On June 10, 2014, I flew to join my friend Gene Bourquin, who was going on a Mediterranean cruise to celebrate his graduation from theological seminary.
The cruise ended in Rome and I went from there to Venice -- I was curious to see a city built on water.
I had the time of my life!
Each day had some adventure or something new to experience, and I loved every minute.
Even so, I was unprepared for how new and strange and wonderful Venice was!
Below are pictures and stories and videos of those adventures -- you can click here to go directly to Venice. Enjoy!
The ship sailed from Rome, but my plane was delayed and I got there too late to embark. It turned out to be a blessing, because I ended up taking the train to Florence, then exploring the city before taking another train the next day to catch the ship at its next port.
I was very glad for the opportunity to see parts of Italy that I couldn't see from the ship. The train to Florence was very comfortable (my trusted "Italy Insights Guide" is on my little table there), and the Tuscany countryside was beautiful!
The next day, after exploring Florence and seeing the famous Dome (no pictures because I accidently left my camera at the hotel!), I took another train to the port of Livorno and got a cab to board the ship.
When I first saw the ship, the Norwegian Epic, I was blown away with how HUGE it is. The picture to the far right is from Norwegian's website, and the near right was taken by Gene when he got on board.
My stateroom was fabulous!
There was twice as much storage as I needed. As you can see in the pictures below, the backlighting changed colors (unless you set it to steady daylight).
Almost every night we'd find an animal made of towels on our bed.
Gene found an elephant in his room and I found a penguin in mine, and later found a towel monkey hanging from my shelf!
I went to the demonstration showing how to make the animals (shown to the right) as well as the kissing swans below.
The shows on the ship every night were definitely some of the highlights of the trip.
One of them was the Blue Man Group, which was amazing of course, and ended with rolls and rolls of paper pouring down over the people in the back of the audience which they passed down to the front, ending with all of us laughing and pulling and pushing and covered with paper!
On the third day, when we arrived in Cannes, France, we walked up a quaint, winding street to find a church. Along the way, I saw a man wet his feet with a pump, so I tried it -- very refreshing!
At the top of the hill we were rewarded with a beautiful view while listening to a violin, which you can hear in the video to the right.
After we came back down, we found a nice café and stopped to get some . . . well, what should we have in France? Crepes of course!
My crepes were singed with Marnier and served with ice cream. Objectively, they tasted much like crepes do in America but who's going to be objective on such a trip -- the setting made them outstandingly delicious!
Meanwhile, the internet on the ship was very restricted AND expensive so the next day, when we arrived in Palma (Spain), all we were interested in was finding a place to access the net!
When we asked one of the guys in the next booth to take a picture of us wasting our sightseeing time in the internet cafe, we were delighted to find out that they were the entertainers who were singing Motown on the ship.
They graciously allowed us to have our picture taken with them, and their show that night was fabulous, lots of fun and great singing!
The next day we arrived in Barcelona, Spain, and took an excursion to a monastery far up in the mountains. The monastery was not the isolated retreat we expected, but it was beautiful.
And we got a bonus -- by some fantastic coincidence, when our bus arrived we were astounded to see a big banner announcing that it was "ONCE" day at the monastery -- with 1500 visitors from ONCE, the national organization of blind people!
I talked with some of them -- a few of them spoke English well and others didn't. It felt good being able to use my rusty Spanish to learn more about them!
When I asked some of them about their lives, they told me they sold lottery tickets. I told them that my blind friend in Thailand did the same (see the story of Nanta).
They were surprised to find that blind people in the U.S. don't sell lottery tickets, and asked what they do. I told them that blind people here have the same kinds of jobs that everyone else has.
I asked them about O&M -- the woman I'm standing with below told me that she had two months of training.
Later I saw a man, Vicenç, walking with his 91-year-old father, Heliodoro. Vicenç was using two canes very well, demonstrating great technique. I asked if I could videotape him for my "Support Cane Used with Long Cane" website page, and he agreed.
Once down from the mountain and back in Barcelona, we had a delightful lunch of Tapas.
Looking at the menus, I thought there'd be nothing for vegetarians except potatoes and cheese but hey! The potato tapas and cheese tapas were delicious!
That night, I saw a twister not far from us in the ocean -- spooky!
After a day and two nights on the sea (Gene and I used part of our down time to work on a research article using data that Ann Marie McLaughlin and I had collected years ago), we arrived in Naples and joined the excursion to Pompeii.
