After our early morning jaunt, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the very busy day we had ahead. This was embarkation day, so we had a lot of stuff packed into our schedule including checking out of our hotel and boarding the cruise ship. Before checking out of our hotel at 11am, we had all planned a neighborhood walk together, so we met up in the Piazza San Marco. It was early enough that there were few people in the square, so we took advantage of that and snapped some photos.
Those pesky renovations really ruined our view of St. Mark's Basilica.
After meeting up, we headed out for our walk through another cool section of Venice. We saw some cool little streets and canals and, once again, enjoyed seeing a quieter side of the city.
Look, we actually got a picture of the three of us, together, in Venice!
Our walk took us over the Accademia Bridge which, like the Rialto Bridge, is one of the few bridges that spans Venice's Grand Canal.
The view of the Canal from the bridge is lovely, but the position of the sun when we were there was not the greatest for taking pictures.
And, look! Another rare photo of the three of us. If only Stella and Mr. Frisby would cooperate, we might get a decent one.
After more meandering and exploring, we came to another bridge called the Bridge of Punches. It was where neighborhood disputes were settled back in the day by fistfights. The first one in the water lost the dispute. We decided to pose for pictures and Tracy and John's was the best.
More meandering and exploring.
We ended our walk appropriately - with gelato. We stopped at a little gelateria that our guidebook said was the best in town. And, as you could probably surmise from the photo below, it did not disappoint.
Funny thing about Stella: up until this point she had always refused gelato whenever we got it. We would offer her licks of ours and she would vehemently refuse. When we were eating the best gelato in Venice, I decided enough was enough. I bribed the little tyke and told her that if she had a lick of gelato, I would give her a cracker. She obliged and quickly realized what she was missing. She did not refuse another lick of gelato the whole trip.
After finishing our walk, we booked it back to our hotel so we could check out on time. Then, we made the trek through Venice to the cruise terminal where we got our first glimpse of the Celebrity Silhouette. It was GINORMOUS!
We told Stella we would be getting on that big boat. It took her a majority of the trip to realize that the big boat was actually the huge, white, floating resort as opposed to the little orange life boats on the side. One of the most exciting things about boarding the ship was the bed. Our hotel in Venice was a pretty nice hotel. The rooms were decent size (for Europe), the breakfast was good, and the location was fantastic. But, the beds and pillows were TERRIBLE! I mean, TERRIBLE. Undoubtedly, the rock hard pillows and uncomfortable mattresses were contributing to our inability to kick the jet lag beast. So, when we got to our cabin on the ship, I was so excited to see a comfortable bed and a plethora of pillows to choose from. It was a sight for sore eyes, let me tell you.
Though we were boarding the ship Sunday afternoon, we would actually not be departing Venice until the following afternoon. We would be spending our last night in Venice on the ship and I was hopeful we would finally get a good night's rest. After the very long check in and boarding process (during which my dad unknowingly drank a mimosa - awesome!), we were then free to come and go on the ship as we pleased. We just had to be back on the ship by 4pm Monday afternoon for our departure from Venice. While the ship looked awesome and we would like to have run around exploring it a bit, we still had more to do on our itinerary before leaving Venice, so we immediately headed back out to the city. Highest on my list was to go to the San Giorgio Maggiore church which is located on a small island directly across the lagoon from the Piazza San Marco. You may remember it from my last post - you know - the church you could see out the windows of the Bridge of Sighs. I did not care at all about the church (though it is supposed to be a cool one). My main interest was in going up the bell tower for the views of Venice.
After much confusion on how to get back to Venice from the ship and no help from any of the transport workers on the dock, we finally got on the right boat to the city and made our way to the island. We looked around for a bit and soaked in the views of Venice. Even without climbing the bell tower, it was pretty cool.
The church was actually quite pretty and we looked around inside before heading up the bell tower.
After ascending the bell tower, we got our view of Venice and it was breathtaking! The ticket to go up was a bit expensive, but totally worth it in my opinion. Unfortunately it was our one day of bad weather in Venice, but it made for better photos, so I guess it worked out.
After checking out the church and the views of the city, it was time to head back to the ship. We decided to go back via a water taxi up the Grand Canal. As the Grand Canal is the lifeline of Venice, we wanted to see it in all it's glory. We got on the water taxi and found seats at the front that provided great views of the canal, but little protection from the weather. And, it had started to drizzle at this point. While Stella had been a trooper all day, she was, shall we say, exhausted. Within minutes of sitting down on the water taxi, she was asleep in my arms. Unfortunately, this made it difficult for me to look around and really see everything along the canal. But, I had a great view of the side I was facing and Mr. Frisby took lots of pictures. And, Stella got a little nap in, so it all worked out. The Grand Canal really was fun to check out.
At the end of the Grand Canal, we got off the water taxi and caught the monorail back to the cruise terminal. Stella was not excited about having to wake up and continued to doze on Mr. Frisby's head as we made our way back to the ship.
After grabbing a quick dinner at the ship's buffet, we headed off to our comfortable beds, hopeful that we could at last say goodbye to our jet lag and get a decent night's sleep. After all, we had a busy final day in Venice ahead of us.