Our last 2 days on our Mediterranean and Greek Isles Cruise were spent in Venice…Bella Venezia. I was very excited because along with Santorini, Venice was one of the two places I most wanted to visit. Venice is an archipelago made-up of 177 small islands, connected by 409 bridges over 117 canals. There are no cars, and the only way around is by boat or by foot. Yes, Venice is extremely crowded (especially during tourist season), and yes, the water is not the cleanest, but the idea of a floating city is just too cool (albeit a sinking floating city).
Our cruise ship was anchored away from Venice, so a 20 minute boat-ride took us to and from the city. Our Princess ship was scheduled to pass by the city at dawn before docking, so I begrudgingly pulled myself out of bed while everyone else was sleeping. I was so glad I did because it gave me the chance to capture some beautiful shots of the city from the viewpoint of our ship, as well as get a photo of the passengers on the decks below watching the city as we drifted past it (one of my favourites).
From the moment we stepped onto land, there was just something so magical about this place. I know that sounds very cliche and a bit corny, but there is something really captivating about Venice that totally drew me in. The beautiful architecture of Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) and St. Mark’s Cathedral (Basilica di San Marco), the floating gondolas, the grandeur of St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), and the hustle and bustle of the Grand Canal (Canal Grande). I just loved it all! The best part was wandering through all the back alleys and discovering hidden shops and markets and the tiniest little bridges that crossed from island to island.
At every port we visited on our 12-day cruise, I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like to live in each place…to be a local residing in one these beautiful cities — not a tourist for a day or two or even a month, but truly living day-to-day life on the cliffs of Santorini, or travelling by boat through Venice or walking to the beaches with my kids in Corfu.
This cruise was by far my favourite of the six cruises we’ve been on since my husband and I have been married. I guess it didn’t hurt that I wasn’t 2 months pregnant this time or my oldest son didn’t get motion-sickness or that we were able to leave the kids on the boat for some of the ports unlike some of our other cruises. But it was just so much fun to be with family we love so dearly, and to be able to explore all these extraordinary cities together — each city so different and each so wonderful.
Thank you for journeying with me these past few weeks through all these magnificent places! And thank you so much for all your kind and gracious comments — I truly appreciate it! I really wanted to capture the essence of each city, in all its beauty and history — even if from my limited perspective (with two impatient kids in tow, trying my best not to get pick-pocketed, and the heat…oh the immense heat! Let’s just say I need to get a new camera strap after this trip — I know, gross).
Hope you all get the chance to experience a trip like this someday, too! Until the next cruise…..