Walkways and Waterways

Ah… Venice.  What can I possibly say about Venice that hasn’t already been said?

We got up at the usual time this morning, went up to the Lido self-service and enjoyed a good breakfast as usual, before going out onto the pool deck to have a look around.  As well as the Queen Victoria and the Braemar in port, we could see several more ships; the Costa Riviera again as well as an MSC one and an AIDA one.  It looked as if Venice was going to be busy today.

We decided we’d go out and explore on our own this morning, and be back on board for lunchtime.  The reason was because Trevor’s older brother Billy and his wife Carole were flying out to join the Queen Victoria today, and spend the second week of our cruise with us, so we wanted to be around for their arrival.  😊

We gathered together anything we’d need; camera, currency, credit cards etc, then went down to disembark. The port was extremely busy with people coming and going from the various ships, a lot of them trundling suitcase with them.  We could also see aircraft coming in to land to the airport which was away over to our left, on the mainland.

We fought our way through the crowds in the cruise terminal then followed the main road around to our right, until the people and the traffic thinned out a bit.  We walked through some picturesque narrow streets and came out at the other end of the famous Grand Canal, at the opposite end from St Mark’s Square.  Several gondolas sailed serenely past, their camera-toting passengers being punted along by the gondolier in his striped jersey and straw boater.  There was no-one singing O, Sole Mio though.  😊

We passed lots of little narrow streets, totally captivating with their roads made out of water, spanned by tiny hump-backed bridges.  The shops were colourful and interesting, and sold wines and spirits, handicrafts, clothes, masks, Murano glass items, chocolates and baked goods, and of course ice creams and pasta.  We enjoyed just strolling about in the sunshine soaking up the atmosphere.

After a while, we came to Piazzale Roma, a large square opposite the bus station.  As it was thirsty work walking in the hot sunshine (!), we decided to go into a nearby café for a cold beer and to write out some postcards I’d bought.  Then we posted them outside in a convenient postbox and started to make our leisurely way back to the Queen Victoria.  As we did so, we noticed a British Airways aeroplane on its final approach into the airport and wondered if it was the one carrying Billy and Carole.  😊

Back in the cruise terminal we once again joined the crowds which were augmented by the new arrivals getting ready to embark the Queen Victoria and start their cruise.  We joined the queue for existing passengers, went through security, then up the gangplank once again.  A lift had just arrived and we were in time to see Billy and Carole disappearing into it; so we ran and joined them just as the door closed.  😊

We found out they were in stateroom 5123, an identical balcony cabin to ours, but on the starboard side of the ship.  We let them get settled in their room then said we’d join them for some lunch in the Lido restaurant shortly.

After lunch we were back in our stateroom when our internal phone rang; it was Billy asking us along to their cabin to share the complimentary bottle of prosecco with them.  They had the sunshine on their side of the ship and it was very pleasant out on their balcony, just chatting, enjoying the cold fizz, and looking at some previous holiday photos they had on their iPad.

By the time we’d finished the bottle, their suitcases had arrived so we left them to their unpacking agreeing to meet up again in the restaurant for dinner at 6.00pm.  We’d been allocated a new table for four this week; table #501 by the window.

We pottered around a bit on our balcony, where we heard the foghorn sound from the Braemar as she set off once more, then I got showered and shampooed and ready for dinner.  I wore my yellow, black and white dress with the black and white shoes and then we made our way to our table; we’d had to explain last night to Ram and Fil, our waiters from table #529, that we were going to be on a different table this week, but we made sure they knew that it wasn’t because we weren’t happy with their service!

Dinner was a scrumptious affair once again, and the wine and conversation flowed as evening descended over Venice.  We weren’t due to set sail until 10 o’clock tonight, so a few people were still absent from the dining room.

We got finished in good time, so we went along to the Golden Lion for a post-prandial drink and to do the quiz, somewhat half-heartedly .  Billy and Carole weren’t too keen on quizzes or on the lively and noisy Golden Lion, preferring the dimly-lit, soothing atmosphere on the Commodore Club upstairs instead.

Show time tonight, in the Royal Court Theatre, came in the shape of internationally-acclaimed flautist Stephen Clark, who regularly performs around 200 concerts a year in 90 countries.  Wow!  He was very good indeed, backed by the fabulous ship’s orchestra.  Several people stood up to applaud at the end.

Afterwards, the four of us adjourned to the Commodore Club, where we enjoyed martinis and cocktails as the pianist tinkled the ivories in the background.  As we did so, the Queen Victoria almost imperceptibly put to sea once more.  This has to be one of the calmest cruises we’ve ever done; you would hardly know you were on a ship.

Around 11.00pm we returned to our respective staterooms for the evening; where Trevor and I had our usual nightcap on the balcony, reading the programme for tomorrow as well as the handy news bulletins they give out each night, called Britain Today.

Tomorrow we were due to arrive in another new port of call – Rijeka, Croatia.  We slept very well.

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