Monday, June 06, 2016

Sailing Past Venice

Although the trip officially started on Saturday we didn’t actually start biking until today (Monday).  Sunday included a short guided tour of Venice (mostly back streets) as a lot of the guests had only arrived in Venice on Saturday and had not had a chance to explore the city.  Our guide Hein also gave us much information about acqua alto (high water), which floods the streets of Venice about 20 times a year. Fifty years ago it would only occur once or twice a year so it has become quite a concern. When the water is high, affected by tides, winds, global warming, etc, the streets can be under 2 or 3 feet of water and you can’t walk anywhere for fear of falling in the canals. The doors have wooden barriers that are installed temporarily to keep out the water.

Pisa isn't the only place in Italy that has leaning towers. The unstable ground beneath Venice will produce more photo ops.
In the evening Hein gave us a more detailed explanation about how they are going to erect dikes to control the flow of water. The compromised solution was an underwater inflatable dike that would expand as the water level rose, and deflate as it dropped. Construction started on this 6 or 7 years ago, costs went from 1 to 7 billion, and several officials have been found guilty of fraud. No one knows when it might be completed.

This morning (Monday) we sailed past Venice, giving us a grand view of San Marco (behind us in this photo), over to Lido where we started biking.  

Lido is a very long narrow island and at the end of the island we boarded the ferry that took us to Pellestrina. Almost the entire journey took place along the ocean – mostly the Venice Lagoon but also the Adriatic Sea. The villages were hard working fishing villages – mostly clams and mussels.  We stopped at one processing place where Hein explained about the mussels.

Our guide has a pretty good idea about the constitution of the group and every hour or so we have a stop for cafe/peepee. This was one of our stops today.
 The whole group - minus the guy taking the picture!
 Boarding the ferry at the south end of Lido.
 Beautiful little villages along the water. And the weather is perfect - mid 20s!
Tonight we're on the mainland - Chioggia, often called little Venice - the hub of the fishing industry in the area with a huge fish market that we'll visit in the morning.

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