Ailsa’s travel theme: Night

Ailsa’s travel theme this week, is “Night.” I thought that I didn’t have any photos actually taken after dark, but then I remembered our Italian tour last October, so here are some pics from our two nights in the fascinating city of Venice.

On our first evening, we had a half hour private motor launch “Magical Venice” tour of the Grand Canal and many of its side alleys, ending up in Piazza S. Marco. It was so peaceful, with just the lapping of the water and the purr of the motor, as we slowly sailed past all the apartments, restaurants and churches.

Every so often, we heard church bells ringing in the distance. So awesome, but unfortunately too dark for any decent photos.

After the boat ride, the two of us found a small pavement cafe where we shared a pizza, a bottle of wine and  a delicious Tiramisu, before meeting up with the rest of our group at the “Chirggia Bar,” in the Piazza, for drinks and music.

I had to pinch myself to make sure it was real. Here I was, sitting in the famous Piazza San Marco, surrounded by beautiful architecture, drinking a delicious ‘Bellini’, and listening to a great jazz trio playing really romantic songs, such as “The way you look tonight,” and the theme from “The Godfather.” They did hot it up a bit with their fabulous rendition of “Hey Mambo,” and people were soon up and dancing in the square. Such a very happy evening.

The following day was the final day of our tour, and in the late afternoon, we left our hotel for a ‘taxi’ ride across the lagoon. We’d booked a night-time Gondola ride.

The sun was setting behind the church, as we sailed across.

Here is San Marco’s Square on the left, with the Doge’s Palace in the middle, and The Bridge of Sighs on the right.

Our Gondolier was waiting for us, and I gingerly stepped in first, half expecting it to capsize, but fortunately, although it rocked like crazy, I made it to the ‘love seat’ at the front, and then hubby and our four friends got in too.

We pulled away from the pier,

and set off under the ‘Bridge of Sighs’, so-called because it was the bridge over which prisoners were led before being incarcerated in the prison. They usually died there, as the conditions were appalling, and the cells barely even big enough for a person to lie down. It was being seriously renovated, hence all the scaffolding.

As you’ve probably noticed, our boatman was not the most cheerful looking guy. We asked him to sing to us, because surely that’s what Gondoliers do when they’re sailing along?  He just glowered at us, and said it would be extra, but when the guy in the gondola in front of ours started to sing “Buona sera senorita,” ours decided to join in, albeit somewhat halfheartedly. A local man walking along the path, called out in Italian, “He can’t even sing. Why don’t you just tell him to shut up?” We had to laugh, but he didn’t even smile. 😉

We passed between really tall, old buildings, some with the stone steps half hidden under the water, and were told that in winter all the ground floors are flooded. The plaster had fallen off the outside walls long ago, and they looked extremely ‘distressed’.

We could see into the living rooms of people’s apartments as we sailed past.

It was now getting dark, and a church bell was tolling in the distance. I couldn’t help imagining those unfortunate prisoners of long ago, cooped up in their tiny cells, hearing that same bell, day after day until they died. It really was very spooky, and in some parts, the smell was really awful. When there was a sudden gushing of water from an outlet at the base of one building, I wondered if someone up there had just flushed the ‘loo’.

Here is a restaurateur waiting to welcome diners, who would be arriving by gondola.

Our ride was for about half an hour, and then we suddenly emerged out of the gloom, into the bright lights again, where more tourists were waiting to take our place.

Our guide led us through the streets to our restaurant, the “Trattoria Do Forni,” which was absolutely wonderful. She told us it was one of the best in Venice, and I’m sure she was right.  I had the most delicious four course meal; Prawn cocktail in Aurora sauce, Linguine with seafood, Fillet of sole with zucchini, and last but by no means least, the best Tiramisu I’ve ever eaten. The decor was very elegant, and don’t you just adore these Venetian glass, wall lights?

It was a fabulous farewell dinner, and a wonderful evening to end our Italian tour, which I think I must share with you all soon.

56 comments on “Ailsa’s travel theme: Night

  1. Oh, this sounds lovely. And the photos are great too. Another place I just have to go!

  2. I’ve come to the conclusion that I no longer need to travel the world, I can just read your blog! There are pics of places and food, what more does a person need? 😉

  3. brings back so many memories as we were there around the same time as you. You managed to get some lovely photos, much nicer than mine 🙂

  4. What a great post, please share some more, I ‘ve only spent a few days in Italy so I’s like to hear about it. It looks like it will soon be too late for Venice, must be hideous having your home flooded every winter.
    I know what you mean about pinching yourself when you arrive in one of your dream destinations, Africa does that for me and also being face to face with wild orang-utans.

  5. Lovely pics AD, I especially like the church one with sun setting behind, and the last one with you and your hubby…beautiful.

  6. I love Venice and Italy… reminded me my Italy days… Your photographs are so beautiful, especially yours with your husband and also the last one… I can imagine how beautiful travel was… Thank you dear AD, love, nia

  7. Oh boy, Venice has got to be one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories with this lovely tour around the streets and canals of this enchanting place. Shame you had a grumpy gondolier, but it sounds like that meal at Trattoria Do Forni made up for it. Yum!

  8. The things I remember from when we went to Venice was feeding the pigeons and the smell….oh and I burnt my hand in the glass blowing place by picking up a red hot tool (I was about 10).

  9. By looking at the photos one can see you had a wonderful time,venice is beautiful,love your scarf,thanks for sharing the pics. 🙂

  10. Beautiful and how romantic! I went to Venice at the ripe age of 13 with my family and will never forget it. I love the canals. I need to go back as it has been a very long time now. Gorgeous pictures! 🙂

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