Photos, Travel

Hiking in Venice?

May 24, 2017
Hiking in Venice

I suspect that when you think of hiking, you imagine mountaintop vistas, strenuous climbs, and solitude. There should be trees and dirt and sweaty armpits. Probably bugs, but hopefully a few glimpses of more endearing wildlife.

hiking view

Moment from a typical hike

 

Venice is an unlikely place to find any of these things. Sealevel is nearly always within arm’s reach. The biggest (outdoor) elevation changes occur at the peaks of bridges. No dirt. (Although we did wrap-up our hike with a stroll through a secret garden.)

hiking in Venice

The high (outdoor) point in our hike. Shown is the Rialta Bridge spanning the Grand canal. At its peak, we climbed almost 8 whole meters. And I only had to stop once to catch my breath!

Instead, our flint-tiled hiking path lead us through narrow alleys bordered by ancient buildings, past ornate palaces, mansions, and Byzantine cathedrals. A cool, steady breeze and leisurely pace suppressed our armpit’s urge to do what they do, even if we don’t want them to.

 

With all these differences in mind, the hiker in me wasn’t thrilled by the prospect of several days spent wandering through another major city. I wanted to experience all the things that hiking promises: inspiring scenery, exercise for my body, and my mind (minus the torture treadmill), and a chance to rediscover the inner peace that is so hard to find in a busy big-city life. Unlikely we’d find any of this on a tiny, man-made island that hosts millions of people every year.

 

Venice, you sneaky little city, you’ve been holding out on us.

Wildlife Encounters

 

We didn’t notice any bugs, aside from those hovering near the fresh catches in Rialta Fish Market, but the flocks of seagulls and pigeons reminded us of our place on the food chain. They dive-bombed unwary tourists, or strutted casually through the campos with an air of superiority and confidence that I hope to master when I grow up.

Seagull in Venice

I’d say this was just a lucky shot, but the opportunities to get a close-up were so common, it was more difficult to get photos WITHOUT birds photobombing our shots.

 

King of Crab in Venice

This photo doesn’t really belong in an essay about hiking, but you deserve a virtual snack break.

 

Fortunately, most of our “wildlife encounters” were far more predictable. Cleaned, cooked, and served during pauses in our hike, we reestablished our dominance over fierce crab and slippery noodles. It’s good to be king.

 

 

 

 

Rush Hour

 

One of the unexpected pleasures of hiking in Venice was access to all the big city amenities without the big city hassles. The only motorized transportation on the island were water taxis and service boats delivering goods. No honking cars. No traffic lights. No sirens. And because the major commodity on the island is tourism, that unseen but always felt sense of urgency found in busy cities was blissfully absent.

Rush Hour in Venice Gondola ride

This is about as bad as rush hour gets in Venice. Could you imagine what New York or Beijing would be like if this was what rush hour looked like? Hint: World peace. And people probably wouldn’t need to share cat GIFs on Facebook anymore.

 

Goin’ to Church

 

Arguably the most famous building in Venice, St. Mark’s Basilica is loc

Saint Marks Basilica Venice

We may not have found God during our hike in Venice, but I’m pretty sure this is one of His/Her summer homes.

ated just north of the Doge’s Palace (another not-so-shabby place to visit) at the gateway to the city. This 1200-year-old church blends history, religion, architecture, and culture in one opulent edifice. Looking at the long line to get inside made Monica and I pause, but the cue moved with an efficiency that surprised us both.

 

Inside, there was no unclaimed space. Gilded walls and columns. Several football fields worth of mosaics. And all of it was gold! We shuffled in stunned silence. Everyone converted into a Bobble-Head version of themselves trying to take it all in. Pacing before the entrance to the alter were several docents/guards who alternated a chant “no foto” over and over again. A few rebels tried to sneak out their phone to catch a quick shot of the distant jewel encrusted alter, but were quickly scolded back into submission.

Funny meme squirrel humor

I’d like to show a photo of the interior of St Marks, but for some bizarre reason, we weren’t allowed. Instead, I’ll leave this philosophical meme here. Almost positive it will stimulate just as much reverence and inspiration. Your welcome.

 

Doge’s Palace

 

Doge’s, the ruling class of historic Venice, built a grand palace that was attached to St. Mark’s. Like the Basilica, it was built a long time ago, and in a style befitting ridiculously wealthy merchants. In addition to an immersive history, art, and architecture lesson, our tour of the Doge’s palace became an unexpected workout as we ascended and descended a series of staircases that snaked through a building that served as the center for government, commerce, justice, armory, and prison.

 

Doge Palace Golden Staircase

The official title of this grand staircase is the Stairway of Gold. Monica calls it the Stair Master of the rich and famous.

