Pope Benedict XVI in Venice

Pope Benedict XVI visited Italian lagoon city of Venice exactly the same time I was there. I was not aware of his planned visit, therefore it was a nice surprise.  The first encounter with papal visit was Saturday evening when on vaporetto heading towards the St. Mark's Square. Suddenly, the vaporetto was not able to continue it's route, as well as all other boats were not allowed to move to close vicinity of the St. Mark Square. The square waterfront  was filled with carabiniery on boats, jet skies, smaller patrol boats and big navy ships. Quite an different view of Venice.

Papal visit creating a traffic disturbance on Grand Canal, how exciting. I did not even mind to be stuck on a public transport. It is much more interesting to be on stuck on the boat, with a view of Grand Canal, than on the bus. But this did not last too long. After the big navy ship sprayed a geyser of the water into the air, as a salute to the pope I guess, we were back in motion, heading towards the St. Mark's Square. There we got off and saw some action from a close up. Caugth a glimpse of pope leaving the stage set up on the square, with a large screen to project the papal address to thousands of people who gathered on St. Marks Square.

The second papal encounter was Sunday morning and again unexpected. We choose to visit Accademia and Peggy Guggenheim Collection early morning to avoid crowds. First, we visited Accademia and then headed to near by Peggy Guggenheim Collection. While walking, we saw many people crowding the water front and bridges, but did not make the connection. Once inside the Guggenheim building, we headed outside and were surprised to see many people gathered there already, just in time for Pope Benedict tour down the Grand Canal. This time we were really close and in spite of many stretched out hands with cameras, I we got a good view of pope. The parade with decorated gondolas accompanying the boat with pope was really picturesque.

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