NOTE: We’re working on getting all of the photos from the honeymoon touched up and waded through so that we can get the best photos up on the site. Keep your eyes peeled in coming days for new posts filled primarily with our favorite photos from each port.

Before making port at our final destination, we had a day to relax at sea. We slept in, watched master ice sculptors in action, attended a cooking/comedy show hosted by the executive chef and maitre de. We wrapped up the night with a formal lobster dinner, complete with baked Alaska for dessert, and some impromptu photo sessions in the plaza of the ship.

The next day we headed up to the main deck early enough to stake a claim on the port side and get a view of Venice as we came into port. And what a sight it was. While Dawin has been to Venice before, it was my first time. All I had to go on was what I’ve seen on tv and in the movies. Obviously the canals are always shown as a prominent feature in the city, but I was a little surprised to find essentially zero roads. The entirety of Venice proper is islands with mazes of tiny paths between buildings, all separated by canals of various size. The only true road that we saw led from the harbor to the mainland.

We started our exploration of the city with a water shuttle from the boat to Saint Mark’s Square (or the Piazza San Marco, as the locals would call it). Saint Mark’s is effectively the heart of the city, a massive Piazza framed by arcade arches on three sides and St. Mark’s Church to the east, which is topped with mosaics and sculptures to frame the main dome. The other immediately noticeable feature of the square is the Campanile of St. Mark’s Church – the bell tower. The Campanile is a free structure that towers over the square – and the city. The Campanile has been rebuilt several times, most recently in the early 20th century.

The Campanile marks the corner where the Piazza and the Piazzetta (little piazza) meet. The Piazzetta di San Marco is the connected square that faces the lagoon to the south of the square. The Piazzetta is flanked to the east and west by the Doge’s Palace and the Libreria respectively. The Doge’s Palace was once the home of the Doge of Venice (duh), the supreme leader of the Republic of Venice, overlooking the lagoon and the Piazzetta di San Marco. Today it stands as a museum that attracts more than a million visitors annually. The Libreria across the Piazzetta was built in the 16th century to house the library of St. Mark. The building still serves as a library today.

After taking in the sights at the square, we wandered toward the city center. After a quick pit stop for some gelato we found ourselves on the Calatravas Bridge, overlooking the Grand Canal. The Calatravas and surrounding area is covered in little shops, all affording a view of what is essentially the main “road” through the city – a lazy s curve from northwest to southeast.

After some requisite shopping in the area, we jumped in a gondola to explore the smaller side canals for a while. Our gondolier pointed out notable buildings – like Marco Polo’s residence and the apartment of Napolean’s sister – but it was also nice just to sit back and relax while floating by people’s back doors.

On our way back to the boat, we found a little glass shop selling Murano glass. The neighboring islands of Murano (only about a mile to the north) are home to world famous glass artisans, and Murano glass can be found in shops all over Venice. We came away with several small artsy dishes done in the traditional Murano fashion of placing hundreds (or even thousands) of small glass beads next to each other and fusing them into a single piece of glass. We also couldn’t leave without a little glass fish in a little glass bowl, again multiple pieces of glass placed inside or next to one another to form the final piece.

Unfortunately, our time ran out in Venice and we were left with no choice but to head back to the ship for the last time. We grabbed one last dinner and packed for the flight home. The next morning we got up early to watch the sun rise over Venice before we got in a cab and headed to the airport. 😦

Ah well, the honeymoon can’t last forever I suppose. And for all the fun we had, it was nice to be able to fall asleep at home in our own bed again.

As noted at the top of this post, I’ll be tossing up a bunch of pictures over the next week or two, so keep an eye out for that. And if you don’t see any photos in this post, check back tonight, as I’ll have a few choice ones up in a couple hours.