see the major sites and just pottered around the small lanes ways  even a little walk down by the water until it was time to head back to ship.