Lost on the Streets of Venice… Sea Ports of the Mediterranean

Walking through Venice allowed us to enjoy what was unique about the city, such as this lamp.

Walking through Venice allowed us to enjoy what was unique about the city, such as this lamp.

I have always felt the best way to learn about a city is to walk its streets. (I feel the same way about a forest.) Fortunately, I was travelling in Europe with companions who also loved to walk. For the most part, we skipped the tours recommended by the cruise line. It isn’t that the tours were bad… we enjoyed the ones we did, but they are regimented and expensive. There is no wandering off on your own, or taking longer to enjoy a particular site than the tour leader allows.

Venice is a great walking city… if you don’t mind getting a little lost. Streets have a tendency to take you somewhere you weren’t planning to go and come to abrupt ends. Street signs are rare. What the city does do, however, is post signs that will eventually lead to major monuments. And of course, you are on a relatively small island. How lost can you get?

A good map is an important tool when walking off the beaten path (or main tourist routes). We didn't always agree on where we were or the proper route to take, however... and we all considered ourselves something of experts in map reading.

A good map is an important tool when walking off the beaten path (or main tourist routes). We didn’t always agree on where we were or the proper route to take, however… and we all considered ourselves experts in map reading. Our companions caught many photos of us studying and ‘discussing’ maps. This was in Venice.  (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Common sense is important.  Wandering down dark, lonely alleys can be risky at times, regardless of where you are. But in restricting your journey to major streets and walkways, you limit your opportunities to have adventures and develop a true sense of the communities you are visiting.

It is important to look around and notice the small as well as the large, the seemingly insignificant as well as what is featured in the guidebooks. Photography helps, I believe, once you get beyond ‘we were there snap shots’ and allow your mind to feast on the wonderful variety that any area offers. It teaches you to see new things and to seek out what is unique. Following are various locations and objects that Peggy and I found of interest.

This photo provides a good example of our wandering off the main tourist routes of Venice.

This photo provides a good example of our wandering off the main tourist routes of Venice.

Peggy Mekemson knocks on a door in the back streets of Venice.

Of course, you can always stop and ask for directions…

We found this open air market just off of the Rialto Bridge. Even on a cold, rainy day, it was packed with people. I suspect there was a fair amount of Christmas shopping going on since it was mid-December.

We found this open air market just off of the Rialto Bridge. Even on a cold, rainy day, it was packed with people. I suspect there was a fair amount of Christmas shopping going on since it was mid-December.

I don't remember where I came upon this friendly looking, gargoyle-type of lion, but he was definitely worth a photo.

I don’t remember where I came upon this friendly looking, gargoyle-type of lion in Venice, but it was definitely worth a photo.

Venice street scene showing colorful buildings and flower boxes.

I felt this photo captured the colorful buildings and flower boxes of Venice streets. Also note the green pharmacy sign and green pharmacy lamp on the lower left.

Window flower boxes are common in Venice, Italy.

One thing you find much more of in Europe than in the US are flower boxes. I can depend on Peggy to photograph them. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Another example of window flower boxes in Venice. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Another example of window flower boxes in Venice. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Colorful flower box in Venice Italy.

I captured this colorful shot of a window flower box in Venice.

The Hotel Iris is definitely not one of your more swank hotels in Venice... and it knows it. I looked it up online and its website headline proclaimed: Hotel Iris: A Cheap hotel in Venice. Cheap was capitalized by the hotel. I consider that truth in advertising. In the US it would be "affordable lodging."

The Hotel Iris is definitely not one of your more swank hotels in Venice… and it knows it. I looked it up online and its website headline proclaimed: Hotel Iris: A Cheap hotel in Venice. Cheap was capitalized by the hotel. I consider that truth in advertising. In the US it would be “affordable lodging.”

Starry roman numeral 24 hour clock found off of St. Marks Square in Venice Italy.

One of the advantages of a telephoto lens is it allows you to capture detail you can’t normally see. I doubt I would have spotted the Winged Lion of St. Mark in the center of this starred 24 hour roman numeral clock found off of St. Mark’s Square. Note the wild minute hand. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

I am always intrigued by what I consider as invitations, such as this stairwell in Venice. It's saying "come and climb up. See what's up here." Unfortunately, the locked steel fence said something else.

I am always intrigued by what I consider as invitations, such as this stairwell in Venice. It’s saying “Come and climb up. See what’s up here.” Unfortunately, the locked iron fence said something else.

Iron gate in Venice.

Speaking of iron fences in Venice, was this one saying “Take my picture.” or “Don’t even think about climbing over!”?

NEXT BLOG: Window shopping in Venice. Think Masks.

9 comments on “Lost on the Streets of Venice… Sea Ports of the Mediterranean

  1. These are just fantastic. My favorite is the street scene with the green pharmacy lamp…no, wait, it’s the flower box shots…or maybe the winged lion clock… but the locked staircase is enticing, too….~grin~

  2. I agree with you on getting off the beaten path.. no matter where one travels, in order to really see the city take the roads less traveled.. You all really captured the city in all it’s glory (love all that iron work, brick and the flower boxes).. Just a thought, you should put CD’s together with these shots for your family and grandchildren. My parents did that and now their grandchildren have these cool “travel-logues”..;-)

    • One thing Peggy and I do is an annual family calendar using Apple. It goes out to brother’s, sisters, cousins, kids, nephews, nieces, etc. We include everyones Birthdays and anniversaries. It is one way to share what we do plus provide a resource for the family.

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