Venice, Italy is the last destination in our Mediterranean journey.             Venice34

There are many islands in the Venetian lagoon? but the most famous are the Lido, Sun Michelle, Murano, Burano, and Torcello.

In Venice is Piazza San Marco, bell chimes, pigeons (brave souls let the birds land on them) and violins play/ St. Marc’s Basilica, the Doge’s Palace, the 9th century bell tower (bronze Moors struck the chimes for more than 500 years), the law courts, and the library (now the Archeological Museum). In the piazetta, where the square opens onto the Grand Canal, two granite columns are surmounted by city icons St. Marks and St. Theodore.

Basilica di San Marco is a masterpiece of Venetian-Byzantine architecture. Built in 830 as St. Mark’s tomb, it was a private chapel for the Doge. The present iteration was constructed during the 11th century and continued into the 16th century. High altar is the famous gold Pala d’Oro. The treasury includes rare relics.

Pink and white Palazzo Ducale (“Doge’s Palace@) is adjacent to the Basilica.

Lined with almost 200 marble palaces built between the 12th and 18th centuries, Venice’s Grand Canal has been referred to as “the world’s finest street with the world’s finest houses”.

We travelled to St. Marco’s Plaza and were just on time. The ancient buildings of 1000 years old, the rectangular square with cobblestone, full of small and big souvenir shops of famous Murano glass, Venetian Carnival masks and many other things glistening and sparkling on sunshine. We entered St. Marco’s Cathedral by free admission on hot Saturday early afternoon. We were amazed by the size of the Cathedral, th eage and Byzantine architecture, rothondas of cruciform shape of the structure! Then we entered the treasury fund and saw the relics which consisted of bones, pottery, icons as well as ancient documents pertaining to that ancient period. The swords, weapons dating from the 10th and 11th century AD attracted our attention too. Lara told the legend about four sarasinos who tried to steal treasures from altar and were caught and executed. The very wise inscription was installed to the right which reads: Venice75“You can do whatever you want but do not forget about cosequences”. Really it is not bad to remember.

That person who has been in Venice and not travelled by gondola, is considered as “not seen Venice”. Three of us attempted to enjoy beautiful gondola travelling. Yanko was in the role of a reporter, taking pictures of us, standing outside the canal. Gleb did it from inside. What an unforgettable panoramic view of Venice from gondola! What a skill a gondolier must have to maneuvre under the canal bridges!

I had been to Venice before, and I was not much impressed by Venice because dirt and smell everywhere. But now it is different. UNESCO put a lot of money in Venice project to clean up the town and waters of this unique city living on the water: the birth of a child, weddings and funerals, policing as well as going to work – everything is done by travelling by water. Vaporetto is a water bus and a water taxi.

Look at the slide show “Venice, Italy”.                           


It was our first cruise experience and from it we learnt that the prices which were advertised and the real prices for cruise were not the same. Gratuities were not mentioned when booking tickets on line, they surprised us at the ship. 500 $ is not a small amount. The next time we will be aware of some hidden costs that could come up.

All in all, the service was good, the stuff was friendly and helpful, the food was excellent. We felt safe and secure and hopefully we will travel by HOLLAND AMERICA LINE in the future.

As for Gleb, he made a lot of new friends via HAL (Holland America Line) Club where they had a great deal of activities and at the end they exchanged with T-shirts with the real signatures of his multi-lingual friends. Larisa got a wonderful suntan and relaxation. We had a wonderful time each of us, and all together.

Now when Lara and Gleb are flying back home to St. Petersburg, we are sitting at Santa Lucia Railway Venice Terminal and waiting for our overnight trian VENICE-WIEN to meet Yanko’s family whom he never met in his 61 years’ life and where his father Viktor Holly had belonged to.

But that will be the other story. Read about it in Social Club category.

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