I thought I had my day all planned out knowing that I was going to explore Venice. I was looking forward to getting an early start after coming down from yesterday’s high. The two sisters, Sue, and Kathy, were going to St. Mark’s Basilica in the morning and I begged to be their tagalong, mainly because I thought that three heads would be better than my own so I wouldn’t get lost.

Sue turned out to be a champion navigator with me thinking that she was going the wrong way. What’s so weird about my thinking is that I had gotten lost EVERY SINGLE DAY on my own, and I was second-guessing somebody else leading the way? I’m insane! (“The definition of insanity….”) Because I am an obnoxious photographer travel buddy, I was photographing along the way, always running to catch up. There IS a silver lining to my photographic eye, however. I will go down fighting knowing that I discovered Jon Bon Jovi’s secret Venetian hideaway. Check out the bottom right-hand doorbell name!

This IS where he lives; I just know it!

OK, so Sue and Kathy weren’t convinced!

We made it to the water!

Venice water boats Venice Italy

Well, Sue was the queen for the day. We arrived at Piazza San Marco! We arrived early at the plaza so we took a few photos.

I really like this photo simply because it’s not a canal!

Statuary above St. Mark’s Basilica

We were told about a legitimate FREE St. Mark’s skip-the-line entry trick which we took full advantage of.

Once inside the basilica, I began taking photographs of the interior.

St. Mark’s Basilica

Tile detail

Standing next to me was a woman who was GLARING at me. I couldn’t figure out why she was so angry until she pointed out the “no photography” sign. Oops! I do find it amusing, however, to see tourists who feel the need to police those signs, even though I’m not using flash photography. I honestly don’t intend to break the rules, but tourists become so weirdly angry and protective of something they have no investment in. That happened to me once before at a church at Stanford University. I didn’t realize that photography was not allowed. A male tourist became infuriated with me and even ran over to an employee to tattle on me!

Oh well, I still snuck in a few more photos. I’m such a rebel! ;)

After we had finished our tour of the basilica, Sue, Kathy, and I walked over to Rialto bridge for yet another quick photo op.

Along the way…

I realized that I needed to be eternally grateful to Steve Jobs.

The reason for inventing the iPhone

And on the opposite end of the design spectrum, craftsmanship exemplified.

Marzipan fruit…beautifully handcrafted

We arrived at the Rialto bridge.

Grand Canal Venice Italy

The Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge

Sue and Kathy were on a quest to find Murano jewelry, so we parted ways. They turned right; I turned left, and I proceeded to get lost. Again. I was good with getting lost this time because I was on a new adventure!

Canal boat Venice Italy

 

Who knows where I was, but I discovered the most beautifully trained vine, strategically positioned against a building.

Simply beautiful

I found yet another church, named Church of San Polo.

Dedicated to Paul the Apostle

A close-up of the altar

I then decided to find a mask shop that Cary, our tour escort, recommended called Ca’ Del Sol.

A wall full of them

I loved these masks. I would love to purchase a mask for our home, but I honestly think it would scare the crap out of me if I walked past it in the middle of the night. I only wish I was kidding.

Especially this one

I’m photographing people’s underwear!

Well, I somehow ended up in the Castello district, although while I was there, I thought I was in the Accademia district. It’s so weird to me to have gotten so confused as I was traveling! I’ve always been adept at reading maps at home. In any case, here is an unnamed bridge in the Castello district.

Walking along the Riva Dei Sette Martiri towards Piazza San Marco, it became noticeably more crowded with tourists. After seeing the staggering number of tourists, particularly those arriving from cruise ships, I guessed that perhaps Venice is sinking due to the heavy weight of the hordes of tourists every year! Even the birds were checking it out.

Sheesh!

Despite it being so crowded and warned against dining at a known tourist area (which is what I am!), I ate an early dinner.

Aperol Spritz

Someone had recommended this drink to our tour group, but other than it being refreshing and it came with a yummy green olive, it wasn’t my kind of drink. Of course, my glass was empty by the time I left the table!

But this was right up my alley.

Spaghetti with Mussels and Clams

More walking was needed to burn off the spaghetti!

With the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute in the background

Bridge of Sighs

<Sigh> Such beautiful detail.

Final evening view

And then I found this window display high above a bridge.

Venetian lace

I had been contemplating something all day. I had seen that there was a Vivaldi concert that evening performed by the San Marco Chamber Orchestra at Piazza San Marco. I was dying to go, especially because it brought full circle my chance encounter with Ludo in Bruges where he had played Vivaldi’s music at St. Walburgha. Because I was tired of debating it in my head, I bought a ticket and attended the concert by myself that evening.

On my way to the concert hall via Piazza San Marco, I saw this woman looking out onto the piazza. I wonder what she was thinking.

Venice woman Piazza San Marcos Venice Italy

I discovered that one benefit of attending a concert by yourself is that there is a good chance that a single seat might be available near the front of the stage which is what happened. I found an empty seat in the third row! I sat next to and struck up a conversation with a very nice woman named Jill who was visiting from Great Britain. I told her about my visit to the church in Bruges, and I warned her that I might very well cry when I’m listening to this concert. She told me, “Feel free to cry. I have a tissue.”

It was a six-piece orchestra, and the music was lovely. The music stopped, a music stand was placed onto the stage, and a lead violinist walked from the back of the hall to the stage. He was outstanding! I cried like a baby and, without asking, Jill handed me some tissue.

Honestly, I don’t know why I cried so much in Europe! Anyone who knows me knows that I’m sensitive but, seriously, the littlest thing was setting me off!

I had asked Jill before the performance if photography was allowed. She said that they typically don’t allow it. At the end of the concert, however, people broke into great applause and also began photographing. Jill whispered to me, “Start photographing!!!” In my rush, my photos blurred but I managed to capture a couple of shots.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

Encore!

I am so thankful for this evening.

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