I loved their signs for men's and women's toilets -- they said it all!
I had been really looking forward to walking around where people had walked two thousand years ago, and I wasn't disappointed, I loved every minute of it.
Pompeii was HUGE -- I hadn't realized they excavated a whole city!
As you can see from the map to the right, there are 2-3 main streets in each direction and a couple dozen side streets, with a huge area set aside for the Ampitheater and, next to it, the Palestra Grande where athletes and gladiators were housed and had a large field to practice.
I made a decision to simply enjoy rather than taking lots of pictures, so I don't have much to share with you, except for the sundial (bottom left) -- the middle photo shows the sun dial surrounded by the ruins of a building -- and some blocks that looked like it had a jumbo version of modified braille or detectable warnings! (bottom right)
As I expected, I didn't need to take many photos, there are lots of pictures of Pompeii on the internet.
Take a look at the Ampitheater and Palestra Grande.
You can see the barracks where the athletes and gladiators lived -- do you see the heavy wooden doors with little windows on top?
For the athletes who were slaves or indentured, those doors were kept locked.
Many of the Pompeii women admired the gladiators and some would arrange liaisons there.
When the city was excavated, a woman was found dead in front of the last door on the right -- a high-class woman, judging from the jewelry and clothes she wore -- and a gladiator was found inside.
The majority of people were able to escape Pompeii when the volcano erupted but it is thought that when this woman saw all the smoke and cinders gushing out, she rushed to save her gladiator and ended up dying with him. What dedicated love -- romantic and sad, huh?
I couldn't resist getting a picture of me crossing the street, it was so fascinating!
Whenever it rained heavily the streets flooded because the city was built on lava (and yet they didn't realize the volcano would erupt again!), so the sidewalks were raised and at every corner, they had installed stepping stones to get across.
After Pompeii, we went back to Naples, where pizza was invented. So what do you think we ordered for lunch?
There were two versions of the original pizza -- both had tomato sauce, one had no cheese and the other, named Margherita Pizza in honor of the queen it was created for, had mozzarella cheese and basil with the tomato sauce (displaying the green, white and red colors of the flag).
The crust was very thin and, as you can see, there were just dollops of cheese. Very tasty!
After lunch, we rode up the mountain in the funicular. I was surprised that you couldn't see outside like the Pittsburgh inclines I grew up with, it was all in a tunnel!
At the funicular entrance, we found a raised-line map of the system, detectable warnings at the stairs, and detectable bars for way-finding.
At the top of the funicular we found ourselves in a little community (which had no view!), and got some cheesecake -- another Italian original.
Well, the next day was our last day of the cruise, and we docked in Rome -- what a fabulous adventure it had been!
Gene and I had scheduled a tour of Rome that would explore the Vatican and other sites and then take Gene to the airport while I go to a hotel to spend a few days in Rome.
But that tour was cancelled, so we signed up for a tour bus that rode past some of the sites before going to the airport. We were very disappointed because it would not go past the Vatican.
But lucky break -- just before the bus went to the airport, they gave us time to explore, so we got a cab to the Vatican! Seeing the Vatican meant a lot to Gene, so I was very glad we managed to do that before he left.
When we got back to the plaza where we'd meet the bus, we had a nice lunch -- my soup was delicious and looked very attractive to a little Roman visitor!
Parting is such sweet sorrow! After lunch, we went back to the bus and Gene headed off to the airport, I was sorry to see him go!
I was within walking distance of my hotel but just after Gene's bus left, it started pouring rain and the only sidewalk was a bumpy dirt pathway and that was getting more and more muddy, which would be a challenge to drag my heavy suitcase on.
Somehow I managed to hail a cab, and was at Hotel Eliseo within minutes.
Hotel Eliseo was delightful, and the view from my hotel window was great! It looked over a lovely park -- that wall is about 2,000 years old.
I had some time to explore, and consulting my favorite tour guide book, I found that the home where Keating died was only about a mile away, next to the famous Spanish Steps.
The hotel manager said there was a tunnel from this block all the way to the Spanish Steps, so I walked through there.
In the tunnel were a few stores and what looked like a theater for plays, and lots of advertisements.
This advertisement for furs (to the right below) had been partly covered with a sign saying "censurato per crudelta" ("censored for cruelty") and changed "ALTA MODA" ("highest fashion") to "Asso alta moda ne merde," which according to the Italian dictionary means "highest champion of fashion crap."
