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Cruise Diary: Day 1 at Venice, Italy

Guests Jan and Dick Yetke set sail on Prinsendam’s 64-day Grand Mediterranean Voyage in March, and we’ll catch up as quickly as possible. Enjoy the journey with Jan and Dick!

It was a great day in Venice and we had a beautiful sail in! Venice is situated on 120 islands formed by 177 canals in the lagoon between the mouths of the Po and Piave rivers, at the northern extremity of the Adriatic Sea. Because of its role as a naval power and commercial center, the city is known as the “Queen of the Adriatic.” The islands on which the city is built are connected by about 400 bridges.

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Today we went out on an adventure. We took the free shuttle from the ship to the people-mover station, then for 1 euro we took the people mover to the Piazzale Roma where we found our way to the Hertz car rental place to pick up our pre-reserved car. From there, we drove across the longest bridge called Laguna Veneta, a three-mile-long road to the mainland city of Mestre. We knew that somewhere over there, we could see the Fincantieri shipyard where Holland America ships are built (and many Carnival Corp. ships, too) and were hoping to find it. Wow, shortly after the end of the bridge, I looked up and voila, there it was, lots of cranes and a big building that said Fincantieri on it. Kind of exciting!

IMG_5033_resize shipyard where HAL ships are built

We are hoping that next time we come to Venice we can get a tour of the shipyard. That would be really exciting for us! We kept driving on the highway since our destination goal was Trieste, 126 kilometers (about 76 miles) away from Venice. We had heard it was nice and Dick had researched it online many months ago. It was a very nice drive through some pretty countryside.

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When we got to Trieste we took the waterfront road, of course, through town. We stopped at a couple places to have a short walk and take some photos. But then Dick said he wanted to keep going to get into Slovenia, which we did. Just followed the highways along the water and quite soon we were in Slovenia. Since it is part of the EU there was no kind of border crossing stuff at all, just a sign along the highway that you are entering Slovenia.

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We then went into the little town of Koper where we parked down along the waterfront and walked around a little. We found an outdoor cafe that had free Wi-Fi and sat down to have lunch. It was very good! We walked a little more and then back into the car to keep driving further.

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IMG_5048_resize in Trieste

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We kept following along the water and ended up crossing up and over beautiful countryside (hills) and down into a very quaint, pretty town called Piran, which was out on a peninsula. We drove into the little town, around the waterfront (mostly fishing boats), parked on the other side and got out to walk. We walked out the waterfront to the end of the point and around the point, along the back side, and back through town, across the main square, and back to our car. It was a really neat little town! Fortunately it was not high season yet, so not many tourists around, and the town was rather quiet. In summer this place would be very full of people!

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IMG_5072_resize along waterfront in Trieste

IMG_5083_resize main square in Trieste

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IMG_5128_resize main harbor waterfront in Koper, Slovenia

IMG_5132_resize restaurant where we ate lunch in Koper

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IMG_5193_resize Piran, Slovenia

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IMG_5158_resize small harbor in Piran

We started back and instead of going up and over the hills on the same road we came on, we stayed down along the waterfront and went through another really nice town, quite upscale. Slovenia is beautiful – clean, very pretty hills and greenery everywhere, etc. Eventually we went up and over the hills and connected with the same highway we came on, and went back through Trieste.

IMG_5218_resize Piran, Slovenia

IMG_5214_resize end of point in Piran

On the other side of Trieste we found a cutoff road to take us down to a small harbor of sailboats and found a lovely restaurant there. We enjoyed the beautiful sunset there and had a delicious dinner!

IMG_5248_resize dinner restaurant outside of Trieste

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IMG_5228_resize harbor in Piran

IMG_5224_resize Piran, Slovenia

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IMG_5220_resize Piran, Slovenia

Now we had to make the three-hour drive back to Venice. Just before going back over the bridge, we had to find a gas station to fill the car. By now it was midnight! Found one station that was self-service but, outside the U.S., when using a credit card they want a pin number (which our U.S. cards don’t have yet), so we had to go find one that had an attendant. We eventually found one and filled the tank. Drove back over the bridge and down to the port where our ship was docked. Had to explain to the security guard at the gate that we had a rental car that needed to be parked on the dock near the ship overnight, since we were not returning the car until first thing in the morning. Well, that was an adventure also! They have parking lots on the pier, but the first one they sent us to was locked and the night guard who came to help could not figure out how to open the gates. So, on to another lot, which worked. Meanwhile, they had locked the main terminal entrances at midnight and set up a guarded gate for security to get back to the ship, but didn’t put up any signs to let returnees know that. Finally we found that security gate and made it back onto the ship.

 

1 Comment
  • Kathleen

    Fantastic excursion plan and review–thanks for posting this!

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