The San Marco basin is an area of the Venetian Lagoon where you can find the Riva degli Schiavoni the lively waterfront area and promenade in front of the Doges Palace.
It’s also a great place to gondola spot as it’s where lines of these iconic waterbourne vessels dock up.
You can also see the famous Bridge of Sighs that links the Doges Palace interrogation rooms to the New Prison.
The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last glimpse of Venice that convicts saw before being locked away.
The bridge’s evocative English name was given in the 19th century by Lord Byron. It’s translated from the Italian “Ponte dei sospiri”, the thought that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells.
San Giorgio Maggiore is one of the islands of Venice. The island, and its Palladian church, is an important landmark.
Away from the main waterfront, there are plenty of other tiny waterways to explore.
You will know by now that we LOVE a cable car ride and Madeira is positively bursting with them. From the huge slick operation in Funchal to some decidedly hair raising little ones originally just for farm transport.
One of the latter types is the notoriously steep Achadas da Cruz cable car which transports local farmers and visitors down an impressive 98% slope – it is almost vertical!
To add to the risky feel of the whole operation, when we first arrived the cable car was closed due to high winds.
But the operator then changed his mind . . I think it may well have been the growing queue of tourists with money that changed his mind rather than any noticeable change in meteorological conditions!
We’re second in the queue to board and if we’re worried then it certainly doesn’t show #grimaceoffear
The cable car terminates at the windswept, and completely empty agricultural hamlet of Fajã da Quebrada Nova.
Until 2004 the only way for farmers to get to tend their crops at the bottom of the cliff was via boat or an incredible long winded footpath of nearly three miles – so the tiny cable car provides a much needed service to locals (as well as thrill seeking tourists like us!)
Safely disembarked at the bottom we’re literally blown along the shoreline to explore the windswept hamlet.
Empty for now, this hamlet is sporadically repopulated by farmers tending their crops, and by occasional families looking for complete and utter tranquillity during milder, warmer days.
But for now we got to enjoy it completely alone – if somewhat wind whipped!
Madeira is known as a floral heaven due to its unique mild climate and you can’t move for a riotous bounty of colour and fragrance.
The national flower of Madeira is the exotic and gorgeous ‘Bird of Paradise’, also called the Crane Flower and Strelitzia.
The island is strongly influenced by the Gulf Stream and Canary Current, giving it mild to warm year-round temperature but it also has several microclimates too.
When Portuguese settlers arrived on the island in the 15th century, everything was densely wooded. Hence its name Madeira which means wood in Portuguese.
Spring is the best time to visit in order to see the island in all its blossoming glory but even in July we can find a myriad of flowers including these incredible banks of agapanthus and hydrangeas on a mountain road.