The next day -- the first day on my own -- I decided to take the subway to the area where the Coliseum and other ancient ruins were.
The first thing that I saw was the horsetrack -- you may be able to make out where the track was 2,000 years ago, the seating presumably was along the ridge that surrounds it.
To the right, I saw people restoring some of the buildings.
The main thing I wanted to see in Rome was the Coliseum.
Like Pompeii, I just wanted to be where people had lived and worked and played thousands of years ago.
I wandered and explored for several hours, and enjoyed it immensely. And I got a picture to add to my collection of examples showing why people who are blind shouldn't rely on the railing to know when the stairs end.
Inside the Coliseum museum was this fascinating notebook. It had 3 pages each with wax inside the frame -- once you were finished with what you'd written, you could melt or smooth out the wax
to use again. Clever!
The guidebook said that the ruins of Palatine Hill, with its palatial dwellings and the Forum (all of which are next to the Coliseum) are very picturesque, with roses, moss and poppies growing amid the crumbling bricks and marble.
I was very disappointed that they were closed because of a strike.
However I was able to walk around it and peer in some of the openings and it was, indeed, beautiful. I got a thrill seeing the steps of the Forum where Caesar and countless others must have walked.
At one point a man was playing guitar much like my father used to do, and I had a beautiful, relective moment looking into the serene Palatine while listening to the music (left).
The next day I saw the catacombs, then went back to my favorite restaurant -- it had lots of delicious vegetable dishes and a VERY friendly owner who seemed to know everyone who passed!
Strangely, I never did see anything like calzones or manicotti on any of the menus in Italy, maybe I wasn't looking in the right places or didn't know what they call them in Italy.
Throughout Rome and Venice, there were musicians playing music like these who came by our cafe, which added a lot to the ambiance.
I'm separating my pictures of Venice from the rest of the trip because, quite simply, Venice is AMAZING!!!!
I've seen hundreds of cities throughout the United States and more than 20 countries and have lived in Thailand, and I've never seen anything that comes CLOSE to being like Venice.
So Venice deserves its own page --
I was there only two nights but took more pictures than I took the entire rest of the trip.
Even though I had read about Venice in my guide book, I was completely unprepared for what I found. If you're ready, here we go . . .
My introduction started when I was on the train from Rome, wondering how to get to my hotel.
The instructions on the Becher Hotel website said to take the train to Venice and then
"continue with vaporetto Actv line 1 and get off after about half an hour at Vallaresso stop. Continue on foot along Calle Vallaresso . . ." and it then gave directions to walk there.
I wondered if Vaporetto Actv was a train, or bus, or subway system, or what. At one point I decided maybe the best thing would be to get a cab and let the driver figure it out, but then I asked one of the train conductors what it is.
He said "Eet ees a but." "Oh, it's a bus?" I said, and he answered "yes."
Well, you probably already know what it had to be and are asking "How could you be so dumb, Dona?" but I didn't realize until I got off the train and followed everyone to . . . what else would be in a city built on water (well actually it's built on more than 100 islands in the Venetian Lagoon)? A boat! More precisely, a BUS BOAT, traveling along the Grand Canal!
I'll share a map of Venice here, and you can click here for a great photograph of the city.
Both show the Grand Canal slicing through Venice in the shape of a large backwards "S," with lots of smaller canals leading from it and intersecting the streets/alleys.
Venice is in the middle of a lagoon in the Mediterranean Sea -- you can't see it, but just off the map, both ends of the Grand Canal open into the lagoon which surrounds the city.
The train station where I arrived are those chunks of white in the upper left corner of the map, just before the Grand Canal reaches the lagoon.
One of my fellow passengers was an American named Michael.
He used to live in Venice many years ago and was now bringing his family and friends back to visit.
He had put together an awesome travel guide for each person, with history and maps and instructions and itinerary. His wife's nickname was "Gello" and so the title of the book was . . . "Michael an' Gello's Trip to Italy." Get it? Very clever, I thought.
Okay, after I got over the excitement of being on a Bus Boat I realized it wasn't going to stop where I was supposed to get off, so I checked the map and got off at San Marco Plaza, which is not far from my Becher Hotel.
Actually, it turns out that nothing is far from anything in Venice!
In the one full day that I was there, I was able to walk back and forth on both sides of the Grand Canal several times from one community to another except for the Ghetto.
