This is the view looking south-east from Venice, near St Mark's square on a damp Christmas morning, 2013 at dawn. You can see the spire of the San Georgio Monastery which reflects the Campanile in St. Mark's.
Spectacular and memorable to be there with almost no-one about. Not even the ubiquitous troupes of Chinese and Japanese tourists following a tour-guide with a flag.
I was heading East, to the island of Lido, which has Venice's only beach. It has in December, all the faded Grandeur of the British sea-front, and looking out to sea, I could see enormous container ships. Trade, once would have passed into the Lagoon to enrich Venice, but these ships will be heading for Trieste.
I half-expected to find a few like-minded hardy souls. I expected a flabby German, hearty Norwegian or Elderly British matron to be striding confidently towards the sea, bathing cap on, and towel under their arm.
I was alone. The beach as far as the eye coutd see, was deserted.
But having come this far, I had to give it a go. Yes. I was wearing budgie-smugglers.
The Northern Adriatic in December is much, much colder than the English channel off Brighton, a fact I found out about 2 minutes after this picture was taken. In fact, as shocks to the systems go, diving in is nearly equivalent to skiing through an ice-hole in Norway. A couple of minutes (optimistically) in the water was enough. Ice-cream headed and turning blue, I emerged from the sea to meet a family from Pittsburgh, who told me about their polar-bear club which swim in the Monongahela river on the first of January every year.
It's on the to-do list.
Swimming in the Icy sea certainly makes the Christmas morning Belini and Panatoni more worthwhile .
Merry Christmas from Venice.