Friday, May 9, 2014

123. The Veins of Venice

So ... after a three hour mini-bus ride from Ljubjana, here I am in Venice - well actually I am in Mestre - on the mainland and 20 minutes by bus over the causeway into Venice proper ...

home on the ground floor for a couple of weeks ...

And after settling in and getting my bearings and doing all the necessary domestic stuff - it's onto that bus and across the waters for my first excited glimpse of Venice ...

Built on 117 small islands and with 150 canals and 409 bridges - of which only three cross the Canal Grande - Venice covers an area of 7.6 sq kms and is divided into six districts : San Marco, Dorsoduro, San Polo, Santa Croce, Cannaregio and Castello. The main channel is the Grande Canal, which in its zig-zag across the city, is 3 kms long.



This Google Map shows the larger canals - with the main Grande Canal winding its way through the centre of the island from the train / bus / car terminals and causeway connecting Venice to the mainland in the top left corner down to Saint Marks Square ( X ) ... along the length of the Grande Canal are several municipal wharves for the public water craft ...

The canals are the water roads of Venice - providing a means for transport of every description for the locals and tourists and various municipal authorities - police, ambulance, rubbish collection, building services, delivery of everything from water bottles to heavy machinery - it all comes and goes via the canals. Then there are the people movers - water-taxis, water-buses, cruise boats and of course the famous gondolas. 

With all those craft plying their way up and down the Grande Canal and in and out of the dozens of smaller canals opening off on both sides, traffic can get a tad chaotic and noisy - to put it politely.  

So here are a few impressions of this crazy fascinating waterway ...

my preferred transport is the vaporetto ( water-bus ) ...

new bridge connecting bus terminal with train station ...
beyond the bridge is the main vaporetto wharf ...
 train station wharf ... from bridge over canal ...



  beautiful palazzi from another era and
in differing states of repair line the canals ...
 



 lined up and still in their pj's ...

 produce markets ...

 early morning reflections ...


 gondola service centre ...





 parking chaos ...

 not for the faint-hearted at 80Euro ( A$120.) for a half-hour ride
even for 6 people it's a tad expensive ...

 builder's boat ...

 even bottled water delivered by boat ...

 more early morning deliveries ...

 crowds queuing everywhere ...

 lots of white knuckled tourists 
holding on for dear life as they cross the Grande Canal 
in front of the fast approaching vaporetto ...

 a good gondolero argument ... 
lots of hand waving and shouting ...

no way you're getting me out in mid-stream 
in one of those flimsy things ...  

bringing in the heavy machinery ...
 ambulance ferrying the sick and dying ...

  police keeping an eye on the traffic ...

 keep to the right and give way to smaller craft ( I think ...???) ...

 early morning deliveries ... 
delivery from the local bottle shop ...
 The Rialto Bridge ...

 
another view - and another scillion photographs ......

 water taxi...

... what you don't see are the water buses and the service craft 
bearing down on this cute Venetian scene ... 
as I said earlier " ... not for nervous traveler - 
I like to see the bottom of the water way ..." 
... the mirky waters of the Grande Canal are about 5m deep 
- and in the even mirkier waters of the side canals - 2m deep ... 
and that's not including several centuries of mud ...

And in a blog to come I'll take you into the smaller side canals for a more peaceful and quieter look-see at the beautiful scenery of the Venice waterways ...