To reach the Ghetto, I took the bus boat to the stop at the northern-most part of the Grand Canal and walked north to reach the plaza, and after exploring there I took the bus boat south again to the art museum (it's near the bridge that's circled on the map on the southern curve of the Grand Canal).
Anyway, back to my arrival in Venice. As I stood in San Marco Plaza with my luggage to get my bearings, I noticed another woman, J.C., who was standing with HER luggage looking frazzled and upset. Turns out the person she was supposed to meet at the airport wasn't there, so she was trying to figure out how to find her hotel.
That's when Stefano approached us, showing his official Venice Porter badge, and offering to take us to our hotels.
She accepted and I declined, so he put her luggage in his handtruck and said I could follow and he'd show me where to go.
That was a great plan until I realized it involved going over a bridge with lots of stairs.
I started to haul my suitcases up but it was very slow and impossible to keep up with him
(there's a great video from "Venice for Visitors" showing people hauling heavy luggage through the streets of Venice and over the bridges).
So I agreed to have Stefano take my luggage too. His handtruck was amazing -- he went FLYING up and down those stairs with all our luggage!
The pictures above show him walking through the Venice "streets" with J.C. and me behind, with us alternating between pausing to admire the wondrous scenes and running after him, laughing and wondering if he'd run off with all our luggage or take us into an alley and mug us haha!
Later I saw a guy with a similar Magic Handtruck (photo to the right) -- they have little wheels in the front and larger wheels in the back.
What they do is tilt the handtruck back to put the front wheels onto the steps and lift the back to roll forward on those front wheels, then rest the handtruck on the back wheels and lift the front wheels while rolling it forward a little, and then put the front wheels down again on the next step and lift the back wheels to push forward, going back and forth like that to get up and down the bridges as fast as I could walk!
So anyway, before we knew it we were at my hotel, Stefano unloaded my luggage from his handtruck and I paid him and went in.
Ah, what a wonderful place Hotel Becher was! I had a lovely room with a window overlooking one of the canals.
The picture below shows me on the bridge just outside my window (it's to the left of me).
Through the window I saw one gondola after another drift by, each boatman ducking to get under the bridge.
It kinda reminded me of a ride in Disneyland -- a canal with rows of sightseeing boats slowly cruising by picturesque buildings.
In fact, the whole city seemed like a Disney dream -- the streets were like caricatures of European cities, some too narrow for two people walking with luggage to pass eachother comfortably, winding and turning in unexpected ways, always eventually opening up to one of the plazas, each of which had its own character, often with a church and someone playing music.
Once when I was walking from one community to another, hot and exhausted, I came into a large plaza, the Campo Santa Maria Formosa.
There was a pump that poured refreshing cool water that I let flow over my feet and, as I sat to rest, a string trio set up their chairs and began playing beautiful music -- I sat there for about half an hour, enthralled.
You can click here if you want to listen to Pachelbel's Canon in D as they played it.
Well, perhaps I can give you a sense of the city if I show you how to get to my hotel.
We'll start where I got off the boat bus at the San Marco Plaza.
After you go over the bridge that slowed me down (darn, I forgot to get a picture of it!) you walk past the Campanile Tower that you see in the first picture below (I later went to the top of that tower to see the whole city).
Once you get around the tower, you're in the Procuratie, a large square surrounded by 3 connected buildings (middle picture).
Across the square you enter the arcade under the building and when you come out the other side, you find yourself in a little opening (picture to the right below).
Then you need to turn right and look on your left for an alley or street to enter (left and middle photos below).
Soon after you enter the little street (photo to the right, below) you'll come to a T-intersection and turn left.
After you turn left and continue walking, the street or alley twists and gets narrow, then widens again and has lots of interesting shops.
And every once in a while, you see a little alley shooting off the side -- oh!
I think I see one of those alleys in the pictures below!
It's in the second photo from the right, where the guy in the blue shirt is looking left into the alley. You can peek inside that alley yourself if you look in the last picture on the right (below) and see that it's only about 8 feet wide between buildings that are 3 or 4 stories tall.
And so we pass the alley and continue on this interesting street and oh! Here come some folks hauling their suitcases, they're either just arriving or about to leave Venice.
Whether you're arriving by train as I did, or the airport (which is where I left from), or drive here by car (as did a couple I met from France), you have to WALK to your hotel as I did, with or without help from the Venice Porters and their magical dollies -- there are NO vehicular roadways anywhere in Venice!
