After the now routine early wake up, breakfast and bag packing, we departed Trieste amid discussions of last nights dinner fiasco, which was repeated by several other groups separately. The bus made an autogrill stop about an hour before we arrived in Venice. We walked to the hotel to drop unwanted carry-ons and use WC and our bags were portered by boat. The hotel had a satellite photo collage of city in the lobby, so we could see the general layout and get a feel for where we were and where we'd be going.
At 11:30 we all took a water taxi around to the waterfront near St. Marco, going around the Adriatic side of the city. Rita gave us landmarks for meeting later and for finding the boat at the end of the day. We had lunch at the Nouvo Grotto down an alley before the last bridge by St. Marco. We had Calimari salad and gnocchi, followed by cream-puffs covered in ganache mousse.
Afterwards we wandered St. Marco square window shopping and scaring pigeons. At 14:00 we toured the Doge Palace with a local guide who told us about the political basis of the palace's structures. In the loggia, Jane tarried to take photos. When she hurried to catch up with the rapidly dissappearing group, she caught her sandal on the uneven floor and fell. Fortunately, the camera was uninjured--the same could not be said of her knee. At the end of the tour our guide discussed St. Marco's history of grave robbing and body snatching and the mosaics on the basillica's facade that illustrated the story of how St. Mark's body came to rest in Venice. Then our group got a tour of a local glass workshop showroom with a demonstration of glass blowing. The artisan made a vase and a cat in an electric kiln. The majority of the glasswork is done on an island away from the main city because gas kilns are banned in the city proper. The showroom had a lot of neat stuff, including millefiore based pieces.
Later, while some of our group went on the gondolas, we window shopped for a millefiore ring for Jane's sister, Amanda, (without luck) then went to dinner at the Ristorante Pizzeria Cleopatra down an alley off the waterfront near the boat meeting point. We both get beer and pizza, followed by chocolate gellati. The pizza was outstanding. Jane suggests the dough is unleavened. Allan will have to experiment. At 19:00 we met the group for the return boat to the hotel.