Day 36 Time for Some Venetian Culture

Day 36- Today we got up early, early so we could eat the free breakfast, and early so we could go downstairs to use the internet.  One thing I am not sure if I have mentioned, is that the internet sucks in Italy.  Yes, I said the “s” word, but it is true!  It is unreliable at best, spotty, and overall just a pain.  Now for normal tourists this would not be a problem, but when your husband works online, you are trying to write a blog, your are homeschooling your son, and you use the internet to call your family…it is a HUGE bummer!  So we ate breakfast and got caught up as best we could (yes I was a bit lazy when it came to blogging…reasoning that I didn’t really have enough time to post…and now here I am playing catch up…ugg!! Not that it really matters to anyone…not sure that anyone has noticed…but it matters to me!  Through this blog I get to record my trip…a trip that I feel like has changed my life so much already in ways that I am not sure I can explain…

Enough of that, so today we were headed back to St. Marks and we were going to hit a few museums…really the Doge’s palace was what I was looking forward to.  Today we decided to take the boat ( I forget the cool Italian name for it) to St. Marks and then we would walk back.  Now we do actually do some reading and some research about our city before and during the time we are there (Lonely Planet and Rick Steves’ are our bibles…mostly it is our pal Rick).  If you are not familiar with Rick Steves, let me tell you that he is a travel guru!  People seriously worship this man!  Rick Steves has travel guides, travel seminars, travel gear, travel videos, and even travel consultants!  We actually met with someone in Edmonds, Wa at Rick Steves headquarters to plan a  route for our trip and get ideas of where to stay and how to get there.  Now here is the truth…it was the BEST thing we could have done to prepare for our trip!  We got so much information that was invaluable for this trip!!!  I make jokes about Rick Steves…but yes I am not one of his followers…I listen to his blog, read his books, and quote him…it is actually a little embarrassing!!  His guide books give you travel tips, walking tours, transportation insights, restaurants, and even hotel suggestions.  If you like to stay at the Hilton or eat at expensive restaurants…this is not the guide for you!  If you want a really authentic experience, you want to mingle with the locals, these are the guides for you!

So, end of advertisement, back to our day!  We did use our guidebook to learn about the different museum passes you can get…there are quite a few combinations!  After arriving by boat to St. Marks…we can see the platforms are up and so is the water level!  We put on our “cute” booties and are off to the Doge.  I am not sure how to describe this experience, except to say it was incredible!  We were there for several hours.  It is not just a palace, but the seat of government for the Venetian Republic, the courthouse, the armoury, the bridge of sighs, and even the prison.  I have to say do not miss this!!!  When we were done there, booties were back on and we headed off to find a cafe near the Academia museum that we had seen a day earlier!

We had a fantastic lunch at a charming little spot tucked away by the bridge near the Academia museum.  It was also right next to a gondola spot, so we could watch people getting on and off their gondolas!  We saw loving couples, giggling girls and groups of tourists.  It was fun to watch people creating a magical memory that would last forever!  After lunch we were going to go to the Academia…but did not read the fine print of the museum pass…this was one of the museums not covered by the pass…and it was not cheap to get into… so we did not go.  Actually I REALLY wanted to go, but I had a sinking feeling that Reid was not up for another museum full of artwork…so on we went.  What we realized is that the Natural History museum was covered with our pass.  I had a feeling that this would be more up Reid’s alley!  So off we went.

Let me remind you how difficult it is to navigate around Venice…street signs not always there…canals…bridges…oh my!  We got seriously lost trying to get to where we were going.  Now Miss Direction eventually got us there…and there were a few times that Miss Direction wanted to go one way…but no one listened to her!  Well we finally made it to the museum and had about an hour and a half to see it before it closed!

The museum started out strong…great displays of dinosaur bones and fossils!!  Then (for me at least) it went downhill fast.  Why?  Because most of the rest of the museum consisted of “stuffed” animals…it was like a nightmare to me!  In one room, they even had elephant’s feet, ears, and even trunks!  I could not get out of there fast enough!  Of course Reid was mesmerized…thank goodness Russ was able to walk around with him…

We left the museum just as it was closing and as night was falling on this magical city.  We decided to have a light dinner, and walked around looking for a good spot.  What we found was an Irish pub that had sandwiches and beer!  Yum!  As we ate along the sidewalk, Reid noticed some street vendors.  We saw that they were selling the infamous “selfie stick” that we had seen all over Europe.  As narcissistic as they seem, I began to realize this might be the only way we can take a picture of the 3 of us on this trip.  So Russ sent Reid to find out how much they are…and then it began… Russ and Reid set out to haggle with the vendor.  Russ and Reid talked strategy, and Reid would go over and do the haggling!  It took all through our dinner and beyond.  In the end, Reid was so excited about the deal he got, that he tested out the selfie stick by taking a picture with the man who sold it to him!  It was so fun to see how excited Reid was at the end of his negotiations!

This was our last night in Venice, so we took our time to soak it all in!  Reid actually was on the hunt for a 2 euro bird man (not sure that is the correct term) mask.  He finally found one, and immediately put it on!  He wanted to look like the Thief Lord, from the book of the same name that he read in the third grade!  He wore this mask for the rest of our trip, in the car ride afterwards, up until the ribbon came off the mask…it was too cute!!!

After a exciting last night…we headed off to bed!