Saturday 25 May: L'Arsenale e I Giardini Pubblici
The clouds returned this morning. Tired of the same old hotel breakfast, we went around the corner to Bar de Gino, a coffee bar.
There we had cappuccino, sitting next to a group of hung-over revelers Al had seen the night before, carousing loudly through the Accademia. They looked a bit worse for wear this morning but were still drinking beer in their disheveled evening clothes.
They obviously had a very enjoyable night.
The Arsenale was once the shipbuilding center of the Venetian empire. Today it is occupied by the navy and mostly off limits; but there is a naval museum open to the public. Thousands of objects are on display, offering a full view of Venetian and Italian naval history: guns, uniforms, models of fortresses and ships, navigational instruments, gondolas, and much more.
I preferred the gardens of the island of Sant' Elena. This remote island at the eastern tip of Venice had few tourists and I found it to be a peaceful, green refuge from the bustle of the city. The Campo dell' Indipendenza provided quiet and relaxing benches for the weary.
Another nice night for strolling. We decided to try the famous Gritti Palace for a drink. Seated on the terrace along the Grand Canal, we could see the outlines of the Salute and the vaporetti passing by in the night. The service, however, was blah and haughty. I guess we didn't look wealthy enough. A smattering of rain was a welcome reason to depart.