Doge Palace Chamber

There were a series of chambers where the Doge and his council would hear petitions and decide the fate of early capitalism (as well as the compensation for Renaissance Artists like Michelangelo). When the full council met, nearly 500 uncomfortable and grouchy patricians sat in straight-backed wooden chairs to listen to debates. Just imagine: no iPhones, no Candy Crush, and no Twitter. This was how business got done for nearly a millennium. Wonder what would happen if we made a few similar changes to the House of Representatives…

 

Doge Hearing Francesco Guardi

This isn’t one of my sketches. Francesco Guardi painted this fresco in the 1700’s, depicting a hearing in one of the “smaller” chambers of the Doge’s Palace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doge Palace Armory Venice

The armory was no joke. These weapons have seen use.

 

Doge Palace Prison cell

It was fascinating to see an extensive prison system- connected via the Bridge of Sighs (which prisoners reputedly let out as they catch their last glimpse of freedom) immediately after our tour of the lavish and expansive chambers. The juxtaposition of stunning wealth and luxury with bleak cells and torture chambers makes me happy to live somewhere in the middle.

 

Prison porthole Doge Palace Venice

Prisoners only connection to the outside world. They didn’t even have wifi!

 

Calli, Callette, Campo, and Ponte

 

When hiking, one of the things I enjoy most is the comfort of having a defined path to follow. Usually a dirt trail that is distinctively marked. So long as I stay on the path, I’ll reach my destination eventually. You would think that Venice, with its maze of streets (calli), alleys (callette), and hundreds of bridges (ponte) crossing canals that it would be a challenge for tourists to navigate. But we only got lost once, and this side trek through residential districts gave us a glimpse into an alternative lifestyle. One that involves afternoon naps, air-dried laundry, and plenty of chances to contemplate the mysteries of the universe.

 

Quiet simple living Venice

I got nervous when Monica began scouting for real estate, touting the engineering marvels that keep Venice afloat, and the joys of living a simple life. Fortunately, Google came to my rescue. A quick search of apartment prices convinced her that we could live a “simple” life anyplace else on the planet at a fraction of the cost.

 

A walk in our Secret Garden

 

We stayed at a hotel called the Boscolo Venezia. Originally the palace of a ridiculously wealthy merchant family, it went through a spell as a monastery, then as the Boscolo Venezia gardenFrench embassy before becoming our temporary home. Although using my Marriott points was a factor, the big draw was the enormous garden hidden behind it’s 2-story high walls. Serpentine paths crisscrossed manicured shrubbery, past false ruins, over bridges, and through a chilly underground cavum (refrigerators of the rich and famous before Maytag) with really cool acoustics. There was dirt and grass and trees. It was just the two of us and nature. It was perfect. Then, a flower-lined path led us to a lounge with a single table set against a private dock. There are many moments in life that are quickly forgotten, that get lost in the evanescent, but everything about this hike felt different. We sat, enjoying a few Spritz’ while recognizing…

 

Venice is a great place to take a hike.

 

hiking Venice digital illustration Europe travel

Pretty enough for Pinterest?

 

This walk was inspired by Restless Jo. You should check out some of the exotic locations her feet take her and fellow explorers every Monday.

149 Comments

  • Reply restlessjo May 25, 2017 at 12:26 am

    Fabulous! 🙂 🙂 Thank you so much, Gabe! What a privilege it was to be allowed to walk through ‘your’ Venice. Nobody does life and art quite like the Italians, do they, and Venetians are something very special. As is this post! Take a bow, Gabe. I love it! 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 12:30 am

      Thanks so much Jo! Coming from you that means a lot. But the city really gets all the credit for this one. I was just along for the hike.

      • Reply restlessjo May 25, 2017 at 12:33 am

        There are a couple of heart stopping scenes along the way. You tell it beautifully, Gabe. 🙂

  • Reply Didi May 25, 2017 at 1:11 am

    So well written, I’ve enjoywd reading it. It was as if i read my own memories of Venice. Isnt getting lost there the best thing? I remember when i got lost there and so enjoyed seeing the real, normal life without the many,many tourists.

    I guess the reall estate checking thing is a women’s habit. I can see a ruin and have allready rebuild and decorated it in my mind.

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 10:05 am

      Thanks Didi! I’m so glad you enjoyed. Writing this post was like going twice.

      I’m still trying to figure women out. But I think you’re right about the tendency to imagine furnishing just about any new space.

  • Reply Evanescant: Front | What's (in) the picture? May 25, 2017 at 4:01 am

    […] (Almost) Unsalvageable(Almost) Unsalvageable Hiking in Venice? […]

  • Reply Al May 25, 2017 at 6:03 am

    Definitely on my bucket list. Especially now after reading this.

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Sweet Al! Think you’ll love it (and if you do go, I’m looking forward to reading about your take on the city).

  • Reply the incurable dreamer May 25, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Venice is on my list of places to go, has been for years, but you are doing my head in with all of this fabulousness in one week!!! I can’t believe I haven’t booked a ticket already. Secret gardens, a palace, naps, Burger King and risotto that will make my head spin?! I mean, come on! I seriously need to up my game, my weekly trips to Walmart just aren’t cutting it. This looks like heaven to me and I can’t wait to get spritzed and go on a hike and get lost in its magnificence. Thanks for motivating me even more, Gabe. Bellissimo!!

