Ah, Venice. A cluster of islands, off the coast of northeast Italy, dissected by a maze of canals and narrow streets. Shops, restaurants, cafes and tourists galore.
How do you spend a day in a city that one guidebook said could take three months to fully explore?
We started with a water-taxi ride from the train station along the Grand Canal to Piazza San Marco. Crowded boat, but a fun, picturesque journey.
We walked through the impressive Basilica di San Marco (I remembered to take off my hat this time.) The guidebook said it is one of the greatest buildings in Europe. The mosaics are beyond belief.
It was time to explore. Punctuated by lunch and a pause for coffee and pastry, we wandered along narrow passageways, often climbing up and down steps on the countless bridges. Where did the crowds go? We kept track of which district we were in, but otherwise left the map in my back pocket.
About an hour before our train, we found the perfect place for a drink next to the Grand Canal. Not far from the station, we debated whether to have the smaller or larger carafe of wine. This is Venice! Very enjoyable, but probably not a wise choice.
A couple of wrong turns led us off the map 15 minutes before our train was to take us back to Verona. We picked up the pace when Sue saw the tronchetto (people mover) and found it on the map. We were nearly running. It was a couple of minutes after departure time, but the sign said our train was delayed. Yes! Sue ran for the train and made it through the door as I validated our ticket in the machine on the platform. The whistle blew and the door closed…behind me!