Our itinerary in the Venetian Lagoon:
Two years without a boat, it's unbearable for us! Even if we allowed ourselves some sea voyages, important ones which we would not have been able to do on our own transportation, we feel nostalgic for the on-board life and therefore, when our eyes fell on an advertisement for an house-boat rental operating in the lagoon we immediately jumped for the telephone, hoping they had a boat available at such a short notice.
They have a boat, albeit a small one, and so just two days
after we arrive at the port of Chioggia, right at the other extremity of the
Venetian Lagoon from our summer residence in Jesolo.
The town is still nowadays an important fishing fleet establishment; we have no time for a visit, because by the time when we have completed the check in formalities and we have our boat to ourselves, night is approaching and we would like to start moving towards Venice.
Night falls, and it starts to rain as well, so we are forced to seek shelter in one of the tiny ports which are scattered around the lagoon (our rental rules demand that we moor at night).
Our tiny boat and Baby at the helm
Mussel-fishing boats speed-by while we wait for the rain to stop.
Rain stops only by late morning and we can start again on our under-powered and very poorly-handling boat, heading for the central part of the lagoon, where Venice is located.
Ci avviciniamo a Venezia; in lontananza, si intravede il campanile di San Marco
The Grand Canal and all waterways inside the town are off-limits to non-residents, but we are allowed to sail along the Giudecca and then the San Marco canals, which allow us to pass just in front of Saint Mark's Square!
We have been here many times aboard the water-busses, but being there on "our" own boat is an entirely different feeling, although the helmsman must be very careful and keep both eyes well open for the innumerable vessels passing-by, from motor-launches to cruise liners!
It's certainly one of the most-photographed
places on earth, but St.Mark's Square still retains its fascination.
SAN FRANCESCO NEL DESERTO:
We carry on, zig-zagging around the many islands surrounding Venice proper; we have a look at the reserved mooring in the island of Vignole, and decide to carry on towards the island of San Francesco nel Deserto (Saint Francis in the Desert).
We were considering the option of staying here for the night, but some signs seem to indicate that we are welcome only for short visits, and then the nasty local mosquitoes make sure that we goaway after a quick visit to the local sanctuary!
In one of the busy canals surrounding the island of Burano, with its brightly-colored houses, there is another reserved mooring and this time we stop (despite our un-cooperative vessel which handles very poorly).
A sample of Burano's brightly-colored houses; the island is famous for its - supposedly handmade - laceworks
We managed to get the last available mooring
for the night in Burano; despite the low-season, there are a lot of house-boats,
all of them bigger than ours!
Morning, sunny weather, we leave at once; in order to reach the nearby island of Torcello, due to a bridge blocking the way, we have to make the turn of Burano, and then turn around Torcello as well because the mooring is at the other side of the island. Luckily, the mooring is pleasant and very convenient, being only few meters from the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta which is the island's main tourist attraction.
The Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta and a well-worn St.Mark's lion, symbol of a long-faded glory
PORTEGRANDI AND THE SILE RIVER:
Off again, sailing along invisible channels marked by the ever-present "bricole" (whithies) we head for the marina of Portegrandi and the nearby lock leading into the Sile river. We waste a lot of time to get hold of the lock-keeper, but at last we manage to get into the river.
Our original plan was to follow the river down to the estuary in Jesolo, few meters from our house, but it's too late now and we have to make-do with a short visit and then we go back to the lock and to another wait for the lock-keeper who vanished one more time!
Along the river, boats are moored everywhere, despite the sea is a good two hours away
Along narrow canals flanked by vegetation, it does not seem we are on a boat!
(left) the marina near the Sile river houses also large yachts, despite the long trip needed to reach the open sea; (right) in this part of the lagoon there are a lot of birds
A "bilancia", a typical fishing gear used in the rivers and canals of the area
This part of the lagoon is not very panoramic, we are
surrounded by thick vegetation and we se nothing else, but at least there are a
lot of birds and we meet the occasional boat heading towards the marina at the
end of the canal.
For the night, we have no other option than to stop in Burano once again; not an unpleasant stop anyway, as soon as the last water-bus takes away the last tourists, the place is very calm and cozy.
Burano's main square, nearly empty after the departure of the last water-bus
The quiet of Burano canals after sunset
Off again, this evening we must be back in Chioggia, but at least we can stop for lunch in Vignole island, at the reserved mooring which in fact is rather isolated and definitely less attractive than Burano.
After lunch, this time we sail along the inner shore of Lido island, a narrow strip of land which separates the lagoon from the sea; the atmosphere is somewhat foggy, just in character with the conclusion of this short adventure.
BACK IN CHIOGGIA:
We reach Chioggia at dusk; this time we can walk around the town, which is a sort of working-class Venice, much less gorgeous and romantic, but worth a short visit anyway.
It's been a short experience, we should have spent a few days more around the lagoon, but anyway it's been a pleasant trip in a decidedly peculiar setting, we may do it again in the future!
Last Update: 11/11/2014
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