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I was wowed by my first view of Venice. It is really a place that you have to see to believe. It's incredible to think that it's made up of over 115 small islands and contains over 150 canals. Apparently Venice is visited by over 15 million visitors a year. It must be really hard to manage such a huge volume of tourists, and hard for the locals to tolerate too I imagine. Apparently they've been picketing recently calling for restrictions on the number of people being let into the city... to be honest I don't blame them.

I didn't realise Venice was sinking either - at the rate of 1 - 2 millimetres a year. I can't imagine the current system of putting out ramps for people to cross St Mark's Square on to avoid getting wet during high tides is going to be a viable long term solution.... how in the world are they going to raise Venice? I think it's going to be a major problem.

It costs E $1.50 to use a toilet in Venice so it really pays to buy something in a bar (cafe) and use theirs!

I did enjoy the absence of cars and scooters, that was a relief - but there certainly HEAPS of tourists. The arched bridges were pretty, as were the gondolas. I found my way to the Rialto Bridge on my own - and yes it was pretty, but jammed packed with people it was impossible to get a decent photo of it. I enjoyed the glass blowing demonstration that was an included part of our excursion - and I really did like the Murano Glass products.

I would have had a look at the Doge's Palace, but the entrance fee was E$19 - and I thought that was a bit steep. Instead I went up to the top of the Bell Tower (I confess in the lift) and I was pleased I did that, the views from the top were amazing.

It was fun exploring Venice, the alleyways and piazzas were cute, and yes the city is romantic, in a very touristy way. It's confusing too - you really need a good map. I nearly missed my boat back to the mainland one night cause I got confused about how many bridges I had to cross to get to our meeting point (I had to ask a policeman for help and when that didn't work because we couldn't understand each other I had to make an 'emergency' call to our tour director!) it was all okay in the end thank goodness :-)

Posted by Julie's blog 10:26 Archived in Italy

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