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 10:18 am

      Weekly Walmart trips! So sorry to hear that Tanya. Walmart occupies a place on my “naughty words” list. Kills me a little bit just seeing the word, much less going inside one. For me, it’s in the same category as words like douche canoe and cum bubble, but with a nastier aftertaste 😉

      • Reply the incurable dreamer May 25, 2017 at 10:26 am

        If it makes you feel better Gabe, I have been carrying an enormous amount of shame since I wrote it down. I know I am better than this. I will do better. I promise! 😩

        • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 10:29 am

          hehehehehhehehehe Tanya.
          Monica’s wondering why I’m laughing at the computer screen again.

          • the incurable dreamer May 25, 2017 at 10:33 am

            Hahahaha. Awesome! Tell her you publicly shamed me into not selling my soul to the devil. EVER. AGAIN. 😂

          • Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 10:37 am

            I’ve checked the official “cool people” rule book (I borrowed a friends): Members may enter Walmart so long as they are accompanied by at least 2 other “cool people” and then only for the sole purpose of purchasing Dorito’s or Hostess products.

            I’m never gonna make it into the club…

          • the incurable dreamer May 25, 2017 at 11:02 am

            I may need to borrow that book. I was so NOT born with a cool gene, and have always been one step behind every trend. I am screwed. My ding-dong purchases are going to have to take place elsewhere because I definitely do not make the ‘cool people’ cut. I never had a chance Gabe, my mom gave me too many perms!

          • Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 11:05 am

            Me either Tanya. Will I never had the perm problem, I did go through an unfortunate mullet phase…

            And seriously woman. My cheeks are getting sore. We gotta stop.

            But before we do, I have to say that you are awesome. That you’ve made my day. And I’m so happy we’re part of the same tribe!

          • the incurable dreamer May 25, 2017 at 11:11 am

            Omg, amazing!! Hahaha! Mullets were an abomination but also shockingly cool!

            Okay, okay, we need to stop. I am going to get fired if I keep giggling while typing on my phone, instead of doing what I get paid for. What can I say though, you are WAY more fun and interesting than my job.

            Thanks for a great start to my day, Gabe. I too, am so happy we are part of the same wonderful tribe! Enjoy the rest of your day, my friend!

  • Reply Stubbs May 25, 2017 at 7:22 am

    Beautiful pictures as always! Venice, and all of Italy for that matter, is on my bucket list! I got to get over there before it’s all under water. I hope you’re enjoying yourself! 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 10:20 am

      Cheers Stubbs! You know, I was joking with Monica about that. Saint Marks square used to flood all the time. Apparently, they’ve built a higher break beyond the lagoon to prevent swells from flooding the city. But still, we can’t hold back the tide forever…

      • Reply Stubbs May 25, 2017 at 4:14 pm

        Nice! Time extended! Well done Venetians!

  • Reply Scott (aka Dad) May 25, 2017 at 7:55 am

    That is a great story Gabe! I enjoyed reading it very much. I’m really glad that Monica and you were able to spend good time there and share all your exploits with us. I may get there one day and I’ll try and recreate your hike.

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Thanks dad. It was a great trip.
      If you’re willing to call this a hike then its officially a hike! (I still had doubts that a walk through the city qualifies as a hike despite all the “evidence” I tried to dig up.) Now I get to claim another hiker title… we thru-hiked Venice!

  • Reply Amy May 25, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Amazing place! Thank you for grand tour, Gabe. 🙂 Your beautiful photos and stories make me want to re-visit.

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 10:26 am

      So glad you enjoyed Amy! I wish I had your skills with the camera, but hopefully the playful word pictures filled in the gaps.

      • Reply Amy May 25, 2017 at 11:01 am

        Thank you for your compliment, Gabe! I enjoy your blog posts very much!

  • Reply Robin May 25, 2017 at 9:43 am

    What a wonderful hike, Gabe! Thank you for taking us along with you and Monica. Venice looks like a beautiful place for a hike. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 10:40 am

      Thanks Robin! So glad you enjoyed.

  • Reply mydangblog May 25, 2017 at 11:34 am

    So beautiful–I’m really enjoying your travelogue!

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 11:40 am

      Yay Suzanne! I still consider myself a rookie, so I’m pretty sure it will only get better from here. But it’s sooo much fun!

  • Reply Bel May 25, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    You take awesome pictures – I had to read it again to make sure you really said “hiking” in Venice. I’ve always heard lovely things about Venice, the people, food and the diverse architecture. I’m not sure yet if it’s something that the loner in me would dare venture into – just because I try to avoid crowds – makes me feel lost like a little kid 😉 Either way, it seems like a grand time! 👍

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 9:02 pm

      I know what you mean about crowd anxiety Bel. That’s me too. However, aside from a few easily avoided choke points (along Rialta Bridge and inside St Marks), I never really had problems with crowd density. However, in all honesty, I’d still prefer a week in the mountains…
      Thanks also for the props, but I think you’re giving me far too much credit in the photography department. But I’ll keep practicing.

