22 August, 2009

Pulling up stakes

Yesterday we spent the day in Venice, and I'm probably the only visitor on earth who was actually surprised at how lovely it is!

I spent a blurry evening there 23 years ago at the tail end of a blowout European tour. It was the umpteenth stop in ten days and we'd already seen so much that I think my brain's memory card was full. We gobbled down pizza, sat in a gondola and then got herded back onto the tour bus. I was so tired and overstimulated that I didn't realize just how spectacular a city it is!

John Berendt wrote that he used to have "random photo days" in which he wandered around and took pictures at random moments, just to see if he could find a single corner in Venice that is not photogenic. (he never did.)

We were completely and utterly charmed by the city despite the heat and the hoards of tourists. Even S and B enjoyed sightseeing, and that's saying a lot considering how we've kind of pushed our limits with them lately with city tours.

M and I really enjoyed seeing the Fenice, Palazzo Barbaro and other sights mentioned in "City of Falling Angels".

The kids spent about an hour feeding pigeons on St. Mark's square and B even coaxed one to sit on his head.

We ate an excellent lunch at VinoVino-- B, being the ever-curious epicurean, ordered polenta and cuttlefish in ink sauce and I enjoyed an exquisite Venetian risotto.

Later we found a little alleyway named after M, which was very funny considering his name is never heard outside of Holland.

D was really suffering in the heat, so every hour or so we would toss her into a canal. This turned out to be doubly useful-- she'd rolled in something unmentionable before we left because she smelled HORRENDOUS! It was really embarrassing-- people would come up to pet her and then would stop a couple of feet away with their smiles frozen on their faces. The canal water cooled her off and thankfully, over time it even neutralized the stench.

Once we'd seen the manditory sights we explored picturesque sidestreets and alleyways. And at the end of the day we took a vaporetto along the Grand Canal from Plaza Roma down to St. Marks.

What a fantastic experience!

Our vacation is drawing quickly to a close. Today we visited a local winery and tasted wines and olive oil. I came out feeling a bit blurry around the edges-- must have been the oil...

We swam for one last time in the lake and I took D for one last hike up the cliff at the shore near our campsite.

Tomorrow we'll pull up stakes and head for home. Although it will be nice to sleep in our own beds again we've all said that we could easily stay another week-- this has been a really great vacation!


Goofball said...

pooh still wikimedia pictures huh ;)

never been in Venice. I'd not have an idea what to expect either as you hear such mixed things about that city.

anno said...

Sigh. Venice and Aida... even with 38 degrees C, I'm still wildly envious. It all sounds wonderful.