Posted by: jeanne | February 21, 2018

last call for venice

Yesterday was our last day in Venice. We had a lot to do. For some reason (tired legs) none of us wanted to get out of bed this morning, and so it was close to 10 when we left. I discovered, via a text message I didn’t understand, that I only had 1.30 euro left on my phone, and so I needed to go back to Rialto and recharge it. Probably the wifi connection; I was using my phone as a hotspot, and it probably ran it right out of availability. Maybe it was the 55 photos I uploaded for yesterday’s blog post.

We went to Via Garibaldi first, because that way leads past 2 playgrounds. The boys had their fun, and we pushed on. We took a different route than yesterday, going past the Arsenale.



We wound our way thru the interior streets to Bragora, the t-shirt shop where we always get the coolest t-shirts, snarky tourist-centered we-hate-tourist t-shirts. The guy there had a 6 year old daughter himself, so he loved the boys, who acted up accordingly. They picked out their own designs and colors of t-shirts, and asked questions about the process, and watched the guy print the transfers, pick out the blank spaces, and hot-press them onto blank t-shirts. We got one for grandpa, too.




After getting ice cream at the end of the street (S. Antonin), we wandered to San Marco. Since I couldn’t use my phone, I couldn’t pull up a map, and relied on instinct to get us there. So I made a bunch of wrong turns, and didn’t manage to go around San Zaccharia the back way. We retraced our steps down Riva Schiavone and past San Marco. At this point Connor announced he had to go to the bathroom. This is a problem in Venice, as they are woefully equipped with public restrooms. We could have retraced our steps to the t-shirt shop, but I thought we might be able to duck him into a bush at the Giardinetta at the back of Piazza San Marco. But there you go, there were locked gates, and thru them we could see that they’d mowed down all the bushes and cut down all the trees, and were redoing it somehow. So oh well, we kept walking.

We got on the vaporetto then, and went up to Accademia, crossing the bridge to the other side.

nothing to see here, keep moving

They’ve completely covered over the bridge, and built a second set of steps outside the bridge, where you can’t see any of the famous view from the top. It was kind of strange to be walking outside a bridge, but since we couldn’t see the peril, we couldn’t care. Eventually we ended up at the little bar we have often stopped at before, where I knew there was a restroom. I ordered chocolata calde for the boys, and a caffe latte con grappa for me, and we had a break. Avery said he didn’t want chocolate, because it’s grainy, and I told him that chocolate in Venice is a different animal, almost a custard. They both drank theirs all up.



Then we continued walking, making our way to the Rialto Bridge and over, where we stopped at the market, which was over for the day.


way too cool

The merchants were packing up and loading their stuff into storage, and the seagulls were collecting the rest. They made a great racket, and the boys had a field day running in amongst them and running them off.


Avery took a bunch of photos, and since we brought Connor’s tablet out with us, so did he.

picture by Avery.  it never would have occurred to me.  they have such interesting perspectives

teaching Avery what happens during a high tide – the guy had to duck to get under

Next we went to the choco-center and bought a bunch of Italian candy. we’ll do the same thing in Istanbul tomorrow. And then we walked back to Piazzale Roma to get vaporetto and bus tickets for tomorrow’s trip to the airport, and then crossed over to the playground and let the boys play until I got cold.






From there we walked on to the fritelle store, and both Michaela and il capo were there. This time she was dressed in her whites, and Connor remembered her that way. We got pizza for the boys, and then the boss suggested ice cream and forced the big cones on the kids. Connor got cherry, which has always been his favorite, and Avery got cheesecake ice cream. Imagine them eating pizza while hungering for ice cream. Very confusing. Michaela got a few hugs out of it, I got to shake il capo’s hand.




Then we walked on some more. We passed our old house in San Polo, which when we first arrived had its lights on – so good to see it being lived in.

ciao bello



We passed the Coop store, looking for our friend Pasquale, but he wasn’t there. We got to the Vodafone store, and the nice lady told me that no, there was nothing wrong with my phone, and I should be fine. Huh.






Then we got on the vaporetto and went down a few stops to San Angelo, and got off to find a traghetto stop, because I wanted the boys to experience a gondola-type ride.



We had to find the traghetto street, but I kind of remembered the way, and as soon as we got there, the boat pulled up. They overcharged us by 2 euro, but I didn’t care. Connor sat and Avery insisted on standing and taking pictures, and nearly fell over at once point as we were passing thru the wake of a vaporetto.


When we got off, the oarsman took Connor’s cap off and put it on backwards, remarking that now he was a Marine. He adjusted it sideways and said he liked it more rap-style, and wanted to know why the guy took his hat off at all. People always take a proprietary air toward Connor.


Then we had to walk all the way to Accademia and beyond, to find the street of the squero (the boat builders), and the bar where they put Connor to work last time.


The boys had eaten, so I picked out some chicchetti and got a glass of wine, and ordered a bottle of Fernet Branca to take home, and then struck up a conversation with an American tourist from Minneapolis. The boys went over the bridge and up to the green space behind the squero, while I luxuriated in an empty bar, taking setup shots so I can do a painting when I get home. I was glad to see that Mamma was in good health, and her boy had a few pounds on them since last year.


