India’s international flights opening soon???..Facing reality…More 2013 photos from Venice…

With the hot sun, the massive crowds, the going rate of $125 to $150 a couple, and, as evidenced here, the gondola traffic jam, we decided to forego the 30-minute ride in the congested canals.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from June 17, 2013, while in Venice, Italy. See the link here for more details.
Hard to resist. Fun to see.

More news on COVID-19 in India at this time:

From this site:
“MAHARASHTRA’S (state where Mumbai is located) Covid-19 death tally surged by 1409 on Tuesday, taking its total toll to 5,537, following a data reconciliation process initiated by the state government. Of 1409 deaths, only 81 deaths were reported on Tuesday. The remaining 1328 deaths have occurred since March and have been added to the numbers now.” 

 Inside the courtyard of the Universita Ca, Foscari was a decoration made of trash.

The above numbers contradict those we’ve discussed below taken from the Worldometer tracking site. We often wonder how impossible it is for the records to be accurate under these dire circumstances. But, what else do we have to determine the risks in various countries?

Leonardo da Vinci exhibit was being held at the museum.

In other news, we’ve heard numerous comments on TV news regarding the possibility of international flights resuming in India. A discussion will be initiated in July by the powers-that-be. 

Water buses along the Grand Canal.
With June more than half over, it’s possible we could know something in 3 to 4 weeks. Based on our reading and research, our expectations leave us wondering if it could be 4 to 6 months until international flights resume.
Tight quarters.  Lots of boats.
As India’s virus case counts continue to rise, we’re doubtful the lockdown will be released any sooner than September. Each hour, as I walk the corridors, I stop and peer out a window at the end of one of the corridors, the only window on my walking course.
This was as close as we got to the gondolas.
From morning to late afternoon, I can see an area where numerous men congregate to drink tea and talk. Few of these men, as they sit nearby, are wearing masks or social distancing.
Murano glass figurines from a shop window.
The above comment is not intended to single out “men.” It’s purely a cultural aspect of life in India. Women work, shop, and keep the home, while many men congregate in public areas, whether working or not.
Clock Tower.
This fact alone may prevent India from reducing its number of cases for a long time to come. It may be only possible through “herd immunity,” which may take one or two years to achieve. For that reason alone, even if we could go outside, we would not. We don’t want to take the risk of being included in the tally of herd immunity.
Piazza of St. Mark’s, impressive, eh?
Based on tracking of COVID-19 on this site which we’ve been watching daily, as of yesterday, India had more new deaths than any other country in the world. With a total of 2006 new deaths, compared to the #1 country globally, the USA has the highest number of cases and deaths, which had 849 recent deaths. 
Basilica di San Marco.
India now is #4 in the world for the most number of cases and deaths. With the massive population of over 1.3 billion, it’s entirely conceivable that India will surpass the US in the number of cases and fatalities and reach the dreadful #1 position in the world. The total population of the US is 328 million, almost one-quarter of the people of India.
A great shot at every turn.
Are we prepared to wait this out? At this point, yes. We’re holding our own. We hope all of you are as well.
Views along the waterway on the return to the ship.

BTW, if you are looking for an engaging, addictive, binge-watching series, search for Australia’s “A Place to Call Home.” It has 60 hour-long episodes. We love every moment. It’s available on Acorn TV on Amazon Prime, which offers a one-month free trial. 

Photo from one year ago today, June 17, 2020:

Ruins of a castle on the drive to Balleyconneely while in Connemara, Ireland. For more photos, please click here.

Looking back to Venice Italy on this date 7 years ago…Then on to Tuscany for three months…

As our ship made its way to the port of Venice, our mouths were agape in surprise at the historic treasure before our eyes.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from June 16, 2013, while in Venice, Italy. See the link here for more details.
As shown in today’s photos, while on a cruise on this date in 2013, we spent a day in Venice, Italy, a location we’d looked forward to visiting as we considered some of the world’s most exciting points of interest.
We noticed one historic building after another.

The memories of that day are as evident in our minds today as if it was only months ago, not the entire seven years from this date. We’re often surprised at ourselves for remembering finite details of touring renowned locations such as this. But, we found ourselves in awe of this and, of course, many other such sites throughout the world.

