Here, Michael and I parted company. He was more interested in exploring the streets and canals, whilst I figured that I would probably collapse if I went with him! I was curious to see the Doges Palace and learn a bit more about the history of Venice. Fortunately, I hadn’t pre-booked my ticket online, as there was no queue to jump and the entrance fee of 25 euro was a little less than the online price (usually it’s the other way round!).
I read the information boards in each room and took time to absorb the ornate details and massive paintings. However, as I didn’t have an audio guide — lack of clear signage meant that I missed out on this option — I completed my tour in about an hour. Having arranged to meet Michael in 2 hours’ time, I decided to start over and revisit the main palace rooms. Sitting in the great hall, possibly the larges room in Europe, was quite an experience.
Deciding that I didn’t really need to cross the Bridge of Sighs again and revisit the prison cells, I asked an attendant the quickest way out (given that the direction of the tour guided one through the prison area on the way to the exit). He replied, “I think the quickest way out would be the way you have just come”! Mmm — not particularly helpful, given that I’d already gone up and down many stairs and into many different rooms in this complicated labyrinth! I managed to slip through some rope dividers to avoid having to backtrack through the same rooms yet again and found my way out, no thanks to his ‘helpful’ guidance!
Sunscreen reapplied and thirst quenched, I headed back out into St Mark’s Square, taking a few photos before returning to the entrance where Michael and I were to meet. We both arrived at the same time, 5 minutes early. Michael reported that he had walked to the very east of the island — the green area. It was quite run down, but still full of tourists.
From there, we meandered through the alleys, checking out a large shopping emporium on the way. (It’s amazing what can be hiding behind the old exterior of buildings). We were both fading, and so purchased some cheese and fruit and headed back to the hotel for a late afternoon refresher.
Before finding somewhere to eat, we wandered up to the railway station and purchased our tickets to Trieste. After sharing a pizza and enjoying some fabulous Italian gelati, we walked on to the nearby bridge over the Grand Canal and watched the lightning show as the heavens threatened to open on us. They never did. It was time to call it a day.