We finally made it to the Doge's Palace and thought it was very grand indeed! MN's favourite part was the section of the golden staircase dedicated to Venus (I think I mentioned before that she's been "collecting" Venuses during our trip). However she was disappointed in the dungeons - they were not what she was hoping for (dark, dank, damp spooky places are up her alley...these were too light and airy, relatively speaking, of course!) TG loved it all, especially the BIG room (memory failure and can't recall its real name, famous though it may be.)
After the Palace, we thought we'd peek into San Marco but the line up was incredibly long so we decided to try again another time. Instead we went on a gondola ride...I was prepared for the high prices, or so I thought! The first station we checked (near the Rialto) was 100 euro...eek, run away, run awaaay!!! We thought we'd try another location so took the traghetta over to Cannereggio (much fun crossing the Grand Canal whist standing in the traghetto) and tried the gondolas on the other side. These were 80 euro so we said what the heck, probably is the best price we'll find so we took one of these. Our gondolier (Leno, I think...at least that's what it sounded like) was fantastic. He pointed out the landmarks of course, as do they all, but as an added bonus he had a wonderful rich voice and sang much of the trip. Quite magical riding through the quiet side rio with a singing gondolier! We really did not see many gondoliers singing to their passengers so it seemed quite a wonderful treat. The girls really enjoyed themselves, more so because they got the comfy seats! When we got in Leno tried to steer them to the side seats saying "no no, mama e papa" for the comfy seats, but I said it was ok since the ride was really for them after all.
This morning we took the vaporetto to San Giorgio...we had to go all the way around the island since that was the only vaporetto going from the Rialto to San Giorgio. Probably faster to have walked to San Marco and hopped on the vaporetto from there, but we have our VeniceCards so the vaporetto cost was not an issue...besides I happen to LOVE riding the boats - must be my Maritime roots! Anyway, it was a lovely ride - we got the seats right up front for the whole 40ish (?) minute journey so had fab views of Venice and neighbouring Giudecca islands.
San Giorgio is gorgeously huge and airy feeling, I loved it. And the view from the Campanile is stunning!!! When we hopped on the elevator (no stairs), I said buon giorno and the attendant said "Inglese?"...guess I'll have to work on my accent if it was that obvious! (Or maybe our chatter and obvious tourist paraphenalia, including English guidebook gave us away.)
After S Giorgio, we went to the Frari and wow, Titian's Assumption is stunning, absolutely stunning. It just glows with light and colour...incredibly hard to drag my eyes off it. I must return to see it again, if not this trip then another.
I have had "solo" evening walks with Dave, TG and MN now. The walk with Dave I mentioned in my last post. The next evening, TG and I wandered around San Polo, Dorsoduro and San Marco in the rain - well it didn't rain the whole time but we definitely got a bit wet. The vendors were all over the place trying to sell umbrellas, which was funny because right beside them were people with umbrellas blowing inside out with the high winds. It was a great evening and we enjoyed seeing the not-so-serene side of Venice!
Last night MN and I headed out. She wanted to return to Giardini to hang her feet in the lagoon. We took the vaporetto (like me, MN loves it...TG not so much though). We found a spot way out by S Elena and sat enjoying the waves. What a lovely spot out there, lots of trees, grass and absence of crowds! We got a bit wet since the rogue waves splooshed up higher than we expected - we are used to the Atlantic but I thought the lagoon looked much tamer, which it was but less tame than expected.