Many of our readers have written to us over the years sharing their experiences in places such as Venice, and in each case, they’ve loved it too. No doubt, we did as well, although one missing element has been our lack of interest in shopping.

The waterways were exactly as we had perceived them, crowded with a seemingly never-ending maze of canals.

In my old life (before traveling the world), I would have been over the top with excitement to shop in a place like Venice. The colorful little shops lined the narrow walkways with a plethora of tourist-type and specialty products.

Whether it was hats, scarves, leather goods, artwork, or jewelry, the stores, with relatively high prices from paying high rents to have the opportunity to be located in this area of constant tourist traffic, all was appealing to the eye.
Over the years, we’ve found a degree of enjoyment simply from window shopping as we did in Venice so long ago.

Check out the crowds!

In 2013, cruise ships were allowed to dock at a nearby pier that only required a short shuttle ride and about a 15-minute walk to arrive at the canal city. Over the years, that has changed as indicated in this article below from this site:

“The Italian government has announced it will be rerouting cruise ships away from central parts of Venice. This move follows a long campaign by residents to stop large ships from docking in the Unesco-listed city.

Every direction we turned, there was another waterway.

On Wednesday, Italy’s transport minister Danilo Toninelli said that cruise ships would be diverted away from their current route, reported the Financial Times, therefore banning them from entering the historic grand canal.

Toninelli said he had been looking at temporary ports “to avoid witnessing more invasions of the Giudecca by these floating palaces, with the scandals and the risks that they bring.”

What a view!

In 2018, 502 cruise ships brought 1.56 million passengers to Venice, contributing to the overcrowding already swamping the narrow canals and walkways.

Meanwhile, there are environmental concerns about the impact of ships passing through the Venetian Lagoon and along the Giudecca Canal.”

The buildings along the canals were often unique, but more were attached.

In June, a collision between 2,150-passenger ocean cruise ship MSC Opera and Uniworld river cruise ship The River Countess (four passengers were injured) heightened calls for a ban. Italy’s environment minister Sergio Costa tweeted that the incident confirmed ships must not pass the Giudecca area.

Next month, some cruise ships will dock at the Fusina and Lombardia terminals away from the city center but still within the lagoon. However, from next year a third of cruise ships will be rerouted away from the city.

The cathedrals were breathtaking.

A plan to reroute cruise ships dates back to 2017 when an Italian governmental committee decided that cruise vessels weighing 96,000 tonnes or more would be prevented from docking in the lagoon in front of St Mark’s Square.”

After spending several hours walking the streets of Venice with tired legs, we decided to take a water taxi back to the ship. I imagine that in recent years, passengers were being transported to the area by buses or taxis. 
As our ship continued to our docking location.
I’d be curious to hear from any of our readers who’ve visited Venice by cruise ship about how they arrived at the canals in the past few years. Feel free to post a comment at the end of today’s post, anonymously if you prefer.
Our favorite points of interest while on the self-guided walking tour was visiting St. Mark’s Square and the Bridge of Sighs. We’d considered embarking on one of the romantic gondolas in the canals, but the price at that time was INR 9480, US $150, per couple for a 30-minute ride, more than we cared to spend. 

All these photos were taken from our ship as it maneuvered through the main channel approaching the cruise ship pier in Venice.
This type of tourist activity generally doesn’t appeal to us, especially when we notice the gondolas were stopped in “traffic” for extended periods. It made no sense to spend that kind of money to sit in a gondola. It may have been more worthwhile in the evening, but our visit occurred during the daylight hours.
One of the most exciting parts of that day was when our ship sailed into the magnificent Venetian Grand Canal when we had our first glimpse of the canal city. Our cabin was on the ship’s right side, allowing us a bird’s eye view as we entered the area. 
As we approached the pier for the cruise ships, we noticed they were lined up back to back.
At times, our “occasional” readers may presume we only get excited about wildlife and nature. However, we’ve experienced many stunning locations, such as Venice, that will permanently be emblazoned in our minds over the years.
For the balance of our first published posts regarding our visit to Venice, please click here. Tomorrow, we’ll share Part 2 of our visit to Venice. Please check back.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, June 16, 2019:

In Connemara, Ireland, this horse was fed by passersby when she got as close as she could when we stopped for a photo. For more photos, please click here.