We'd heard good and bad about Venice and there's certainly bits of both. The lagoon setting's fantastic and the architecture is stunning but many of the buildings appear run down (they probably aren't) and in places the crowds of tourists make the narrow streets feel a bit claustrophobic.

The worst thing though is that Venice is ruinously expensive. Italy in general is not cheap, our supermarket shopping in Germany we reckon was at least 30% cheaper than in Italy but you can't help but feel exploited in Venice. The bus and public boat prices are reasonable but food and drink costs are crazy, 13 euro for a beer, we had Bacardi Breezers, only 9.90 euro each. Anyway let's concentrate on the good.

Rialto Bridge

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View from the Rialto Bridge

The Rialto bridge above is the oldest crossing the Grand Canal completed in 1591, designed by Antonio da Ponte. It is a fantastic piece of architecture and engineering but attracts so many admirers that it's difficult to move in the crush.

Opposite is a view from the bridge showing that the canal is very much a working waterway as well as a tourist trap. The public boats operating on the canal are very efficient and are used by locals as well as tourists but boy are they crowded.

Below are a few more pics showing the Rialto area. We did find a nice quiet spot for Sue to take my photo but it was a dead end, you'd have been in the canal if you'd tried to go any further.

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  View from the bridge   Rialto view  
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  Gondolas   Eric  
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Before we left Rialto and made our way through the narrow streets to St Marks Square (fortunately the route was pretty well signposted) we took a quick selfie, our very first! Even got a tiny bit of the bridge in the background.

The square (particularly the Basilica) and the waterfront beyond are fantastic and I'm afraid my photographic skills don't do them justice. The view out over the lagoon is beautiful and without a doubt Venice is well worth a visit.

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  St Marks Basilica   St Marks Square  
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  Pidgeons   Basilica  
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  The band   Lagoon  
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Breezers We almost forgot that our ice cold Bacardi Breezers had cost very nearly 20 euros so we did another selfie!
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Belgium and the Spa GP Koblenz and the Rhine Weinstrasse and the Black Forest


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