Two weeks late- but here's our final day

Trip Start May 20, 2010
Trip End May 28, 2010

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Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Friday, May 28, 2010

Sorry it took me two weeks to finish up our trip, but back in the States I fell back into my usual procrastination.  We spent our final day in Venice visitng the Doges Palace and St. Mark's Basilica.  Doges is Italian for Duke- so obviously the Palace was where the Duke's of Venice lived, ruled and conducted their affairs for centuries.  I've posted a couple of pictures from outside the Palace and the entranceway- but we were not allowed to take pictures of the interior rooms.  Each room was decrated with priceless art.  Most of the art was painted on cavasses and then screwed onto to walls and ceilings- unlike the Sistine Chapel in Rome where the artwork was painted directly on the ceiling.  One painting took up a huge wall and consisted of 70+ canvas paintings.  Pictures were also not allowed inSt. Mark's Basilica- where the crypt of the  St. Mark is buried under the Altar.  St. Mark was originally buried in the Middle East somewhere and during the Crusades his body and the jewels buried with him were smuggled out of Muslim control.  The sarcophugus was smuggled out of the Muslim controlled area by packing pork around the crypt.

Later that night we had our awards ceremony and a dinner in an old building on called the Arsenale along the old ship building center of Venice.  We were given carnival masks to wear as we entered the dinner hall.  The masks are made out of papier mache.  The Roman Catholic Religion was a pwerful force through much of Venice's history, so during carnival's the well-to-do Venitians would don masks so that if the behavior became "uncatholic" the bishops would not now who they were.  Our dinner was at the end of a long week and we had about an hour launch ride to get back to the cruise ship- so as far as I know- no one needed to hide behind their mask.  The next morning we took of for home and had an uneventful - but long- flight home.

Thanks to all of you for following us along our journey and I apologize to the few of you that I forgot to originally include in my daily posts.
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