As promised, we both decided to give ourselves the morning off. Between the heat, the crowds and the walking, we were both a bit tired and thought we ought to pace ourselves, since it is only day 3! Dad took it easy on the deck and read his book, while I booked myself in for a pedicure. Almost two hours later, I know an awful lot about my Romanian pedicurist – her family, her fiancé, her relationship with her future in-laws, the decor of her house, and her views on divorce, materialism and gypsies. Oh, and I had beautiful feet and a lovely long massage in the wonderful chair. A very well spent morning. I filled in the rest of the morning with some blogging, sorting photos and generally taking it easy. Very relaxing.
Some time during the morning another cruise ship pulled up next to us. It was huge! It’s stern was pretty level with ours, but the bow was against the end of the dock. We got off the shuttle boats at that end of the dock – and took a bus to the ship (ie the same distance as from one end of that cruise ship to the other!!) Not sure I would love a ship that big, and I know for sure that Venetians are not that keen on 3000 people descending on the city all at once.
After lunch on board (I wouldn’t describe the food as gourmet, but it is very tasty and there is a vast range to choose from at every meal, and different each day, so far) we gathered for our afternoon tour to the Jewish ghetto area. This was an optional extra tour, so we were a much smaller group. We travelled in water taxis, which I haven’t done before. The water taxis are very sleek, modern looking boats, which travel quite fast. They are quite comfortable once you get in, but you have to bend over double to get to the seats!
The term ghetto originated in Venice, and actually means foundry. In the 15th century the Jews were confined to this part of Venice, close to a copper foundry (‘geto’). They were allowed to leave during the day but had to return by night, except the doctors who could go to treat Venetians outside the ghetto!
Today not many Jews live there, but there are a few kosher restaurants, and two active synagogues (though only one operates at a time – one in summer, one in winter). We visited the Jewish museum, including a couple of old synagogues no longer in use. They were interesting in their typical Venetian style but with a Jewish twist. Sadly no photos were allowed 🙁 The buildings in the ghetto are different to the rest of Venice, much taller (more floors) than Venetian apartments. Because they were confined to this area, there was nowhere to go but up!
From the ghetto we walked to the Rialto bridge. The route took us through some of the less touristy parts of Venice – our guide told us that’s where he & his friends prefer to socialise. It’s my favourite thing to do in Venice – just walk and wander down quiet back streets and canals. The closer we got to the Rialto Bridge, the more crowded the streets became – is it possible to hate tourists and be one at the same time? It was worse than usual because of the Vaporetto strike today. We had time for an ice-cream and then returned to the ship by water taxi.
It’s all go here let me tell you! After dinner we had a fascinating lecture on Venetian art, and how the Venetians have defined and redefined their history through art. We sailed out of Venice at 10pm. It felt like the beginning of the cruise, even though it was the third day on board, we were finally moving, and heading to places neither of us have never been (or not for around 40 years, in some cases). Everyone was on deck to watch the lights of Venice as we sailed past. It felt strange to go to bed in Italy and know we would wake up in a different country. (Can you tell I haven’t done much cruising?)
(Not many photos today – having trouble with the slow internet on board.)