      • Reply Bel May 25, 2017 at 9:40 pm

        You have a good eye because you’re an artist. My best friend is the same way – I take a hundred photographs and if I’m lucky end up with 5 good pictures. You take a few and all of them are awesome. No editing required 😂 Good to know the “choke” points are easily avoidable 😊 I’m gonna start using that term now.

  • Reply Arionis May 25, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Your urban hike was slightly better than my Biloxi one. All looks amazing!

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      hehehe I don’t know about that. You had RIBS!

  • Reply karenlee May 25, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Lovely photos….which inspire me to buy a plane ticket. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      Yay Karen! Inspiration (and a bit of light-hearted fun) is the goal here. So looks like I’m on the right track.

  • Reply dave ply May 25, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    It counts as a hike if you use your feet to get there and you walk more than a mile (said the city slicker.) Hiking through Venice without being in a raft of tourist ducklings on parade behind a guide sounds like fun. We did do a bit of hiking there, but didn’t have time to see the inside of the Doges palace.

    BTW, I would be surprised if those 500 uncomfortable and grouchy patricians didn’t bathe very often, another reason to get their business attended to PDQ. A whole new idea of dirty politics.

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      hehehe yes. During the first draft of this post, my fascination with the business of government in the Republic of Venice took over. I could sit in their “chairs,” stare absentmindedly at their version of Facebook, (which were the ginormous frescoes and murals covering the top half of the walls and ceiling). Even the hidden cubbies that housed the clerks and secretaries to handle the upper councils bidding spoke to me about an “antiquated” form of government that still lasted for more than a thousand years.
      The dirty politics of this distant past just seems more civilized and refined that the stuff we are exposed to now. But I guess that’s part of the beauty of time. It blurs the sharp edges and draws our eye to the pretty parts.

  • Reply Ann Coleman May 25, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    I loved this! It seemed as if I was there too (although some day, I’m going to be). I loved the picture of the woman on the pier. Is that Monica?

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks Ann! And yup, that’s my best attempt to show off the best part of me (which is Monica of course;))

  • Reply forgivingjournal May 25, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Yay, Gabriel, so glad that you visited Venice. Isn’t it a mystical city? The lack of cars is a blessing and I can see how you experienced inner peace while there. 🙂 Enjoy for as long as you’re there, and I’m sending you a whole lot of joy.
    Blessings,
    Debbie
    ps – I remember really liking Doge’s Palace.

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      Yup, Venice was a wonderful retreat. You’re a wonderful person Debbie, and it’s a pleasure every time we cross paths here in this wonderful blogosphere!

  • Reply Writing to Freedom May 25, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    Bella Gabe. I love your art and playful posts. I’m too tired to compete with your alliterations or Tanya’s humor. Thanks for sharing your playful adventures.

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      Whew finally I wore you down;) I’m running low of good material. Guess that means it’s time to head over to your blog for some fresh inspiration.

      • Reply Writing to Freedom May 25, 2017 at 9:40 pm

        Thanks for being a gracious winner Gabe. No charge for the inspiration. XD Your humor is just what I needed tonight. la dolce vida

        • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 9:48 pm

          I’ve got a lazy day in store for me here Brad, so you’re welcome to my energy if you’re tired. You tirelessly bring us inspiration, insight and the “good stuff,” so it will be put to far better use than my plans to aggressively Netflix (in my world “Netflix” is a verb that is synonymous with not writing or house husbanding.)

          • Writing to Freedom May 26, 2017 at 8:09 am

            Cool. After this crazy week, I’ll be ready for some Netflixing!

  • Reply what sandra thinks May 25, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    This is my kind of hike. I’d like to pack my bags right now. Wonderful pictures… and story.

    • Reply Gabriel May 26, 2017 at 8:27 am

      Thanks so much Sandra and glad you enjoyed! And sorry if I woke your travel bug. I know how hard it is to put these persistent buggers back to sleep once they get excited;)

      • Reply what sandra thinks May 26, 2017 at 8:31 am

        No apology necessary! Until I can go away, I’ll just live vicariously through others… 🙂

  • Reply Jennifer May 25, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    I am intrigued by the quietness that you describe. It must be odd to encounter that in a city.

    • Reply Gabriel May 25, 2017 at 10:45 pm

      It was surprising, but incredibly peaceful. The busy mechanical noise that I’m used to hearing in cities was replaced by relaxed chatter from strolling tourists and really well-fed pigeons/seagulls. Loved it!

  • Reply Jay May 26, 2017 at 9:40 am

    It certainly seems beautiful and you’ve got me jonesing to retrace your paths. Very lovely, thanks for sharing so that I can vicariously escape my office if only for a few moments.

    • Reply Gabriel May 27, 2017 at 8:52 am

      Glad I could give you a few moments away from the grind Jay. And thanks for the Netflix tips!

