I am fascinated by the activity on the canals and lagoons in Venice. I can sit and watch them for hours. There are no vehicles of course and everything has to be transported by water.
[Sorry about the sound – I don’t know how to remove it yet!]
The gondolas, vaporettos and water taxis are the most obvious, but they are actually only a small part of the traffic.
In the morning in particular, there are all sorts of boats on the smaller canals, with people loading and unloading everything imaginable.
Yesterday, we saw a speed boat called Sanitrans which pulled up at a landing to collect a man in a wheel chair.
Imagine having a mattress delivered or large pieces of furniture. No wonder everything in our home exchange flat comes from Ikea. The delivery charges must be horrendous.
Of course, once the goods are taken out of the boats, they have to be transported by hand so the delivery men (I have not seen any women!) all have these nifty little carts with extra wheels to help them go up and down the hump-backed bridges. And a lot of arm and leg muscles.
We can only guess what all the hoses are for on the boat above.
Several times we saw people training for regattas but they are so fast that it’s difficult to catch them in time.
Today we went to the maritime museum near the Arsenal, a bargain at less than 2 euro per person and half-empty. They have a very large collection of scale models of every shape and size, spread out over five stories, including a room dedicated to the stunningly decorated Bucintoro, which was the ceremonial barge of the Doges of Venice.
Every year, on Ascension Thursday, the Doge would throw a ring into the lagoon, symbolizing the marriage of Venice to the sea. The museum has a collection of these rings. We were mystified when we first saw them!
While we were having a cappuccino opposite the lagoon, a barge went past loaded with cranes and cement mixers!
The gondola experience still awaits us so keep tuned!