We headed to St Mark’s Square after breaking for lunch post our self guided tour down the Grand Canal. This is the only part of Venice I remember from my previous trip some 25 year prior with my parents, sister, and friend Damon. My parents had turned us loose at around 19 years of age and I think we hit various bars along St Mark’s and were shocked at the bill. I remember my sister meeting a boy who either shimmed up or down the drain spout (or both) of our hotel to come calling on her in the night. I remember being so thirsty from drinking that I grabbed an open soda can near the bedside stand and guzzled the contents only to soon realize a cigarette butt had been put out in it. I can remember visiting the bathroom in the hotel and at the airport the next morning repeatedly as I got sick from over-imbibing. And I can remember my father asking me at the airport if I’d like a nice tall glass of water as I sat green faced against a wall. I thought to myself, my father’s being awfully nice to me considering I went out drinking last night. He returned with a tall glass. I raised it to my mouth and could smell it wasn’t water but vodka. The smell sent me immediately running for the restroom where I got sick again.
So it was great to be seeing St. Mark’s again as a parent with my family. We went into St. Mark’s Basilica and were awe struck at the golden hued mosaics. We weren’t allowed to take pictures in St. Mark’s so I don’t have many images to share. However, I did pay extra to go behind the altar and see the Pala d’Oro (Golden Altarpiece) so felt I was entitled. With 15 large rubies, 300 emeralds, 1500 pearls, and other precious stones (all stolen as plunder in 1204) it was worth a tongue lashing from the guards, but I didn’t get caught.
We then ascended the staircase to the museum so we could see the La Quardriga (Bronze Horses) as well as a view of St. Mark’s Square. Again, pictures were not to be taken except outside. These horses are not the originals (they are inside the musuem and off limits for pictures) which date from 175 BC.
Strolling past St. Mark’s and the Doge’s palace we passed by the Bridge of Sighs (named that by poet Lord Byron in the 1800s). This bridge connected the Doge’s Palace with the prison across the canal and was the route many a rightfully and wrongfully convicted man would travel to pass their sentence.
From here we wandered back streets and bridges off the beaten path towards our hotel (only getting lost a few times).
On our way back we found a restaurant we wanted to return to later that night for dinner. After a rest and change of clothes we strolled more back streets and stores for last minute gifts. We came across this funny sign and icon denoting a public toilet.
We then enjoyed one of the best meals of our trip at a quaint little hidden away seafood restaurant named Osteria L’Orto Dei Mori. It was a perfect way to end a few perfect days in Venice with far more memories made than my previous trip.