Many visitors associate Venice with romance, beautiful architecture and picturesque canals. But is it really always like that? In any case, we were very surprised when we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a demonstration in Venice.
Imagine: Beautiful weather, a boat trip across the Grand Canal with the destination Quartiere S. Elena. Everyone is looking at the sights on the shore. Then the ship reduces speed, starts honking and suddenly finds itself surrounded by smaller and larger boats with protest banners and it’s just noise.
We were a bit irritated because we didn’t understand what was being shouted and what was written on the posters. One thing was clear, however: we were in the middle of a demonstration in Venice, which was not only taking place on land, but also on the water.
Our ship slowly sailed through the demonstration – not without making a lot of noise and so the captain clearly showed his sympathy for the demonstrators – and we arrived at our mooring with some delay.
In the evening, we first found out what kind of protest action we had supported with our unplanned presence. The residents of Venice and environmentalists had protested against the further expansion of the port and the entry of cruise ships into the city. Economically, Venice is heavily dependent on tourism, but the huge cruise ships that pass through the city into the harbour every day pollute the environment immensely. Stopping further outside the city and transporting visitors into the city by launches would improve this.
And I think there is some truth in that.
It is indeed very impressive when you sit on the quay in the evening sun and the cruise ships leave the harbour. Huge ships leave the city, which also looks small and fragile. The houses and the boats look like toys. Sometimes the thought crossed my mind: “I hope nobody falls asleep on the bridge. If the brakes have to be applied now, the ship will easily sail on to us…”.
Although these huge cruise ships really do leave the city almost creeping behind them, the water becomes very choppy and waves slosh against the quay walls. And not to forget the huge amounts of exhaust fumes that the ships blow into the city air. I think the shipping companies responsible should not think of the comfort of the passengers. For them, a trip from a berth outside the city can also be made exciting with a little imagination and be another highlight of the trip.
I think something should really be done here to protect the city. It’s a pity that I didn’t understand what it was all about during the demo, otherwise I would have been happy to join in the protest!