  • Reply Retirementallychallenged.com May 26, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Venice is so magical and your photos bring back wonderful memories. I remember getting lost a couple of times, but our random wondering always led us to interesting places we wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

    • Reply Gabriel May 27, 2017 at 8:55 am

      So true Janis! I’ve stumbled across some of my favorite moments while I was lost or not looking. Glad this post triggered a few fond memories.

  • Reply The Hook May 27, 2017 at 6:56 am

    I envy you, Gabe.
    Truly.

    • Reply Gabriel May 27, 2017 at 8:56 am

      Venice for a week is nothin compared to Canada for a lifetime though right? I’d say we’re just about even;)
      Cheers Hook!

  • Reply Ritu May 27, 2017 at 7:16 am

    This sounds like an awesome way to hike!!!!

    • Reply Gabriel May 27, 2017 at 8:57 am

      I know right? I have a bit of experience hiking, but I’m beginning to discover that my definition of hiking may need to be expanded. Thanks so much Ritu and see you again tomorrow!

      • Reply Ritu May 27, 2017 at 9:10 am

        Most definitely Gabe!

  • Reply Lutheranliar May 27, 2017 at 7:33 am

    I love this post so much I almost have nothing to say. That being said (!) you are SO making me want to go back to Venice — just to go hiking around! Clever writing, fun photos! BTW, the one time I was there (for a Very Big Birthday) we kept getting lost. Which is, actually, part of the fun since you really can’t get lost TOO badly — all paths lead to St. Mark’s Square!

    • Reply Gabriel May 27, 2017 at 9:01 am

      What a wonderful compliment! So glad you enjoyed (although I have to admit, the setting and my wife gets most of the credit for any of the good stuff).

      And you make an excellent point. Since Venice is such a tiny city, even though getting “lost” in the maze of callette and campos is likely, its easy to get back on track, and along the way, you’re likely to find something you never would have otherwise seen.

      So glad you stopped by!

  • Reply Em Linthorpe May 27, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Oh, this is just a wonderful post, thank you! It looks like such a fascinating city, I could quite happily walk here for hours. I may live close to the countryside where I normally do my hiking, but I would be just as happy taking a wander through the calli and callette of Venice. And look, you even taught me some new words too 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel May 27, 2017 at 9:02 am

      Thanks Em! hehehe I’m gonna take full credit for the vocab lesson too.

  • Reply Ruth Daly May 27, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Such an interesting post! Venice has been on my ‘must visit’ list for such a long time now. Your descriptions and pictures make me want to go there even more.

    • Reply Gabriel May 27, 2017 at 9:05 am

      If you get the chance Ruth, I hope you do get a chance to go. While my humble recreation was my best attempt to offer up a bit of virtual traveling, I couldn’t even come close to sharing all the sights and sounds and smells and moments that I’m sure you would discover.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • Reply SickChristine May 27, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Looks absolutely magical, the garden especially.

    • Reply Gabriel May 27, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Yup -the garden was such a cool treat at the end an already great “hike.” We felt like kids in Narnia (even if we didn’t find any talking animals).

  • Reply Andrea Stephenson May 27, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Venice and hiking are definitely two words I wouldn’t usually connect, but there is more than one kind of hiking, as you’ve just proved. I enjoyed re-visiting the city with you Gabe.

    • Reply Gabriel May 27, 2017 at 11:16 am

      hehehe I know what you mean Andrea. My hiking purist friends are cringing and outraged that I would call any kind of pedestrianized movement that doesn’t involve mountains and sweat hiking. I’ve heard the word blasphemy used a few times.
      But I’m stickin to it… I HIKED in Venice 😉

  • Reply lindahobden May 27, 2017 at 10:14 am

    I’m a fan of Italy but Venice is onecity I have not yet visited. When I do visit though I want to hike through Venice & visit the meandering walkways and that Secret Garden. Your post certainly brought the city alive for me – thank you 😊

    • Reply Gabriel May 27, 2017 at 11:17 am

      so glad you enjoyed Linda! And if you want to visit the secret garden, just ask the concierge at Boscolo Venezia to let you sneak in if you don’t stay (although it’s a gorgeous hotel as well).
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • Reply thebeasley May 27, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Venice has always sounded so fascinating & you’ve written a fabulously descriptive piece about it. I guess one can kind of hike anywhere. Now I just need to get saving, so I can visit too!

    • Reply Gabriel May 27, 2017 at 11:19 am

      So glad you enjoyed and I hope this virtual tour will tide you over until your able to enjoy the city for yourself!

  • Reply Trudy May 27, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    New Yorkers would be absolutely miserable if there were no cars, I think there would be gondola fights breaking out everywhere, especially with no WiFi. Signed, a native New Yorker.

    • Reply Gabriel May 28, 2017 at 4:46 am

      hehehe good point. One person’s peace is another persons turmoil.

  • Reply Mick Canning May 27, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Splendid, Gabe. Venice is wonderful, although it looks like you saw better weather than we did when we were there.

