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Published: November 4th 2019
In the morning, onto a late train, and arriving in Venice, ITALY. To get to the hotel, a water bus is taken a couple of stops. Such a unique city made up of 118 little islands, with streets of canals and passage by 400 bridges. The GPS has a terrible time. This City of Water is thought to have been the first international finance center created in the 9th Century. Today, over tourism is creating severe problems for Venice’s ecosystem, and UNESCO considered adding the city to the “In-Danger” list in 2017. One of the huge issues is cruise ships which drop off 30,000 sight seers per day. The City Council’s solution is to charge day visitors an access fee to reduce the city maintenance cost on Venice residents. This is expected to be implemented in January 2020. A long term solution needs to be found. I’m wondering how climate change and rising water levels will affect the future of Venice.
In the hotel breakfast room, we meet a Canadian couple from Quebec. We are leaving touring, and they are heading for the train station, laden with luggage. We offer to assist them. Monique hangs her purse over the suitcase
handle, and while walking, I notice a young gal go after this purse. I chase and yell at her, but she is gone. The purse zipper is open, but luckily, nothing is missing. Meanwhile, a guy offers to carry a suitcase for her husband Phillip over the bridge. He starts going very fast, and Chris catches up with him. He demands to be paid 10 euros for his services and is told no. He starts yelling, and then leaves. That was not a good experience for any of us.
Back on our own, it is off to the laundry service, and then head to St. Mark’s Square which is the center of the city. The Basilica is known as the church of gold, because of the gold mosaics, and has an Oriental flair. Close by the square is a lovely coffee shop. How fortunate to score a table by the window, but looking at the menu reveals that a cup of cappuccino costs $16.50. We leave, and find somewhere more reasonable. In picking up the laundry, I laugh because it costs less than that prima cup of coffee.
A good portion of the day is spent looking for
the Liberia Acqua Alta bookstore. Inside the books fill every nook and cranny, and are stored in vessels of a bathtub, and a gondola. The books that were sodden during a flood, have been used to build stairs. Tucked between stacks of novels are bowls of cat food, for this shop is a cat haven to many.
Today is the Day of Saints, and therefore is a holiday. It is time to see the real Venice, so it is onto the water bus to visit the island of Lido. This long sandbar actually has a beach which am sure the Italian people flock to in the summer. Looks like this area could also be a major retirement location. All around the waterways of Venice we go, and next stop is the island of Burano which was settled by Romans. This fishing village has brightly painted homes, and is known for their school of lacemaking.
At 6AM in the dark, we are standing alone at the edge of a canal waiting for the water bus to the train station. It is interesting watching the boats go by loaded with laundry, groceries, plants, and liquor. This is one of the
reasons everything is so expensive here, as all goods must be brought in by water. There is more to Venice than just the canals and the Rialto district where all the tourists seem to congregate. Explore!
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