Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Flat Stanley is back with us!

Two young Italian boys with Flat Stanley

Our first day guide, Laura.

You may recall that Flat Stanley got lost in Istanbul; we were devastated to say the least! But he was well taken care of and has rejoined us here in Venice and is having a wonderful time, including meeting a couple of young boys on Murano Island.
Day two in Venice was not as pleasant as day one both because of the weather (moist and hot and sticky—but no rain!) and because of the tour guide. Day one we had Laura, an effervescent young woman who made everything come alive on the tour. Day two we had Alexandra whose knowledge of Venice was encyclopedic and I swear she tried to regurgitate all that knowledge in four hours! I do really enjoy learning about whatever we’re doing and wherever we are, but taking a group of 35 through a museum and telling us about every painting and every sculpture is way too much!

We went to the Doges Palace; the Doges were the governors, for lack of a better word, of Venice but Alexandra didn’t really explain what or who they were, she just told us all about the rooms of the palace and the paintings and frescoes in those rooms. Often there were a dozen or more paintings hanging plus the ceilings were painted with many frescoes and oils.

After the Doges Palace we crossed the Piazza San Marco to the Basilica San Marco, another disappointment after seeing San Giorgio yesterday. It is arguable the most famous church in Venice so of course there are throngs of people being herded through it. We, and everybody else, had only the time it took to walk along a fabric-covered path between stanchions from which we were not allowed to deviate. So we had less than three minutes to see the interior.

Next it was off by water taxi (a smaller version of the vaporetto, a taxi only holds about eight or ten people where the vaporetto will hold 20–30) to the Ca’ Rezzonico, the home of a very wealthy Venetian who sort of bought their way into the high society of the day, the “nouveau riche” of the 17th century. Some of the information I wish Alexandra had given us is here that the poet Robert Browning died there; that his father had a studio there; that John Singer Sargent had a studio there, and that there were some financial shenanigans that went on. She knew all about the paintings, however, and told us about them in excruciating detail. On all thefour floors. Nonetheless, it IS a beartiful home.

Back to the ship by vaporetto and thence to go through the agony of the security check to get on board ship. The Italians have a truck holding the mandatory x-ray screening followed, for no reason I can ascertain, by the ship’s x-ray screening. I have no idea why the ship (not always, but mostly) has to screen us yet again when the country has already done so. The agony is mostly because all (it seems) 1950 passengers plus a goodly portion of the crew have to check back in at once (it seems) by inserting our “cruise card” (all-purpose electronic card that is your identification and credit card all in one) into what I call the “doink” machine—doink is the sound the machine makes when you insert your card and all is well; if all is not well, it emits a pretty good rendition of a Bronx cheer. One. Person. At. A. Time. The line to get back aboard often stretches for 100 meters.

Sailaway from Venice was beautiful if not as gorgeous as the sail in was—high humidity made the visibility not quite as crisp—but it was great because we could watch it from our balcony while drinking VB beer with some friends. Tomorrow, Dubrovnik and then a sea day before five port days in a row. So you may not hear from me for several days!

One of many bridges over the smaller canals.

Two columns at the canal end of Piazza San Marco.

The throngs in the Piazza.

Flat Stanley at the Basilica San Marco.
Flat Stanley in a exhibition of counterfeit money (although I think the sign says it is authentic American money, circa 1943.

A suggestion box from the far distant past of Venice.

The Bridge of Sighs, so named by the poet Byron.
The view the prisoners would have while walking across the Bridge of Sighs.

Ca' Rezzonico


With some others in our gondola. No, the gondolier didn't sing. You have to pay extra for that.

Approaching the bridge over the canal to our dinner in Venice.

The group that went to dinner for Steve and  Donna's anniversary (they are on the right).

The armory.

No comment.

Several of the women got roses.

Donna, the anniversary girl.

The dinner group, L-R: Pat, Wendy, Mary, Marie, Donna, Steve (at the head of the table), Pam, Randy, Ian, Bob, and Mal.

At dinner.

Some of the staff of the ship. Randy took this picture.

Interior courtyard at the Doges Palace.

A home on the canal.

Doges Palace and Piazza San Marco.


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  2. Pam, did you just say drinking VB Beer ????????? My hubby would be a very happy camper to get his hand on some of that !!! The part he dislikes most about travel is the terrible beers he if "forced" to drink !! 2 weeks today we leave home, so wont be long and we will catch up for a glass or 3 of good cheer xxx

    1. Yes, they have VB, they even have it on draught!

  3. Where is your new Header picture taken?

  4. It's in Dubrovnik but I didn't put it there, somehow FB has changed my photo and I don't know how to change it back!