Thursday, December 19, 2013

Venice (Overnight Call) Part 3 - St Mark's Square, Basilica, Murano, back to Ship

Venice Part 3

Continuing from Part 1 and Part 2, we had just visited the Doge Palace and we were now on the way to the St Mark's Basilica, which is just next door to the Doge Palace.

Trivia - the last Doge of Venice was a chap named Ludovico Manin (1725 to 1802).  He governed Venice till 1797, when he was forced to abdicate by Napolean.  Manin presided over the end of the Venetian Republic.  One can only imagine how he felt!  Poor chap.

Restoration works ongoing.  Well, Venice lives on today.  20 Million tourists a year.

We joined the line to get in.  We had bought the combined ticket earlier, when entering the Doge Palace.  The line looked long, but it moved very quickly.  I cannot imagine what it would be like in summer.

A view of St Mark's square while still in line.  Notice the LG advertisement.  Wonder how much LG paid to have its advertisement there.

Entrance to St Mark's Basilica.  When it was our turn to enter, the security personnel told us that no backpacks were allowed and we had to deposit them at a nearby bag deposit.  He pointed out the directions and told us to return to the front of the line after we deposited the bags.  That was quickly done.

And we are now inside the Basilica.  We were told that gold sheets were used on the ceilings.  I think this partially explains this building's nickname - the Church of Gold.

It was an interesting visit.  I didn't take photos of the ground, but it was clearly uneven.  It felt like the place was sinking!  I hope they have reinforced the Basicila as I am not sure how the walls can stand even as the grounds underneath shift.  We noticed some cracks on the walls too.

After a quick visit, we are out again.  There were many pigeons.  We were told on the cruise ship by the excursions manager that feeding the pigeons would attract a 500 Euro fine.  He called them rats with wings.  He didn't sound like he was joking.  So, be forewarned!

We were fortunate that the sun was out, and the square wasn't flooded.  Look carefully, you can see a couple kissing.

Still kissing. Romantic Venice.

St Mark's Campanile - The bell tower.  It is almost 100m tall and reached its present form in 1514.  However, in 1902, it collapsed.  It was subsequently rebuilt.  So, the tower you see today doesn't date back to 1514.  We didn't ascend the Campanile.

After taking enough pictures, the plan was to head north via foot, to a Vaporetto station called Fondamente Nove. From this station, we would take the Vaproretto to Murano.   The walk from St Marco to Fondamente would take about 30 minutes.  I relied heavily on my trusty CityMaps2Go iPhone App that doesn't require data.  It worked very well and could pinpoint our exact location.

You can see two empty gondolas here.

Many small bridges.

Tourists enjoying their gondola ride.

I didn't hear any singing.  Maybe it was too cold.

Personally, I think the optimum number of passengers in a single gondola is two.  There were five on this one.

Goodbye gondola.  Obviously, the big river buses can't come into these small canals.

Many of the streets we walked past had many shops. This is one example of such a street.

There were also many eateries along the way.  This is an example of a food place.  Free WIFI was offered.

And we keep walking.  We didn't get lost.  I felt like I knew the streets of Venice like the back of my hand, thanks to modern technology.

Finally, we reached F.Nova and we stopped for lunch at a pizza/pasta place very near the river bus stop.  It was called Pizzeria Bar Al Cupido.

The menu.  Unlike the other place, it didn't offer free Wi-Fi.  I figured this place catered more to the locals!

They even have a Facebook page.  You see my iPhone5 on the right?  Yeah, it needs lunch too.  The CityMaps2Go App is very power consuming.

We ordered pizzas and pastas for lunch.  Fortunately, the kids were alright with the Spaghetti Bolognese. One of the challenges with bringing kids out on long vacation is food.  That's why we prefer to cruise, at least at this stage of our lives.  We know for sure that the kids love the food on board the ship.  That is one huge worry less!

The pizza was rather large.  This pizza was ok.

This was a different type of pasta that didn't taste very good.  Anyway, just for trying.

This was a pizza that had anchovies.  Rather salty though.

The restaurant had a TV that was airing some cooking reality show.

After the meal and some coffee, we took the Vaporetta to Murano.  Once we got off, there was this chap that told us to walk a certain way to see the glass making show.

We followed his instructions.

Made it to the glass factory after a 10 minute or so walk.

Spent about 20 minutes watching these three men making decorative glass pieces.

It was interesting, for a while, but not exactly very memorable.

I guess it is a "been there, done that" type of thing.  If you have seen glass making before, I guess you can give this a miss.

Alright, time to take our leave.  We browsed through the galleries.  The glass was rather pretty, but we didn't buy any.  Too fragile!

From the glass factory, we walked to the main canal of Murano.

There wasn't much to see when we walked through, neither were many shops opened.  I think this is because we were there off-season.

Many shops were shut.

After a short walk, it was time to find our way back.  Fortunately, at the Museo Vaporetta station (on the island of Murano), we found Line 4.1 that would bring us all the way back to P.Roma, without having to change boats.

Our second long boat ride for the day.  The sun was out.

This was the Venier stop, also on Murano.

The stops are pontoons.  Very interesting.

We are speeding off.

Goodbye Murano.

Chugging alone.

Chugging? Wait a minute, we aren't on a train.

No train, but that's a crane.

Crane on a boat!

More like crane on a barge.

You know what?  The crane was actually piling pieces of wood into the sea.

Dong, Dong, Dong.  You could hear the piling works ongoing.

We were here earlier.

That was an ambulance boat - Ambulanza!!

Colonna stop, still on Murano.

After Colonna, the boat crosses the channel to get to Venice.  So we have left Murano.

Snow-capped peaks in the distance.  Beautiful scenery.

Back to F.Nova stop.  This was the restaurant where we had our lunch.  We didn't alight at F.Nova since this boat will bring us back to P.Roma.

Passengers alighting and boarding.

Boat passing by, port side.

Wonder where this boat was going.

Some type of delivery boat.  Notice the parcels in front of the boat.  Maybe this was their postal service!

We would now make a left turn into this canal, which would bring us to P.Roma and the Grand Canal.

The stop of Guglie.

This canal was rather quiet.  Fewer shops, most weren't open.

Loved the Smiley Face on the boat.  Also the Smiley Face on the wooden door.

Street vendors.

Open the gates, and you are at the canal.

Oh, the sun was so bright.

We have no reached the Grand Canal and we are heading towards P.Roma.

Next stop, Ferrovia.  Recall, this stop is just after P.Roma.

The fine is 52 Euros.  Remember to validate your ticket before you board.

We approach the bridge.  Saw the bridge this morning as we left P.Roma.

Approach P.Roma.  This is looking forward.

And, we get off.

The routes for Lines 4.1 and 5.1

Doing renovation works.  This place should look much better once the works are completed.

There was the bridge again.  Very modern bridge, definitely not from medieval times.

We were almost back.  A picture of the aft cabins

A closer look.

Getting onboard after a day out in Venice.

The bigger life-boats double up as tender craft.  The smaller ones are used exclusively as life-boats, and not tender boats.

Welcome back.

A view of Venice from the sun deck.

To be continued in the next post!

Back to Celebrity Silhouette Nov 2013 Cruise Landing Page

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