Monday, December 8, 2008


Gondolas for hire . . . if you're feeling rich

Palazzo Ducale on November 27. On December 1, I would have been standing up to my neck in water.

San Marco in afternoon sun

In Venice, we drank Italian coffee in the morning sun by a canal and watched a German couple negotiate the price of a 20-minute gondola ride--80 euros ($130 CAD) with hard bargaining, including the old "walk away" tactic. It's off-season, too, so you can get an idea of the sticker shock we experienced.

It was of course wonderful to walk in Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square), and visit the church when the low afternoon sunshine lit the gold domes and mosaics. We were interested to note the appearance of elevated walkways, about two feet high, all over the city from one day to the next. Dan bet the city was expecting floods, but we were still amazed to see the photo in the December 2 Irish Times newspaper: a woman waded thigh-deep past the pillars of the Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace), where we had been snapping photos just a few days earlier. The prepared walkways were nowhere to be seen, useless at only about two feet high (although perhaps the woman in the news photo is actually standing on one of these and the water would be up to her upper chest otherwise). The paper reported that the water reached five feet two inches deep before it began to recede.

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