When I was very young, less than 7, we had a jig-saw and we all sat around the table as a family and completed it together. There was green water, there were boats and poles and men in striped sweaters and arched windows with blinds.. it was Venice.
50-odd years later..last week... I got to visit the jigsaw puzzle picture. It did not disappoint.
How can I begin to describe the impact it had on me? Its as different and magical as anywhere I've been, but then, I'm not that well traveled.
Let the photos commence!
Its been a tough job whittling them down to these 'few'
From the airport we took a bus to the Vaporetto stop, and immediately the magic of Venice was upon us as the water bus took us a few stops along the Grand Canal to our stop at the Rialto Market where we were met by our apartment manager.
After checking into our apartment we went to the nearest square and joined in with what seemed to be a Saturday special of fried seafood and wine .
Strolling through the streets we saw lots of dogs of all shapes and sizes. I liked this scene as two passed each other.
Then a sit down and our first prosecco.
In the evening we strolled some more in pursuit of yet more food.
Here's the food I had...potato gnocchi with crab and asparagus.
Very delicious. In Osteria Al Ponte. Lovely atmosphere. Lovely food. Great welcome.
Now I, being a Catholic, and always going to Sunday Mass when on Holiday, took the opportunity to go to mass at St Marks. The queue to get in snaked its away around the square. We were a bit late so running up to the guard on the entrance I just said 'mass?" and was told 'Side entrance'.
Well..I can honestly say I have never had so much trouble concentrating on the actual service. The surroundings are amazing. Mosaic everywhere. Although having said that I did find it a very spiritual experience despite only having found the English text after it was over.
After mass there was plenty of time to have look round and if you don't count the collection it was free!
Every detail of the building is amazing. The marble floors are intricate and beautiful.
Other parts of the floor...not so good! My husband said 'the lion of St Mark on the mats looks like a teddy bear.' I have to agree. I did spot it whilst going up for communion .
Outside, the buildings in the square are just as spectacular and if you look up you don't see the hundreds and hundreds of tourists.(.I know, we were two of them.)
The cafes in the piazza are by all accounts very expensive and we looked on as the 'wealthy' sat drinking and listening to the jolly little orchestra.
and waiters flew around whisking trays above their heads.
Little chubby lions stood guard, patiently enduring children and some adults leaping on their backs for photographs,
while other creatures, flatter creatures conversed on the walls.
St Theodore looked on from above with his crocodile.
From there we strolled along towards the Castello and Arsenale area.
It was quieter away from St Marks and we enjoyed just mooching about through almost empty Sunday streets along the canals.
I can't guarantee that all these pictures were taken on that walk and in that area...it really was all a blaze of 'scenes' to me.
Who would have thought that a window box full of succulents could be so decorative?
We suddenly came upon a park in the centre of which was a monument to Garibaldi rising out of a small pond.
I don't speak Italian but I have a feeling that this poster suggest it may be a bad idea to dispose of turtles in the pond as they grow to enormous sizes.
Just look at the range of greens on these doors.
Lines of washing were strung across some of the canals in this quiet area,
More shades of green.
I just love the colours in this picture.
Even the doorbells are different.
Throughout our trip we travelled through little winding streets and passed hundreds of shops.
Hundreds of shops selling glass, masks, hand marbled paper, pens, bags, of course, anything a city usually has to offer and lots more.
The glove shop. Nothing else just gloves.
A cheese shop.
A dress shop
A carnival costume shop
Marzipan goldfish anyone?
Pig shaped salami anyone?
Not forgetting one of many huge-pizza shops.
On Sunday evening we dined at La Madonna I didn't enjoy my meal as much as the night before but the dessert was fab-u-lous. Zabaiglione ice cream! They had only a little as it had been for a special occasion and it was amazing.
These three came in and played all around and then we realised they were the same three who played every morning in the street outside our apartment! Same tunes every day.
So I think it might be a good time to finish this part of the Venice trip and have part two later! I'm sure no-one will want to read much more. If you have done, thanks for reading this far.