Venice. What can I say. As I was planning this trip, I had such a hard time trying to decide if we should trek all the way to the Northeast part of Italy to go there. Many people had described it as crowded. Smelly. A tourist trap. Others had said it was beautiful. Unlike any other place in the world. So, you either love it or you hate it is how people seem to feel about Venice.
I went with my gut, and booked our return plane tickets out of the Venice airport. That was before I’d looked into hotels, and transportation, or read about how just about everything there costs an arm and a leg. And I started to regret my decision. But the plane tickets were booked, and, as we kept reminding ourselves, “Venice is sinking…”
So we departed Florence by train, and hit the rails for a 2 1/2 hour ride to the island of Venice. We arrived at the train station, and went with the water taxi option rather than the water bus, as we knew it would take half the time and deliver us right to our hotel’s dock.
We were helped into the water taxi by a well-dressed driver, and we found ourselves in a shiny and beautiful wood-paneled motorboat, with pristine leather seats from end to end. It felt as though we were in a 007 movie as we as stood at the back of the boat and motored down the Grand Canal, with it’s unmistakable green water and palazzos on either side. Then I realized I had tears streaming down my face. Oh boy. And then the kids realized it. There were iphone photos with the evidience, but I deleted them. I think it was a combination of the fact that I was just exhausted from the previous week of travels (I cry when I’m really tired!), and that I was a bit overwhelmed by just how beautiful and unique this place was.
So that was how we arrived. And then I realized that sadly, I’d only planned for us to be there for 48 hours. Because everyone had said that you don’t need any more than that in Venice.
I don’t think it’s true, if you see Venice the right way. Which means getting the heck out of San Marco and its oppressive cruise ship crowds during the day and wandering the canals and bridges and getting lost and sitting in caffés, and talking to shop owners, and visiting the nearby islands. Then come back at night and in the wee hours of the morning, when you are just sharing it with a few other tourists, or maybe, if you’re lucky, have it all to yourselves. So we made the most of our time, and we did all of the above, and here’s a little photo recap.
The building with the red and blue poles on the dock, is our hotel, the Hotel Becher. And the second picture is the view from our room. Don’t even get me started on the tears when the gondola went by our room with the Opera singer…
The girls are on the steps of La Fenice Opera house. Being completely goofy of course. Ellie is proposing to Grace in fact. : )
Waltzing in St. Mark’s Square:
Next morning, I got up at the crack of dawn to go out and take some photos before the crowds arrived. As I was shooting, a Spaniard walked up to me, pointed to the canal and said, “Like an ‘El Dorado’ for photographers!” He was right.
Then I met up with the rest of the family to feed some pigeons (’cause you kinda have to do that in St. Mark’s Square) and visit the Doge’s Palace.
This was taken as I peeked through the inside of the Bridge of Sighs….In the words of Lord Byron, “I stood in Venice on the Bridge of Sighs, a palace and prison on each hand”.
Then we left the crowded San Marco and hopped a ferry boat to the picture book island of Burano, home to the famous lace makers and a rainbow of houses… The first picture here shows the crowds near San Marco vs the quiet side street on the other side of Venice near where we picked up the Ferry to Burano.
Any clients want to fly to Burano for a photo session? I’m in!
We made it back to Venice proper just in time for some Prosecco on the dock, the requisite gondola ride, and one last italian feast.
Last but not least, the girls made the most of a nearly deserted San Marco for a few final waltzes and leaps and spins, and that is a memory they will not soon forget.
And the next morning, after a special breakfast on our hotel dock, we said a sad goodbye to Venice from the cabin of another water taxi as it sped across the Lagoon to the airport.
We can’t wait to go back.
This is the last of three installments from our trip. Here are the links to our recap of Rome and Florence. I’m so happy to have spent this time with my family, and to have had the creative opportunity to photograph my views of these beautiful places!