The rest of this post was written yesterday ... here's how we racked up over 10 miles.
This morning was a logistics roller coaster of sorts - we walked straight to the vaporetto (passenger ferry) dock without getting lost (!) and hopped right on a boat going down the Grand Canal to St. Mark's Square. But then we tried to find the meeting point for our first booked tour, the Clock Tower. We were sent back and forth between a currency change office and tour groups that were not ours multiple times, never actually finding our guide. There weren't any other English-speaking people around either (French, German, Spanish, and Italian were all prevalent). After a frustrating hour spent cursing our lack of bilingualism, we guessed that we were the only ones who signed up for the tour so the guide must have decided not to show. Having booked and paid for the tour online in advance, we were really disappointed, but decided to "shake it off" and proceed to our next booked tour at the Doge's Palace. The Doge's Palace was amazing, so beautiful and such rich history! We spent a while seeing the main parts of the palace, then met up with our tour group for the "Secret Itineraries" tour. We got to go through areas of the palace that are off-limits to the general public, like the prison cells, and up countless narrow flights of stairs to the attic, which housed even more prison cells, torture chamber, and display cases of all kinds of medieval weapons. We learned about Casanova's time spent locked up there and his rather dramatic escape. I got some awesome pictures with the DLSR camera that I'll post later on.
Breakfast in the hotel courtyard
All the pretty wooden boats
No roads = delivery boats instead of delivery trucks
Amazing the tight turns and small side canals these boats navigate
More Grand Canal scenery
St. Mark's Square
Why would you want this many birds pooping on you? Not sure but she seemed to be having a good time!
The lovely Clock Tower - bummer we didn't get to see the inner workings!
The prison part of the Doge's Palace - not a place you'd want to be during high water!
Another prison cell in the attic
Where the politics went down in Venice
The wooden ceiling beams and brackets were impressive!
Damon with all sorts of weapons
The Golden Staircase
Venice is full of amazing details
Laura with weapons and armor in the attic of the Doge's Palace
After lunch we toured St. Mark's basilica and then went up in Venice's version of the Space Needle, the Campanile (bell tower). This evening we went on a walking tour of "Secret Venice" that ended with a gondola ride. Very romantic! Now we're having a light dinner and wine at a cicchetti bar recommended by Rick Steves. Tomorrow is "boat day" when we'll go out to the islands of Murano and Burano, where they're known for making glass and lace, respectively. Hopefully that means less walking but we'll see!
Gorgeous day in Venice - view from the Campanile
Fun to see all the boat traffic
The Doge's Palace from the Campanile
The waterfront at St. Mark's Square
St. Mark's Square. The steps lining the square look inviting to sit down and take a break on, but be warned that'll get you a ticket. We were warned and told to move our asses!
In the Campanile
Enjoying the Campanile views
Another look at the lagoon
On the way back up the Grand Canal - a door that struck my fancy
Interesting to see the replacement of piers on the Grand Canal
Damon had some down time at the hotel while I went shopping for scarves and jewelry :)
Cool boat passing by the hotel & Damon
Enjoying some downtime and a cold beer
Canals at night, on the walking tour
The mask shop that made all the masks for the movie "Eyes Wide Shut"
Another quiet side canal
Somewhat creepy faces protect some of the doors/homes in Venice
The glass shops were everywhere in Venice and were especially pretty at night!