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Report 875: Family of Nine - Tales of a European Adventure
By b&j and the gang from Massachusetts, USA, Summer 2005
Page 14 of 18: Day 13 in Venice
Venice in the rain
We wake to a great breakfast. The made-to-order crepes and omelets are delicious. I have my omelet with roasted vegetables and it is wonderful. My kids canít decide and share the sweet and the savory.
We make our way to the Doges Palace to wait for the Secret Itinerary Tour to begin. Everyone enjoys this tour; it is very interesting. It is quite touristy but we have not done it before so it is new to us.
We are all intrigued by the story of Casanova and his time in the jail. It is fun to see the chambers where so many decisions were made and imagine the activities of all the characters. The woman leading our tour is very informative and answers all questions.
We especially like being able to see the space between the ceiling and the roof of one of the largest rooms. It sounds funny, but the beams and the construction is out of the ordinary. When the tour is over we wander down into the room that we had seen the ďinsides ofĒ and it is a different perspective on the large hall. The kids enjoy seeing the crests and the portraits of some of the people that we have learned about on the tour.
It is raining when we move out of the Palace. We walk around in the rain and the colors of the umbrellas on the bridges remind us of paintings by Prendergast.
At this point we decide to split up a bit. When we were last in Venice we missed out on going to the Peggy Guggenheim museum. My oldest son Henry decides that he also wants to see the museum.
I know my other kids and my parents would love to go to Murano. I ask at the hotel and realize that it is Sunday and the factories are closed. The hotel says that a representative of a glass factory can come to the hotel and take them for a tour. I ask if there is a hard sell associated with this little tour. I am assured that there is no hard sell. I should have trusted my instincts here.
Actually, everyone says that despite the pressure to buy something much more costly than they want to buy, the tour is worth the time. The kids love to see the blower working. Unfortunately, since it is Sunday, they just see a short demonstration instead of a workday amount of blowing.
Aside: the gifts they bought just arrived today from Venice. They were intended as a surprise thank you to me for planning the trip. Unfortunately,I did get a heads up when the customís agent called to say we owed some money to have these gifts continue on their way to us.
Funny the salesman did not tell my parents that they would have to pay these costs. They were not pleased but when I opened the gifts last night and everyone saw how beautiful the glass is they were a little less angry about the whole thing.
I think it should be a warning to anyone who takes a private tour that there is a lot of high-pressure salesmanship going on and I wish the hotel desk had been a bit more honest about this. My family would still have done the tour but would have been more aware. Maybe I am just naÔve and this is so obvious to more seasoned travelers but the warning stands.
The Guggenheim is amazing. When we go into the museum it is raining but when I get tired, and sit in the cafť, the sun is shining. It is a nice rest at the cafť and soon my son and husband join me and we relax for a bit.
We decide to walk a bit around the museum and it is fun to explore with just three of us. We go into a church near the museum (canít remember the name) and admire the floor of the church. The tiles are really great and we take some photographs.
We decide to take the traghetti back across the canal. I had wanted to take a gondola ride but the economics of nine people in two gondolas has changed my mind. The traghetti is a fun alternative and we are back at the meeting place in short order.
It is time to walk to the pastry shop. My dad opts for a nap and my husband wants to go to the Venice Biennale. The rest of us walk to the shop and eat gelato, candy and macaroons. We also buy some of the huge macaroons to bring back to the others. We practically dance back to the hotel on our sugar high!
The walk to the pastry shop is long as we walk over the Rialto Bridge into San Polo and then into Dorsoduro. On the way back we split up.
The older boys want to wander on their own with their own map and my mom and I take the younger two kids home. We are doing fine until the rain comes. Somehow I get disoriented (again a bit of a recurring theme), cross one or two bridges too many and we are lost.
I pull out the map and it immediately gets wet. Luckily my 13 year old has a good sense of direction. He takes command and we retrace our steps over the last few bridges and we are back on track.
We change out of our wet clothes for dinner. We all walk to a restaurant near the Accademia recommended by our friend from Arezzo. Unfortunately we donít check it out first and it is closed. We try another one in a lovely courtyard but they donít have room for nine.
We are in luck though, and we come upon a square with a nice looking restaurant with room inside for us. The food turns out to be really good and the price is right. Everyone enjoys their meal and we leave happy. I wish I could remember the name.
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