September 17 - 19
09.18.2010 - 09.19.2010
We left Ancy Le Franc around 7:00 am for Venice, Italy. The drive was another adventure in which we had to figure out gas pumps and sychronize maps, not to mention the actual driving through the French, Swiss and Italian alps, at times in the sleet and rain without the help of a GPS and only one cell phone. We traveled through a series of tunnels called Mont Blanc and once when we pulled into an emergency pull over inside a tunnel to let the other car know that we would need to stop for fuel when possible, the Italian Polizia quickly pulled in behind us and made us leave immediately. A little scary but understandable. We arrived late in the evening after a 9 hour drive. We arrived in Venice by water taxi and I have to be honest, our first view of Venice on this dark and rainy night was not overly exciting. In the morning; however, Venice was beautiful in the sunlight and soon would become my favorite city of this trip. Our "family room" at the hotel had five beds and one bathroom which took some planning for six women but the views were great which was lucky because air conditioning was not allowed at times and you had to keep your windows open to cool and ventilate the room. An added bonus is that there were no bugs, which was surprising because you are completely surrounded by water! Europe we have discovered is way ahead of us in the conservation of energy and many lights are turned on by movement in addition to the limitations on air conditioning and heat.
We spent the morning on a water taxi for our own "Rick Steves" tour narrated by Carlette. Afterwards we had lunch and did some shopping for Venetian glass gifts. We then toured the Basilica and wandered the streets which are a wonder in themselves. Around sunset, we enjoyed a gondala ride with a bottle of percheco (not sure of the spelling, put a type of italian sparkling wine). The canals were beautiful and we even passed by Mozart's home. If you ever have a chance to take a gondala ride, take it from me and check the tides. The difference in water levels is significant at high tide, which is when we took our ride, of course, which meant that the gondalier had to tilt the gondala more so that he could manuver it under the many bridges. This was scary stuff, when you are talking about six full grown southern women and one little italian gondalier. In my mind, I was recalling a sunken canoe at Camp Kirkwood and was already wondering how well all of us could swim if we needed to. The gondalier was an expert; however, and managed to get us safely back, although it was evident that he had earned his euros, when somewhere along the way he had stripped off his pretty little striped sweater. Our evening ended with a light supper and desserts in San Marco square while enjoying the live music which included a rendition of "The Hills are Alive" which held a special meaning for Carlette, and that's all I'm allowed to say about that.