We went out early because we found out that there was an event called the Vogalonga on Sunday morning which consisted of well over 1500 small boats that were rowed or paddled. They were off on a 30km trip around the Venetian islands, starting from St. Mark's lagoon. And I have to say it was quite a sight to behold. Traditional boats with all the rowers standing. Copious amounts of kayaks. Dragon boats. Big, old wooden row boats. They were all there. At 9am a canon was fired and music played them off on their way. It was definitely worth getting an early(ish) start to see.
From there we went off to see the Doge's Palace. Opulence and grandeur, and a prison next door connected to the palace by the Bright of Sighs.
That's my brothers in the background there.
The Grand Salon was the most impressive room. It truly represents the wealth and power of Venice in its heyday.
The view from the Bridge of Sighs from the inside looking out was almost better than the view from outside looking in.
We wandered around in the afternoon, and then went to the Rialto Bridge to see some of the rowers returning from their around the islands trek. I was glad we did. There was a general euphoria from the rowers/paddlers and lots of cheers for them from the onlookers.
Later on we encountered a flashback from my past in the form of a cruise ship arriving as we wandered about. Though the ships I once I sailed into Venice on were a fraction of this size, and this behemoth did not get the privilege of sailing past St. Mark's to get to the cruise terminal. I think I agree with the new rules restricting the route for these ships. This thing was massive!
Another dinner out and then I talked one of my brothers into drinks in St. Mark's Square seeing as how it was our final evening and the weather was warm and dry. A totally beautiful evening.
Yes, I know the drink prices are exorbitant but you do get live music and one of the best atmospheres in the world. Worth the price in my mind.
And that was the trip to Venice done. I have to say spending time with just my mum and my brothers was really, really nice. Turns out we still all get along well, even without the buffer zone of spouses and children. I'd happily go away with them again. Hope they feel the same.
Here's my favourite photo from our trip.
Seriously, I look at my mum striding along there and there is no way you'd ever guess we were celebrating her turning eighty. No way at all!