    • Reply Gabriel May 28, 2017 at 4:49 am

      We were incredibly lucky with the weather Mick.

  • Reply Mick Canning May 27, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    …plus, no wifi, no cars…what’s not to like?

    • Reply Gabriel May 28, 2017 at 4:50 am

      Exactly! Although we had access to wifi often enough that I didn’t have to worry about withdrawal symptoms.

  • Reply Thewanderingdarlings May 27, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Love this post! Venice is one of my favourite cities and was great to see it through your eyes! Having no cars is so lovely just makes the city feel a lot calmer than many other major cities in Europe!

    • Reply Gabriel May 28, 2017 at 4:52 am

      So glad you enjoyed Mel and you’re right. No cars, no traffic lights or sirens, and our “commute” was always just a walk away. It was a wonderful reprieve.

  • Reply Traci York May 27, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    While visiting Venice is definitely on my bucket list, hiking is on an entirely different list (whose name starts with “Hell” and ends with “freezes over”). However, I could totally see myself putting the two together after reading this! I will admit some disappointment though – at first read, somehow “Doge” became “Dog” in my brain, and I had a short-lived vision in my head of Terriers in tiaras…

    Gratitude for the giggles!

    • Reply Gabriel May 28, 2017 at 4:56 am

      hehehe Love it Traci! It took awhile for the hiking bug to infect me, but once it did, I left all those suburban concerns about regular showers, food without dirt on it, and regular access to unnecessary luxuries like running water or technology (except of course my cell phone and iPad and Kindle-but those don’t count).
      Somehow, Venice taught me to make the best of both worlds.
      And sorry to tease you about the dogs. I hate it when that happens…

  • Reply Shallow Reflections May 27, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    The closest I’ve come to visiting Venice was staying in the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. It was fabulous but I would much prefer going on the tour you’ve described, Gabe. I love your commentary, photos and humor. Also your digital paintings are exquisite. What a lovely blog and what a wonderful writer you are!

    • Reply Gabriel May 28, 2017 at 4:58 am

      The Venetian is a great place to stay isn’t it? (although the Bellagio and Cosmo are my go-to destinations while I’m in Vegas).

      Thanks so much for the compliments Molly! You made my morning!

  • Reply usathroughoureyes May 27, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    What a wonderful experience Gabe. Love your gifts of photography and words.

    • Reply Gabriel May 28, 2017 at 4:59 am

      Thanks Tom and Audrey! I’ve still got a lot of learning to do, but this blogging thing is a wonderful hobby isn’t it?

      • Reply usathroughoureyes May 29, 2017 at 7:00 am

        It for sure is a wonderful hobby and platform to share with the world snippets of our lives and who we are. We know we sure do enjoy your writing style and the stories you share and especially how you let us see the real Gabe. So, please keep sharing with us okay!!!!

        • Reply Gabriel May 29, 2017 at 4:17 pm

          Thank you both so much! I often worry that I’m “oversharing” because one of my primary reasons for hosting this blog is to foster a community, and I sometimes worry that I’m hogging the soapbox too much. But I suppose, so long as this is a concern I keep close to the front of my mind, I’ll probably avoid making really big oversteps.
          But, please feel free to chime in if I seem to be straying too far into Gabeland 😉

          • usathroughoureyes May 30, 2017 at 8:15 am

            Please don’t worry from our account. This is what we enjoy about your post is you share you with us. You do foster community and we don’t think you ever hog the soapbox. We respect you and we respect your thoughts. We can understand though your feelings because we too share ourselves and sometimes wonder if its too much. Isn’t is great though that we can share in a forum like this as we learn and grow from each other!!!!!! So please….. keep sharing from “Gabeland”!!!!

  • Reply noellekelly May 28, 2017 at 5:15 am

    The Secret Garden sounds amazing!!

    • Reply Gabriel May 28, 2017 at 5:27 am

      It really was. And a rarity in Venice where space is such a valuable commodity.

  • Reply April Munday May 28, 2017 at 5:46 am

    Venice has now edged further up my list of places to visit. Thank you for some lovely photos.

    • Reply Gabriel May 28, 2017 at 6:29 am

      Glad you enjoyed April!

  • Reply hotmessmemoir May 28, 2017 at 7:14 am

    I think I lost my internet connection when I was trying to comment so forgive me if I comment twice. I just said that I could totally hike in Venice. Hiking or really wildlife in general doesn’t excite me (please see snake phobia post for reason) but hiking around any city works for me. Beautiful pictures in this post!

    • Reply Gabriel May 28, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      Looks like I missed your comment earlier.

      I’m hoping “city-hiking” will catch on. Even if it doesn’t, it’s a lot of fun to try. Thanks again for stopping by!

  • Reply lisaorchard1 May 28, 2017 at 7:42 am

    Awesome pics! I’d love to go there some day!

    • Reply Gabriel May 28, 2017 at 8:36 am

      Thanks Lisa! And I hope this virtual trip tides you over until you get a chance to visit.

