She Said, She Said: Venice
by Geri Bain and Jenny Keroack
Five years after their first blogged adventure (She Said She Said London) Jenny Keroack, now 23 years old, and her mom, travel writer Geri Bain, set off on a new journey. This trip centered on three great societies: the Ancient Greeks, the Ottomans, and the Venetians. Starting in Athens, they set sail on a Windstar Cruise to Venice, tracing the interwoven histories of these superpowers. After the cruise, they headed to the Dolomites for a few days of hiking. As with their last adventure, they recorded their impressions and favorite finds along the way. Jenny’s are in italics; Geri’s are in regular type. The following is their seventh installment, logged from Venice.
We were excited that our Windstar Cruise would enter the city of Venice via the Giudecca Canal, just as traders and emissaries had in the heyday of the Venetian Empire.
Cruising by St. Mark’s Square. We got up at 6:30 am so we could be on deck as we cruised into Venice but were disappointed to see nothing but thick fog. I was sad that we would miss out on the experience of watching our arrival by sea, but I needn’t have worried. Cruise ships and even water taxis and gondolas don’t sail when the fog is too thick. The captain announced that he wasn’t sure how long it would be until the fog would lift, but he would keep us posted. After a leisurely breakfast, we waited. And waited. About four hours later, the captain announced that the fog had lifted and we would be sailing into Venice shortly. Sitting on deck and watching the exquisite buildings vying for our attention on all sides, we agreed it was worth the wait.
The real thing. As the name of our itinerary, “Venetian Passageways”, suggests, our cruise seemed to be building towards its finale in Venice. Nafplio, Kotor, Dubrovnik and Hvar were all part of the Venetian Republic for centuries. Great builders and artists as well as traders and warriors, the Venetians endowed their port cities with a distinctive aesthetic. By the time we reached Venice, we had come to know the graceful architecture, richly decorated churches, and marble streets that characterize a Venetian city. Each port was stunning in its own way, but it was the Venetian themes they had in common that empowered us to more fully appreciate Venice itself. Looking at the grandeur of The Doge’s Palace, the colonnaded buildings surrounding St. Mark’s Square, and the ornate architectural details at every turn, it was obvious that Venice was the capital of the Venetian Republic in every way.
Gelato and art. The last time we were in Venice, we had three days and a long list of places we wanted to explore. This time, we took a less purposeful approach. Setting out from the cruise port, we walked past the student district to the Galleria Dell Accademia, which houses renowned works by Titian, Veronese and other Venetian artists. Then we meandered down quiet alleys that opened onto busy plazas, stopping to watch artists painting along the canal, and happening upon small shops selling unusual jewelry and crafts. Our biggest decision was where to indulge in gelato before finding our way back to the ship.
Next: We rent a car and drive to the Dolomites, part of the Northern Italian Alps.
Geri Bain, a widely published travel writer and editor, has written about more than 65 countries. While travel editor at Modern Bride magazine, she wrote an acclaimed guide to Honeymoons and Weddings Away. She is a past president of the New York Travel Writers Association and former editorial director of Endless Vacation magazine.
23-year-old Jenny Keroack, a recent graduate from University of Chicago, has written for The Gate, Observer Tribune and other publications and is now a Senior Analyst at National Journal’s Network Science Initiative.