Venice to Athens…Part 1
2011 was a big year for us in terms of travel. We took six weeks leave off work to visit France and we had plenty of time to see the sights of Paris, the Dordogne area and then fly from Lyon to Venice. After a few days in Venice our next step was to catch a Seabourn ship down the Adriatic Sea, eventually finding ourselves in Athens. It was a great trip; life on the ship was very comfortable and relaxed and there were just enough stops along the way to keep us very interested in our destinations.
In 2011, cruise ships were still able to dock in Venice and then use the canals as their pathway out of this famous lagoon city. The photo below of the famous St Mark’s Square is not one that can be taken from the deck of a cruise ship today. It was 10 years after our cruise in 2011 that ships over 180 metres in length were banned from entering the lagoon. The reason for the ban was… “that not only are the ships are an “aesthetic intrusion” to the city, but they also create a “probable risk of catastrophe” to the fragile Lagoon surrounding Venice”. (from UNESCO Petition)
In the new millennium there are now greater dangers to the future of Venice than the cruise ships. Venice’s fragile city foundations are struggling to withstand the onslaught from the sea and the regularity of St Mark’s Square being flooded is now a common feature of tourist photos. As we departed the lagoon in 2011, we were able to get an idea of what the future defences of the lagoon would look like. The authorities in 2003 began building the MOSE; a scheme to build 78 storm gates at the entryways to the lagoon to stop storm and tidal surges flooding the city.
After leaving Venice, our programme of shore visits along the Adriatic coastline consisted of three main stops.