Trip Start Jun 10, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Strolling the Champs Elysees in the morning and the Piazza San Marco in the evening, does it get much better? Yes! We got to see my mom and Larry as well. The four of us met my mom and Larry for a few days in Venice after they travelled through Switzerland for a bit. We had been counting the days for some time now. It is SO nice to be with family after being away for a few months. To do it in Venice is just amazing! With four hundred bridges and over two thousand alleys, it is very easy to get lost, and that isn't always a bad thing. Home to a rich history of masked balls, Marco Polo, and Casanova - Venice is wonderfully romantic if you can avoid all of the pigeon poop (Krista wasn't so lucky).
Some of the best finds can be found on side streets that you may or may or not have planned on reaching. My mom and Larry rented a wonderful little apartment, maybe thirty yards from the main square in Venice (the one with all the pigeons). Perfect (unless you are Megan, who hates the "flying rats").
We didn't arrive until after 10:00, so the first night we headed back to the apartment for a few refreshments and much catching up. We had to force ourselves to call it quits in the wee hours of the morning to ensure that we had enough energy for the next day.
Once organized the following morning we ventured out to explore and found that the streets of Venice were absolutely jammed with tourists. We had to stop at the Police station so that my  mom could turn in a wallet that she had found (and fill in a report that the police insisted upon, but took forever to do), so much for rewarding a good samaritan.
We decided to first explore the islands that are around Venice. We headed to Murano, of Murano glass fame. It wasn't that busy, but it was packed with glass shops, and some even had their factory doors open so that passersby could check out the methods on how to fill all those glass shops. It seemed similar to what we had seen in Waterford (Waterford Crystal), but a little more colourful and a little less high-end. Still, incredibly beautiful stuff.
After our glass fill, we took a watertaxi to Burano - home to the legendary lacemakers. It was kind of neat to go from a place world-renowned for its glass products to one known for its lacemaking on the next island. Burano was much prettier as a village. The homes were all painted different colours and it seemed a litttle more lively (and more popular with the tourists). We were told that much of the lace is now machine-made, but the best of the best stuff (and by far the more expensive) is made by a handful of ladies that have mastered the craft over the decades. Walking through the streets peaking through the open doors, we could randomly see little old ladies working away at their masterpieces.
As our legs began to feel a little jello-like, we went back to Venice for the evening. After a fabulous dinner in a lovely restaurant just around the corner from the restaurant, we strolled the square listening to the various violinists and pianists while sampling some of Italy's best gelato. Not a bad way to end an incredible day.
The next day we headed out to take in some of the shops in our neighbourhood. They have everything here. Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Ferrari, and Gucci (just outside our window). All of this high-end stuff is found alongside market-style vendors, an interesting dynamic.
We stopped by the famed Rialto Bridge to take in the best views of Venice before lunch-break. After some refueling, we were treated to a gondola ride - thanks again mom and Larry. Krista managed to haggle a pretty good deal with the gondola guy. She may be a Duff now, but there is obviously a little Ferraro left in her.
It was a perfect day to cruise around Venice. Along the quiet little canals as well as the gorgeous Grand Canal - an unforgettable experience.
We then took in some more of Italy's best gelato and more shops before we had to head back to get Krista and Matt's things, as they had to head out (note: for future reference, if you come to visit us on this trip, you can't leave. It's too upsetting to say good-bye).
The four of us then headed to a wonderful little restaurant that specializes in homemade fare. They even gave us wine while we waited for our table. It was awesome, but not as good as mom's, nuna's, or Megan's ; )
With our more than satisfied tummies, we headed to the main square for one last evening stroll in Venice - at least for a while. The four of us went our separate ways in the morning as mom and Larry were heading home, and we were off to Verona. We will repeat again, if you come to visit us, you are not allowed to leave. We have had a perfect time here in Venice, not only is it a gorgeous place, but we got to do it with some family by our side...brilliant. 
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