Day Three: Lido and the MSC Armonia

We left our hotel today after a really nice walk around Venice Lido. Lido is a nice change of pace from the city, much greener and less crowded. It’s a long, narrow island with a wide beach on the ocean side, a wall with steps down to the water on the lagoon side, and down the middle is a two lane road (with cars), lined with shops and apartments.

Several smaller canals cut through Lido. The photo shows our hotel shuttle leaving the dock for the city, backing out of the dock just like a car, then turning to head down the canal.

It seems that in Italy, you just carve out a space for yourself and let everyone go around you. Middle-aged ladies ride their bicycles down the side of the narrow Lido main street with fresh produce in their baskets and don’t seem to worry much about cars coming up behind them. If you can weave your way through the crowd, you go for it, and elbows are optional. I think there must be an unwritten Italian national motto that says “I was here first.”

This is nowhere more apparent than on the water. There are boats everywhere, all sharing the same waterways, from fishing boats to cruise liners. Riding to and from the hotel in the shuttle boat was kind of nerve-wracking…I was sure we were going to run headlong into another boat several times. If you are a bigger boat, you can muscle your way through, but if you are a smaller boat, you can just zip right around any obstacle in your way. It’s obvious that Venetians love their boats, and for all my nail-biting, they seem to know exactly what they are doing.

At noon, we checked out of our hotel and took the shuttle into the city for the last time. We bought tickets for the Alilaguna again, €22 for us and our luggage to travel from San Marco to the terminal crociere, the cruise terminal.

I have never been on a cruise before. In hindsight, it might have been smarter of me to book our first cruise on an English-speaking ship. MSC Armonia speaks Italian from stem to stern, but it’s fun to hear announcements in Italian, French, Spanish, German, and English. I can pick out a few words in the Italian announcements, but not enough to really understand what they are talking about.

We ate dinner in the Marco Polo Restaurant at a table for six, and they must try hard to put together people who speak the same language. It wouldn’t be much fun to dine with someone you couldn’t really talk to. We sat with Gary and Carolyn, a husband and wife all the way from Perth, Australia, and Maggie and Helen, a mother and daughter from Hong Kong, though Helen (the daughter) lives in Canada. Maggie and Helen were rather quiet, but Gary and Carolyn were quite boisterous (maybe a little drunk by the end of the meal) and we had a good time. It will be nice to sit with them all again tomorrow and find out how their day went.

We’ve left the lights of Venice behind us now, sailing for Ancona, Italy. Soon enough, we’ll just look back and say, “Remember that cruise we took to Italy?” I plan on making sure there are lots of wonderful memories.

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