Nothing like I thought it would be. I was told it would be 4 people each gondola; we had 8 in our group split up in fours with two strangers and one of our couples had to sit apart; how romantic! guides were loud and noisy...3 or 4 gondolas were sent out at the same time and had to maneuver among themselves and others in the narrow (dirty) waterways with small boats docked along the way. Crew was not friendly...we arrived early and was grumpily told to 'you leave at 6:30' not even to say well sit here or the line will start over there. While walking around, I noticed other waterways and gondola where it was wider and less obstructed. Not what I expected...also everyone wants a picture going under the bridge...well it was not the Big Bridge but small insignificant ones on side 'streams'. They did not slow down for you to get a good picture there either. Oh! its a FAR walk from where the water taxis are!
Sorry I cannot remember the name of the woman that was our tour guide (the one with the bright orange oriental umbrella); but she was GREAT! She was very knowledgeable about her country and her personal experience added more to the tour. BEAUTIFUL city and BEAUTIFUL people. One thing to look out for; the company said the guide would be wearing a blue company shirt but she was not (make it harder to locate; however if you stand by the fountain you will see your sign and have a COLD drink of water from the fountain…its spring water you would be paying for in the stores!
Once we followed the great directions on our prepaid tickets and our time arrived, we got into the museum with no problem and ahead of the long line. Cleared security and was about to go upstairs when we were stopped and told we had to put camera bags and bag packs in lockers. So we got out of line to join another to do that. Take your camera with you! I left mine because we were told we could not take pictures. We got upstairs, everyone was taking pictures. Pay the extra for small group and private tours if you want to stop and read about the statues, paintings, or anything; if not you are herded through like cattle. Do not expect to see everything in just 3 hours.
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