Awakened by a low flying aircraft and a braying donkey – weather subdued but warm. Decided to get to Venice this morning on the ferry from Punta Sabbioni. Car park very nice, all shaded with reed matting – nice to know that the cars are kept cool. Got on the boat – very full, and moved quite fast over the lagoon to Venice, passing various other craft including a US Navy ship, with lots of sailors dressed in white.
Venice looked lovely, day sunny, water a soft turquoise, and the buildings all subdued yellows, terra cotta, grey and white. Tied up near the Doges Palace and sauntered to the Piazza S Marco, covered with pigeons, the faced of St Mark’s gleaming in the sun – mosaics, bronze horses, all splendid. Popped into a glass-blowing factory where they were putting finishing touches to a hideous clown. Found our way down twisting little streets to the Rialto – beautiful views along the Grand Canal, and thence to the fruit and veg markets. Very busy and stalls piled high with cherries and strawberries – we bought some, including some Alpine strawberries in a dear little wooden box. All the produce looked appetising. Andrew spent his time diving under the stalls hunting for cherries and strawberries!
The fish market was splendid, all sorts of shell fish including enormous spring crabs, cray fish, shrimps, scampi and prawns, also sinister looking octopus, enormous dark grey tunny fish, and several unfamiliar fish. Saw some small Dover sole, so bought a kilo – 11 fish – for about 23/-, also some fresh sardines. Had coffee in a little square near the fish market and took pictures of us in our new gondolier’s hats. Then sat by the Grand Canal watching the traffic go by, including the gondola ferry cross. The markets packed up at midday, and we made our way to a restaurant in the square by the fish market for lunch. Had a lovely fish soup (clear, with chunks of fish and shrimps and tomato and parsley) then we split a grilled mullet and plate of fried mixed fish between us – yum yum! Sarah and Gareth had spaghetti bolognaise, Andrew had a pork chop. After this banquet (£4 the lot including wine) we drifted off in a gondola along the Grand Canal – a beautiful gondola with brightly coloured shawls, flowers and gilded sea horses. Cost a fortune but it was a delightful experience, very peaceful and unhurried. Then went for our boat home and arrived back in camp as a thunderstorm began, so decided to have our tea. Fried soles, asparagus and wine, followed by Alpine strawberries. C’est la vie! As weather had cleared, changed into swimming things and went down to the beach where we had a lovely hour or two, in and out of the water and then back to camp, ate the large juicy black cherries, put the children to bed and had gelati each. Had a stroll along the beach and around the site. Lovely smell of roses and myrtle in the night air – reminds us of Rhodes.