Secret Venice

Off the Beaten Path
Day 5 – Thursday starts off with a visit to a famous glass factory, Vecchia Murano. We then stroll in Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) where we adeptly avoid being dumped on by the pigeons. St. Mark’s is a little bit of a personal disappointment – I was expecting more, not sure what – but something inspiring – not the inspiration I had felt looking at Ernst Haas photos in my youth (Haas and Helmut Newton were my favourite photographers as a kid).

We line up and follow the tourist herd through The Basilica of St. Mark – very impressive but so restricted – a common thread throughout our Italian trip will be the beauty of the churches and cathedrals.

Later that day, we hire a guide to take us through what is billed as Secret Venice. Well, there’s nothing really secret about where she takes us, but she’s very knowledgeable and pleasant – well except for that incredibly annoying “yooohoooo” she makes after each stop. This sound, meant to keep us from getting separated, drives Zad nuts – even today I can piss him off easily by mimicking it!

Our guide takes us well off the beaten path, through endless colourful winding streets, leaving the tourists behind, viewing Marco Polo’s purported home and other interesting local sites.

The guide is very concerned about the sinking of Venice. Will it still be around 50 years from now? The government still doesn’t seem to have a sound plan in place. It could be the next Atlantis.

We walk for hours in the heat, touring the stores, crossing the Rialto bridge, stopping for delicious Pizza in a restaurant owned and run by Asians (how ironic), and almost sampling gelato at a famous gelateria – almost – talk about self-restraint.

We return to the hotel by boat/shuttle in the evening and dine well at the hotel. All together another great day despite the canicule (the hot period between early July and early September).

Next stop Burano.