Weather: with chilly temperatures and cloudy conditions, with a light breeze
Though the breeze is light, the water in the Lagoon of Venice is too choppy for ice, so despite the winter the water is open, murky and deep. The barge crossing the lagoon is driven by two dozen oarsmen, yet it is large enough for all of you and your horses. It makes the seven mile journey in fairly good time.
Though it is only chilly, the humidity upon the water makes the cold perhaps the worst you've experienced since that night when you were drenched just before crossing the Brenner Pass. Venice is a welcome sight; a spectacular sight.
How can one describe it. Never has there been such a mountain of pure ornate wealth piled upon piles, artistic and an engineering wonder, like Venice. The barge lets you off on a pier near St. Mark's Square, with the Cathedral towering over you, forcing you to gaze at it in wonder. You question someone in the square to find your bankers - the Banque of the Rothschilds - and you are told the way. You arrange to leave your horses at a ostler's near the docks - this costs you 10 c.p. each, leaving the men-at-arms and Hichem behind, as the place is busy and being near the docks, someone could mistake your horses for cargo.
The party obtains for themselves a gondola, paying the gondalier 2 c.p. to take all four of you a distance of two hundred yards across water - there is no other certain means of getting where you are going, as you do not know the maze of necessary bridges - and you are almost struck by filth being thrown from the windows. The odor is something magnificent, and quite different from any city you've known - salt mixed with feces and swill - and the surface of the water is a bit thicker than water.
The tower of the Rothschilds is a 130-foot campanile rising far into the sky, with no windows at all below sixty feet over the ground. You're shown in; you demonstrate the title to your land and you look around at the quite small room that is the main floor. As the walls of the tower here are 8 feet thick, there is little room for living space; so you begin to climb eight flights of stairs, 11 stairs a flight, until you are high above the city. You see from one of the narrow windows - the walls being much thinner now - the rooftops of Venice stretching away in every direction, 2,000 massive stone squares, each four floors high as as big as gatehouses.
A banker meets you. He looks over your paper, he examines his records (which must be fetched) and determines that your back rent amounts to 19 months, from 157 residents of the island of Greater Koufonisia. He offers you a page to sign, if you want to obtain the coin: 2,296 silver pieces. And he assures you that the bank is more than happy to continue gathering the rent for you, for the future, allowing for your agent to collect it at your will.