      • Reply lisaorchard1 May 28, 2017 at 9:59 am

        I’m sure it will! 🙂

  • Reply D. Wallace Peach May 28, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Great photos and a lovely tour, Gabe. I’m not a city person so the casual (touristy) pace appeals to me. And what an unusual city. A must visit on my bucket list. Thanks so much for sharing your adventure. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel May 28, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      While the city, and of course my wonderful wife, get most of the credit, this was a fun post to create. Glad you enjoyed as well.

  • Reply Gary May 28, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Not a bad way to visit a historical city at all Gabe; you did it justice from the photos too; Another one on the bucket list for me now 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel May 28, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Cheers Gary!

  • Reply Strength and Sunshine May 28, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Venice is so beautiful! Any way you decide to travel about will be worth it!

    • Reply Gabriel May 28, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      Thank you so much for stopping by. And you are absolutely correct. While I campaigned to call this a “hike,” the most important thing is that we got the chance to play around in the city.

  • Reply BeckyB May 29, 2017 at 3:11 am

    oh my so glad Jo shared your post with us this week, such a fabulous ‘hike’. I’ve never been to Venice, it is on my very long list so hopefully one day. In the meanwhile just wonderful to be able to enjoy visiting places through the eyes of others.

    • Reply Gabriel May 29, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      Hi Becky! First, Jo is awesome isn’t she? And second, thanks so much for joining us on our walk. It’s my pleasure to provide a few moments of virtual travel to tide you over until your next big journey.

  • Reply Neha May 29, 2017 at 3:29 am

    Cool place I wanna go

    • Reply Gabriel May 29, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      You absolutely should!

  • Reply Miriam May 29, 2017 at 5:42 am

    Wonderful post Gabe. You transported me back to Venice where I have so many wonderful memories. It’s such a magical city and the only way to enjoy it is to get thoroughly lost! Beautifully told and such gorgeous pictures, thanks so much. Bellissimo. 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel May 29, 2017 at 3:32 pm

      Glad this post stirred up some wonderful memories of your time in Venice Miriam. The city (and my incredibly patient wife) gets ALL the credit for this one.

      I have decided to rename my spam folder as the “dear friends” folder. You, and Bun and Hook, and so many others seem to keep making your way in there despite my best attemtps to convince WordPress I really cherish your visits here.

      • Reply Miriam May 29, 2017 at 3:54 pm

        How very bizarre. Wonder why. I’ve been called weird in my time but I’m not that much of a gremlin. You’ve just reminded me, I must check my own spam today. Have a great week Gabe. 🙂

  • Reply Barb Knowles May 29, 2017 at 6:38 am

    It is always interesting to read you blog and read about your adventures. I would NEVER have thought about traveling within a city as “hiking” but you’re right. Beautiful vistas, new adventures and exercise. Isn’t that what hiking is about? With the exception that you didn’t resort to energy bars, lol.

    • Reply Gabriel May 29, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      hehehe you know now that you mention it Barb, there was absolutely no Trail food to be found along the way in Venice. I may have to rethink my initial assessment about the near-perfection of this city;)

  • Reply Michelle Malone May 29, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Wow! What a charmed life you lead, Gabe! Thanks for sharing the highlights of your beautiful adventure.

    • Reply Gabriel May 29, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Ha! I don’t hear that very often Michelle, but you’re probably right. A wonderful woman has agreed to be my wife, we have the flexibility and resources to wander when the urge strikes (or plant roots), and most of my biggest struggles come from within.

      Thanks for refocusing my perspective!

      • Reply Michelle Malone May 29, 2017 at 4:38 pm

        The obstacle within is surmountable too. Even little steps count as progress. 🙂

  • Reply b. breazeale May 29, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Love this and so love Venice! Didn’t know about the hiking possibilites. Beautiful enticer, thank you!

    • Reply Gabriel May 29, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      I’m pretty sure I’m the only one that considers our lazy strolls through the beautiful streets of Venice a “hike” but I’m a hiker by nature so I’m gonna try to force my definition into the mix.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and please feel free to come back anytime the mood strikes! We’re always going somewhere (even if it’s just a hike to the kitchen for another round of popcorn and Pepsi to get us through movie night).

      • Reply b. breazeale May 29, 2017 at 4:28 pm

        Love it. The analogy is fantastic! Will definitely be back, and please visit me anytime as well… summoningmagic.com

        • Reply Gabriel May 29, 2017 at 4:29 pm

          hehehe yup was just on my way.

  • Reply Sariska Jeep Safari June 1, 2017 at 2:01 am

    Fabulous!..Thank you so much, Gabe!…Beautiful pictures as usual! Venice, and all of Italy so far as that is concerned, is on my can list!

    • Reply Gabriel June 2, 2017 at 8:16 am

      So glad you enjoyed! And I hope you enjoy your trip through Venice, and the rest of Italy.

  • Reply Kristine @ MumRevised June 1, 2017 at 6:41 am

    We walked more in Venice than almost anywhere! It had nothing to do with the fact that we were almost always lost. 🙂 Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane (which, I’m sure we walked down 100 times and still couldn’t find it).

