24 Hours in Venice.
Hooray, managed to meet up with Margot in Venice. Her cruise ship arrived on Saturday afternoon and was overnighted there. I managed to get the weekend off and took a five-hour train journey east across Italy to get there around four in the afternoon. Margot’s ship is huge compared to the “small” fifty-metre boat that I’m on. Compare a crew of 11 and guests of 10 to crew of 1000 and 3000 passengers. As usual I got harassed by security when trying to board the Carnival Liberty. Luckily Margot had signed me on as a visitor and after having my picture taken, bag and self scanned I was allowed on board. Margot was working so I had to wait for her in her cabin (four times the size of mine – room to swing a cat!). She was taking pictures of passengers as they left the boat to explore Venice.
Like I said the ship is huge, with bars and entertainment areas on each level. I only got to see levels 0 to 9 by my high-speed tour guide who desperately wanted to get off the ship. I got to meet most of Margot’s colleagues from the photo department. They are well organised with gallery area for selling prints and cameras; and very smart photo lab for prints, enlargements, canvases etcetera.
We managed to book a really smart hotel, for only †120 including breakfast; a few minutes walk from St Marcs Square. Managed to get Margot off the ship without too much trouble (she is not allowed to spend past 10pm on land) and catch a water taxi and then a short walk to St Antonios Hotel, only to find that I had left my passport in Genoa and had to make a passport number up. No problem 4129777234 no that’s a bit long 41779724 OK that’s about right. Hotel guy was very accommodating.
What a really friendly place and excellent service and a real luxury room (compared to our bunk beds) with little balcony overlooking the back streets of Venice. The exploration of Venice was quiet confusing, even with a map, and the 10 minute walk to St Marcs took an hour and a half or more, we just made it in time for the Gondola ride we had booked. Unfortunately we had to share with a grumpy old American couple. Luckily Margot jumped in and we managed to get the comfy seats and the Americans the stools. They complained the whole way. It was apparently his 70th birthday, but the gondolier said they were not married so we got the good seats. He He He! They turned out to be passengers on Margot’s ship and she has had to hide from them, behind her camera, this last week. We took along our own mini bottle of local Italian “champagne” and drank it while being serenaded and cruising the canals. Very romantic and we both had a wonderful time. We made it back to the hotel in less than 10 minutes as I let Margot take the map (so much for the mountain guides navigation skills!). The streets are full of vendors selling all sorts of interesting things, and shops selling cloths, Venetian glass and of course Italian shoes. I had a hard time steering Margot away from all the tempting shopping. Not the cheapest place in Europe to go shopping!
It was so nice to sleep in a big bed that you could stretch out in and not bang your head when you sat up (we both have been in bunk beds for far too long). Also the floor did not sway gently when you stood up.
Great continental breakfast with good Italian coffee and then a leisurely stroll back to the boat for Margot and the train station for me. Twenty-four hours was gone in a flash! Time flies when you have loads to catch up on (and are madly in love) and it was over before it had really begun. Thank goodness we are now on the same time zone (none of this subtracting 9 hours or is it adding? I never remember), so we can at least communicate more easily.