Ah, we're coming within sight of my little canal and the bridge next to my window.
In the first photo below, as you look along the canal, you see my hotel on the left - the one with the bright flowers in all the windows.
Shortly after the canal passes my hotel, it intersects with another canal from the right, and further ahead our canal twists and turns.
In the second photo, we have turned to walk down the other side of the bridge and we can see the awning of the entrance to my hotel on the right. And in the third photo, behold! You're looking into my hotel!
Okay, in the picture on the left below, we've walked past the hotel and then turned around to see the hotel awning and the bridge we just crossed.
In the next picture, we've turned again to walk away from the hotel and oh! I think I see a plaza at the end of this street! Yes, we've entered one of the many plazas peppered throughout Venice!
Okay, I think you're starting to get the picture! But this little photo journey didn't show you how much FUN I had trying to find my way around and through and over this wonderful maze of streets of Venice, as they twist and turn and cross countless canals!
It reminded me of walking through the convoluted corn mazes that I love so much in the fall, where you sometimes meet yourself coming and going -- a delight for an orientation and mobility specialist who loves puzzles!
Just like my adventures in the corn mazes, there were several times in Venice that I was quite lost or turned around, and I loved the challenge of figuring it out, using the map and clues such as where the canals crossed under the streets.
So I have a special treat for you -- I videotaped myself trying to find my way from the Ghetto back to the Grand Canal.
But first I'll show you how I got there, because that was lots of fun too.
According to the Insight guidebook, the Ghetto is the quietest, most remote part of Venice, built in the early 1500's.
The name Ghetto came from the word for iron foundry (getto) which used to be there, and this was the first European area where Jews were confined/isolated -- similar Jewish areas in other parts of Europe took the same name.
To get to the Ghetto, I took the boat bus to the stop on the northern-most part of the Grand Canal, and walked further north to the Ghetto (it is beyond the top edge of the map above).
My adventures started soon after I got off the boat -- I turned a corner and found a guy playing the violin in a nearly-empty plaza, as you can hear in the video to the right.
After listening for a while, I continued on my way, going through a narrow alley (below, left) and then a really funky little bridge that ended in a tunnel under a building.
Once through the tunnel I entered a huge plaza, my destination -- the picture to the right was taken after I got halfway across it and turned around to face where I had just come from.
I sat and had a drink of water in the shade while imagining what life must have been like for the Jews who had to live here hundreds of years ago (their confinement didn't end until Napoleanic times).
Although the guidebook said there are not many Jews living here now, I watched a boy who was wearing a yamaka playing with a young man, I forget whether they were throwing a ball or what.
Well, now it's time to leave and . . . uh-oh! I can't see the entrance to the tunnel, can you?
In the picture to the right, can you see where the boy with the yamaka is on the other side of the plaza? I'll go to where he was standing, and see if I can see it from there
Okay, now look at the photo to the left below - it was taken from where the boy was standing.
Can you see the entrance now?
If not, look at the next photo, where I moved closer and a little to the right, can you see it now? I'll keep getting closer until I can find it and go through the tunnel and over the bridge, and start heading back to the boat -- wish me luck!
Whew -- we made it! Okay, now that we've gone through the tunnel and over the bridge, you can join me following the map and find our way back to the boat on the Grand Canal.
The series of 3 videos starts with the one to the right, and the next two are below. Enjoy -- and good luck, I hope you don't get lost!
I'm going to show you another little puzzle map-hunt in a minute, but first I thought you might enjoy a ride in one of the bus-boats along the Grand Canal. You can see lots of smaller canals leading away from it. These small canals, like the little streets, are not straight, they wind this way and that, with bridges for every little alley or street that crosses them.
To the far left is a picture of one of the small canals coming off the Grand Canal, the near left is a close-up showing the bridges further down the small canal.
One of the bridges is flat (it looks like it's up on the second story) but all the rest are arched with steps, like the ones you've seen.
The Grand Canal, by the way, also has a few bridges over it -- one of them is shown in the pictures below.
The third photo below shows every nook and cranny of the bridge filled with the "love locks" of lovers who chain padlocks to the bridge and throw away the keys.
Now, after you saw all those little canals with all those bridges (with more than 400 of those bridges in the city, you can't get very far without having to navigate at least one of them!), I know what you're thinking: "Dona, how the heck do people in wheelchairs get around Venice, with all these bridges with stairs every which way?"
