Our flight out of Venice wasn’t until 6:30pm, and the ship kicks you off by 10:30am at the latest, usually, so we figured we’d spend some of the last day wandering around Venice. We planned to get off the ship at first opportunity (8:10am), but our alarm didn’t go off and so we ended up not leaving until closer to 9:30am. I don’t know for sure, but I think we would have avoided crowds at left luggage and the vaporetto stop if we’d gotten out earlier. We had some craziness in the port, because we found out we could do left luggage there for pick-up at the train station, which seemed perfect for us. But, a) we found out the better way to get to the airport was the bus, not the train and b) we didn’t have enough Euros on hand to pay for left luggage. So, we headed to Piazza Roma where we could pick up the buses and leave our luggage there, as well as get Euros. The line for left luggage wrapped around the building, so I stood in line while DH got currency and got the lowdown on our bus options. By the time DH was done, I was near the front of the line, and we dropped off our big bags without further incident.
Since we hadn’t made it inside the Basilica last time, we decided to head there first thing. The line was a good bit shorter than before. We didn’t cheat the line (though we’d heard how to do it…if you have a bag to drop off around the corner, they give you a line pass on the assumption that you stood in line already and then found out that you can’t take bags into the Basilica), though DH did have a bag to drop off. It was not a long wait as the line moved very quickly. We also got to watch the big and famous clock change over, the one that supposedly was so important and popular in Venice that they killed the people that made it so that it would never be duplicated elsewhere. IIRC, it’s the first clock to have a digital-esque time display. It shows the time as XI:35 (11:35) and then goes up in five minute increments, in addition to having an analog-style clock. DH noticed in Venice and in Croatia that they have/had 24-hour analog clocks, with hours from 1-24 instead of 1-12. It made us both wonder when and how the world shifted to the 12-hour clock face instead.
While the inside is very pretty and Rick Steves’ commentary on it was interesting, I was underwhelmed. I’d wrongly gotten the impression that the ceiling used the Murano cracked glass to be sparkly, but it’s just gold-leaf everywhere. It does have interesting illumination, and I never fail to be impressed at what people managed to do before the industrial era, but I went in with higher expectations. Unlike many other tourists, I did not cheat and take pictures despite the numerous signs saying no photography. After the Basilica, we sought out a cafe that was recommended by our Lonely Planet guide, Cavatappi, and it was everything that was promised. The pasta of the day was delicious. Mine was Penne Amatracino, which was penne pasta in a spicy tomato sauce with bacon chunks in it. DH had lasagna. The prices were very reasonable, and the service was very friendly.
Our plan at this point was to just meander through the Venice streets back to the Piazza Roma (DH pointed out, btw, that I’m getting the name of that slightly wrong, but I don’t feel like editing it all over the place right now, nor do I have the correct spelling handy). It was around 1.5 miles back (I tracked it with my Garmin watch, so I’ll have a map later once I sync), through twisty-turny alleys and over little canals just wide enough for one boat. We stopped by a bridge known as the Tits Bridge, because prostitutes used to stand on it and advertise their wares. Then, we crossed the Rialto bridge (you get a better view of the Grand Canal from the vaporetto, so if you don’t like crowds, skip the Rialto.) We also ended up going by a church with huge Corinthian-style columns. And, of course, we got more gelato. 🙂