Thursday, 18 August 2016


We found it curious that there wasn’t a direct flight from Malta to Venice. We flew Malta Airlines to Rome then had a ‘lovely’ 4 hour stopover at Rome airport before changing to Alitalia for the second flight to Venice. I must say that the Alitalia staff at the airport were superb – good humoured and very helpful, so after checking in for the second time in a day we wandered off to have lunch while waiting for our flight. What else should we have but pizza and a delicious gelati icecream?

Venice was our embarkation port for our cruise and we arrived a day early and so had time to wander around this amazing city. 

Our small hotel – Hotel Ala – was quite close to St Mark’s Square and again we were so lucky with our choice. The staff were most friendly and helpful and the morning breakfast was just wonderful. Couldn’t have done better.

We had last visited Venice in 1973 and I must report that we were not too impressed back then. It was overcast, drizzly rain, the tide was very high so we had to walk across St Mark’s Square on duckboards, the buildings all looked like they were crumbling and needed restoration and finally piles of smelly garbage were everywhere including in the canals! 

This time however – it was just magical and we enjoyed the narrow walkways between the buildings and watching the gondolas passing by. Again, we had the good luck to find a great restaurant and I enjoyed a most delicious lasagne followed by a dreamy tiramisu. It had to be a totally Italian meal – nothing else would do!

Embarkation was not until the afternoon, so we continued with our Venice sightseeing visiting a most beautiful old chapel used as a lacemaking centre. Stunning handwork and I bought a small piece of traditional Venice handworked lace.

Browsed a few shops as the queues for St Marks and the Doge Palace were miles long. Several cruise ships had arrived so you can just imagine  the crowds.

Not willing to queue in the sun for two plus hours, we decided to try and remember the interiors from 43 years ago then we had a quick lunch before taking a water taxi to ‘our’ cruise ship – the Oosterdam.

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