Yeah, I was wondering the same thing. I saw several people in wheelchairs, one in a plaza and the other by the steps of the Procuratie (in the nearest photo to the left), so I asked them.
Neither of them spoke any English or Spanish so I'm not sure of their answers but both made it clear that it's impossible to use the wheelchairs over the bridges.
I gestured to ask if they get out of their chairs and walk over the bridges and they agreed, though I'm not sure they understood.
So it remains a mystery to me.
I did notice that along one side of the bridge over the canal in San Marco Plaza there were metal plates about 8 feet wide (the bridge is about 20 feet wide) connecting the tops of each stair, making them into one long 8-foot-wide ramp over the bridge so that someone could push a chair up and over it -- I used it to haul my luggage when I was leaving Venice, and it worked very well.
There is some information for people with disabilities at "Durant and Cheryl Imboden's Venice for Visitors" which says, "it's certainly possible to enjoy Venice with a wheelchair, walker, or crutches if you know what to expect and plan your touring strategy accordingly."
It explains that several years ago the city announced a plan to install wheelchair ramps on 80 bridges in the historic center but unfortunately, the ramps are normally set up only temporarily for the Venice Marathon in October and removed in the spring!
That site also talks about the San Marco Plaza getting flooded during high tides every winter -- THAT would be interesting to see!
Okay, I promised you another puzzle map-hunt, so here it is! I was trying to find the Grand Canal from my hotel, and the challenge this time was to find the hidden street that was shown on the map.
If you can find that street in the video, you can probably find the hidden street in the photo to the near right, or vice versa (if you can't find it in the photo, enlarge it and you may see a couple people walking into it). Enjoy!
The Insight guidebook said that the Gallerie dell'Accademia had the world's finest collection of Venetian paintings so I spent about an hour going through it.
It was easy to see everything because there were so few people there.
I was expecting lots of the paintings that I enjoy so much with bright colors and ingenious lighting effects made with the paint, but most of them were more muted, solid colors, like the paintings shown here by Giambattista Tiepolo (left) and Jacopo Tintoretto (bottom left), each of which filled an entire wall.
One exception is Jean Le Clerc's delightful painting of people playing cards, which I loved (to the right below).
But my jaw dropped when I entered one of the last rooms. The walls were covered with beautiful murals with bright colors and lots of lighting effects, and even the ceiling was stunning.
Well, fellow adventurer, we've finally come to the last evening of the trip.
I went back to the restaurant I had found the day before, when I first arrived in Venice.
After my adventures with Stefano and settling into the hotel, I had explored the city and looked at menus of about a half-dozen restaurants, but there was nothing vegetarian that looked healthy and delicious.
Finally, on my way back to the hotel after a ride on the bus-boat and getting off on the far west side of the city, I happened upon this restaurant and the menu looked intriguing.
It looked like a hole in the wall but looks are VERY deceiving -- this little restaurant had the best food of my entire trip!
Wonderful, creative dishes were served elegantly by a gracious hostess -- in the photos below are a plate of grilled vegetables and a delicious carrot soup with swirls of mozzarella cheese.
In the video to the right, you'll hear music from a man who played music the whole time I was there, he was about 30 feet behind me.
My dish of eggplant parmigiana was recommended by a woman I met there the previous night, and it was indeed delicious!
The gentleman sitting at the table behind me came to the door of the restaurant with his suitcase and shouted greetings to the staff inside, and then sat down.
When the hostess came out, she kissed him on the cheek. He told me he comes to Venice on business every month and stays for a week at the hotel above this restaurant.
Well, after that wonderful, relaxing dinner with the lovely people and music, all that's left is to get a good night's sleep in my charming hotel, and in the morning go down to the hotel's intimate breakfast room and have some cereal, yoghurt and fruit sitting by the window overlooking the canal, and then join the others hauling luggage to the San Marco Plaza to catch the airport boat-bus.
Below on the left is our boat-bus -- we spent about 45 minutes picking up passengers from the outskirts of Venice and the islands around it, and then headed for the airport, which is when I recorded the video to the right.
In the middle below is a picture of the airport from the boat-bus and finally, I'm at the airport heading for my terminal!
I was glad to be going home and VERY glad that I came on this trip. I had a fanTABulous time on the cruise with Gene and exploring Rome and this remarkable city -- it was one of the best trips I've ever had!