On monday it was raining, between softly and pretty briskly. On the one hand it keeps the tourists away, on the other hand it was a bit dismal.

Venice is the ultimate tourist town, with 9 tourists to each native Venetian. We were all out in Saint Mark’s square, taking pictures of each other, or alternatively trying to take a picture that would make the square seem empty of us, and at most the pigeons.

We visited the Basilica, which is more Byzantine than western. Not really my style. Also there were lots of people, and navigating that was no fun. The treasury and the altar piece had to be paid for separately, so they were actually a bit more enjoyable. Lots of gold, silver, jewels, and bit of bone of saints.

The Doge’s palace, on the other hand, was a constant stream of amazement. Paolo had mentioned a large room that was architecturally impressive, so when we got to the first largish room I thought, ok, maybe at the time it was big. And then we got to another room, much larger, and with an impressive layout, and I thought, Ok, this is serious business. And then we got to the actual large hall, big enough to accommodate (standing room only) two thousand and some citizens of Venice…. Basically a covered soccer field. Pretty impressive, for a 15th century building, or any age.

A very old Oud player:

I don’t like pigeons much but this one was too cute not to shoot. With my camera, I mean.

We walked around some more in the rain. Not too many tourists out, even on the Rialto bridge, which can otherwise be a human traffic jam.

I insist on closing the day at Cafe Florian: a great combo is playing, and coffee with liqueur is only 12 Euro, plus 6 Euro surcharge for the live music.