    • Reply Gabriel June 2, 2017 at 8:21 am

      Hey Kristine! yeah Memory Lane is one of those long and twisty paths with plenty of branch points. And no fixed destination!

  • Reply rgayer55 June 1, 2017 at 11:02 am

    I enjoyed the virtual hike, Gabe. Thanks for inviting me along. Loved God’s summer house and the prisons made me queasy. Overall, a very memorable tour.

    • Reply Gabriel June 2, 2017 at 8:36 am

      Cheers Russell! Looking back on this post now, the story was a bit winding and jumbled, but I’m still learning the craft. Good thing I can rely on the guidance of far more talented and experienced wordsmiths such as yourself!

  • Reply sydspix June 1, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Love your images of Venice. Looks like you had a great time!

    • Reply Gabriel June 2, 2017 at 8:41 am

      Yup, it was a great experience. Now it’s time to get back to work.

  • Reply Tiny June 2, 2017 at 3:10 pm

    Loved this hike, Gabe! Mine was a work trip so the hiking was limited 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel June 3, 2017 at 2:16 am

      Work trip in Venice? Sounds like a great job, even if you didn’t have much time to “hike!”

  • Reply Liesbet June 5, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Beautiful impressions of a beautiful city. Based on your story, it must not have been too crazy busy in the city, something that can make a visit to Venice less enjoyable. What is a hike? What differs it from a walk? I never called exploring a city hiking, but, man… does one walk a lot when city tripping. Those days spent in cities usually add up way more “steps” than in nature. When I walk on flat terrain, with the occasional bridge for example, I walk longer distances than when hiking in nature, up and down the hills. I do prefer flat exercise, but, while cities reveal a lot of beauty, nature still wins in terms of inspiration and peace. That being said, our hours of walking in a great Eastern European city this weekend sure hit the spot! 🙂

    • Reply Gabriel June 5, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      Hey Liesbet! I’m glad you weighed in here. It’s always good to get feedback from a fellow traveler, especially one that enjoys hiking (walking) as much as you (and your husband) do. Besides, it sure beats driving chaotic city streets, right?

  • Reply bedlamanddaisies June 12, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    It’s always so unfortunate in those places where no photos are allowed, but the meme definitely fits the bill in replacing the reverent atmosphere sure to be found. 😉

    • Reply Gabriel June 13, 2017 at 7:15 am

      hehehe loved this response. Free verse – and so true!

  • Reply Ranthambore National Park June 13, 2017 at 1:04 am

    Impressive! 🙂 Thank you so much, Gabe! What a benefit it was to be permitted to stroll through “your” Venice….

    • Reply Gabriel June 13, 2017 at 7:21 am

      So glad you enjoyed. While far more timid than a safari through India, Venice does provide a certain kind of adventure.
      Thanks so much for the comment, and please feel free to stop by by anytime the mood strikes!

  • Reply George June 19, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Wow that takes me back. Visited Venice a couple of times many years ago and loved it. The gondolas and tourist excursions cost a fortune but using your feet takes you to all the chief points of interest but via many more lesser known courtyards and back streets/canals that were just as fascinating for me.

    When we wanted to see everything from the water, we discovered you could buy a day pass for the vaporetto, the regular water bus, which went everywhere the expensive tourist cruises went and more at a fraction of the price.

    Great post.

    • Reply Gabriel June 20, 2017 at 6:05 am

      Venice really is a beautiful little city, and you’re right. Aside from the ease of foot travel, hoping on the vaporetto is an easy and inexpensive way to see the sites from the canals.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting George. It’s always great to meet a fellow travel blogger (although I tend to stray towards more domestic topics when the mood strikes), especially one that takes such beautiful photos!
      Please feel free to come back anytime the mood strikes!

      • Reply George June 20, 2017 at 6:31 am

        Likewise Gabriel. I feel sure the mood will strike often!

  • Reply Melanie June 20, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    I would love to take a hike through Venice!! My husband has been, but I never have!! Definitely a gorgeous place with different set of scenery than one would expect for a hike, but I love your take on it!!

    • Reply Gabriel June 21, 2017 at 5:46 am

      You should absolutely go Melanie. My wife and I will hold onto the memories for quite awhile (at least until its time to return).

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Please feel to stop back by any time the mood strikes.

  • Reply Andrea June 21, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    I have to be honest, when I read hiking in Venice, I imagined mountain views, trees, birds and more birds, lol. The photos you posted are stunning and made me want to take a trip (hike) to Venice. It is odd you weren’t allowed to post a pic of St. Marks interior but oh, well, it’s a funny world. I’m pinning this so that I can come back to this once I start planning my Italy trip 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Gabriel June 22, 2017 at 6:21 am

      Isn’t Pinterest a great way to bookmark fun posts and to-do lists? I’m still getting the hang of it myself, but I can see the potential.
      Thanks so much for stopping by, and for pinning!

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