While cruising around the Mediterranean on the Carnival Breeze, my daughter and I spent a day exploring Venice, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It was her first visit to this city so instead of taking a shore excursion, we set out on a water shuttle (no vaparettos as there was a strike going on) and then walked around Venice with no plans.
We began with me teaching her about enjoying the moment and not rushing around. We sat at a table in St. Mark’s Square, watching all the tourists wander around, most of them in a hurry to get somewhere.
We then went to Basilica di Santa Marco (St. Mark’s Basilica) so that my daughter could get a glimpse of this famous and old church before it possibly sinks. She was amazed at the mosaics all over the ceilings and walls and the overall atmosphere. I talked her into climbing the steep, old stone stairway to the right of the Basilica entrance so that we could see the Byzantine horses and take a walk out on the terrace overlooking the square. Many people pass by this stairwell, but it so worth the climb.
As we abled around the streets of Venice, we came to a lone gondolier who was taking a Venitian break. His name was Marco and we were able to get a gondola ride for 65 Euros, which is a steal. Marco was pretty good looking, so it wasn’t a hardship to hop into his gondola for a magical view of Venice. Yes, the gondolas are touristy, but it’s something one should experience at least once in their lifetime. I’m fortunate that this was my second time and I was able to observe the wonder in my daughter’s eyes as we passed under bridges and other canals.
All the exploring made us hungry, and we searched for a place that wasn’t too expensive and offered outdoor seating so that we could watch people pass by. We opted to share a pizza and spaghetti while I sipped a nice red wine. We pretended we were Europeans and stayed for a while, chatting about life, travel, and what the future may bring our way.
It was then time for a bit of shopping and I took a seat back in St. Mark’s Square with a band providing a bit of ambiance and allowed my daughter to do a bit of independent exploration, with spending money in hand. She was amazing, didn’t get lost, returned early and with half of the money she was given. My second prosecco of the day tasted even better after that!
We came across my friend Stefanie and her daughter Paris. Stefanie sat enjoying a glass with me and we watched our girls play in the square with all the pigeons.
It was then time to introduce Stefanie to Harry’s Bar, an expensive yet obligatory stop for any first-timer to Venice. After enjoying a bellini where it was invented, we set out to get lost in Venice again.
Our last stop of the day found us happening along upon a local festival in a nearby quiet square off the main tourist areas. The Venetians were extremely friendly offering us homemade salami sandwiches, prosecco from a cask, risotto, fresh cheeses, and other culinary delights. A few local artisans had their wares for sale and I bought a coffee cup to enjoy my favorite brew when I return home.
All in all it was a lovely day in Venice.
Thanks to Carnival Cruise Lines for bringing us along on the Carnival Breeze media junket. It has been an amazing experience.