Starting our second day in Venice with breakfast in bed, our hotel was really earning itself some brownie points. We soon got ourselves ready and out for another day of exploring. First on the agenda was a visit to the Basilica in San Marco Square. During our brief wandering yesterday, we’d noticed what looked like really low tables stacked around the Basilica entrance. Assuming they were left over from a strange short market, we hadn’t paid them much attention. Today, however, they were still in place for their actual purpose – walkways!
San Marco Square regularly floods, to varying extents, as the tide comes in. The walkways are erected around the Basilica and surrounding areas to allow people to walk around without having to get wet. And I’m talking more than just a tiny puddle kind of wet…
Joining the fast-moving queue for the Basilica, we stepped up onto the walkways and made our way into the church. Although a sign stood by the entrance stating there was a €21 fee for tours, there were no cash desks or tour guides in sight, so we joined the throngs of people and made our own way around. Unlike many churches, the main seating area was cordoned off, and the different areas of interest in the church were a separate fee. As there were only certain parts available to visit and wander around in, the crowds tend to flow like a conveyor belt around the church, sucking you in as you go. Not being a huge fan of this, we didn’t stay in the main church for too long.
Upstairs is a museum, at a reasonable €5 entrance per person. Parting with the cash, we made our way straight to the balcony we’d seen people on earlier. This alone made the entrance fee worth it in my mind, as you get an uninterrupted view of the square, and plenty of great photo opportunities. After a few pictures and a spot of people watching, the museum actually proved quite interesting so we made the most of our ticket and had a closer look at the history of the church and the interesting decorations not clearly visible from the ground.
Much of Venice’s charm is the delightful maze of streets, where all of the buildings look so different until you are lost, at which point they all look just the same. After a harrowing walk across San Marco Square avoiding the monster seagulls, we wandered aimlessly in no real direction, just to see what we’d stumble upon.
Cute squares, charming homes and crammed shops all came and went, and we soon realised we’d gotten lost. Though, as my boyfriend pointed out, we weren’t heading anywhere, and had nowhere to be, so were we really lost? Deciding I was on holiday and that was a bit too deep, we continued until we came out on the Grand Canal. Giving us a bit of guidance on which direction to head in, we stopped for a plate of gnocchi, discovered the joys of ‘cover charge’, then ended up back at Rialto Bridge to continue exploring.
Before long we found ourselves nearing Ferrovia, and found what can only be described as the Venetian Harrods. In full window-shopping mode, we had a good look around many of the stores, discussing what we’d buy if we hadn’t brought rucksacks, and finally managed to find thread to fix my coat after the Great Rip of 2016 had occurred the day before.
Desperate to fix the ever growing hole in my coat, we headed straight back to the hotel to allow me to make an attempt to sew it back together. Although not perfect, my stitches worked their magic and we were soon off for a slice of pizza and lasagne by the Grand Canal with our family.