They didn’t remember us; we were only there for an hour last year with Marie, but we remembered them, and I still thought it was the loveliest bar I’d seen in a long time. I used to paint a lot of bars when I lived in Ireland, and always want to do another one, even if I seldom get to it.

squero – boatyard (picture by Avery)

When we were done, we went up to the squero so I could explain it to Avery, who is of an age to think about such things. And then, we were all so tired after the marathon yesterday, we took a vaporetto back to Sant’Elena, and dropped our stuff off at the flat. At the moment, I’m sitting on a bench watching the boys play on the playground, not fighting for once. It’s still too early to go to the restaurant for pizza, and the boys don’t want anything else, not spaghetti, which we had yesterday, but that nasty pizza that we still have two pieces from in the fridge. we’ll have to wait another hour before their oven is warm enough, but we’ll go bak to the flatlet in a few minutes, once my fingers finish freezing and Connor gets tired of pushing Avery in the tire swing. They boys will play on their devices, and I’ll pack up. We’re getting up at 6 tomorrow morning, catching a vaporetto at 7, and our plane leaves at 10:30 for a 2-hour flight plus 2 time zones. There’ll be a car to take us to our hotel, and we should only need to find something for dinner, and we’ll be fine. My guess is that we’ll sleep very well tonight, and not feel like walking any kind of distance tomorrow. Today’s walk was as long as yesterday’s – 4 or 5 hours – and today it got difficult to lift our feet near the end.

The best thing about this trip so far is that Avery loves Venice, and wants to come back. And that’s all I ask, that he learn to love travel.

Wednesday. Last night we got back to the flatlet and the boys played on their devices while I packed the bags. I put a little more into the boys’ bags this time, and stuffed the checked bag full, to relieve the pressure on my shoulders and neck. I live in fear of a migraine when I travel, and it seems to happen every time these days. Once I’d finished the packing, we went around the corner to the pizza place, and sat down. When the boys saw the menu, they decided they might want other things, but since they’d insisted on pizza, by god, that’s what they got. If they’d said spaghetti again, it would have saved us 10 euro, so pizza it was and they just had to live with it. We ate the whole pie, and Connor himself finished off the french fries. We saw on the menu that you could put french fries on your pizza, and even hot dogs, but we weren’t feeling very adventurous. We were tired. So after dinner, we came home and went to bed. The boys argued about it (I always stay up until 11 and then manage to get up at 6, insisted Avery), but we had to get up early, so I just turned the lights off.

This morning we got up almost promptly at 6. I spend several hours awake in the middle of the night, and was just getting into a good dream cycle when the alarm went off, so I was a little reluctant. Avery said he was awake much of the night, tho I couldn’t tell. And Connor squiggled and thrashed thru the night, only now and then lying quietly in the bed.

I was struck again by how quiet Venice is. Because there are no cars, there’s no noise at night. People go to bed early in Venice, and no planes pass overhead, and we couldn’t hear the vaporettos approach and leave the dock because we were down a side street instead of facing the lagoon, as before. It’s absolutely silent, and I can hear a ringing in my ears, but nothing else. I love it.

We got up, the boys gave me no trouble even tho it was early. I did last minute straightening, we stripped the beds, I washed the few dishes, the boys drank milk, and I didn’t bother with coffee because my stomach didn’t want to know. We left the house just as my alarm for leaving the house went off, and we got to the vaporetto stop before I could see a boat approaching.


So five minutes waiting, looking around the lagoon in the brightening dawn. It seemed a little warmer this morning, the sky was clearish, and there was our vaporetto coming. It was a tiny, old style boat, and all the seats inside were full, so the boys found perches in an alcove, and I stood on deck, as always. They dug out a bag of cheetos they’d brought with them all this way, and I was chagrined to discover we’d gotten on the wrong boat. I wanted one last trip up the Grand Canal, but we went around instead. The express vaporetto. We were in Piazzale Roma 20 minutes early, so we got the one-earlier bus and it only took 20 minutes to get to the airport.


lookie, the Dolomites.  I told Avery they were the Alps, which is nearly right


So here we are at the moment. The boys started fighting before we got off the bus, and it only got worse as we stood in line for checkin. They took off their coats and stuffed them in their backpacks, and we all went to the bathroom (travel rules), then made it thru security (tho Avery somehow set off the alarms), and straight to a cafe, where I got caffe latte and a chocolate croissant, and Connor got a strawberry donut, and Avery sulked. We made it thru passport control – every official in the building had a smile and something cute to say about the boys – and now we’re in the waiting area, and everybody is on their devices, separated from each other like an equilateral triangle.


the kid meal

We’re now in the plane, halfway there. They’ve served us an excellent breakfast which the kids ate most of (yay), and Connor has run out of charge on his tablet, so he’s doing his homework (they gave him a sheaf of papers to fill out – beginning and ending sounds).


And because it’s cloudy below, I’ve got the shade mostly down to avoid glare, and i’ve just finished resizing all the photos. Except I ran out of charge on my phone at the bar, and Avery took the remaining pictures, which I still have to get off his phone.


I’ll do that this evening when we get to our hotel. If I have the energy. We have no idea what Istanbul is like. But Turkish people look just like everybody else (except maybe for Germans and Icelanders), and it’s a huge city, many times larger than Atlanta, so I think we will have only architectural and food culture shock. Avery wants to go to Japan, because he can say konnichiwa. That’ll be culture shock. And a million-hour flight, but I’ll break that to him after buying the tickets…



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