Venice with Mom, Carolyn and Pigeons

Trip Start Sep 13, 2006
Trip End May 25, 2007

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

When we arrived in Venice we though movement around the city would be a snap - no crazy drivers or out of control bicyclists. The factor we forgot, of course, was the bridges. Carrying luggage up and down bridges is no picnic and we carried over many of them. Luckily we make it to our hostel and it was well worth it. Our hostel is run by the Methodists (a distinct minority in a country full of Catholics) and the place was great and spotless. They had floors you could eat off of. Seriously. If someone told me to eat off the bathroom floors I would do it. Plus, they have great breakfasts with coco krispies (that you do not have to eat off the bathroom floor).

   Our first activity once we got to Venice was explore St Marks Square and kill time before Mom and her friend and neighbor Carolyn Curry arrived from the airport. When we arrived there we met the scourge of the square - pigeons. Pigeons were everywhere. They are so famous that there are official vendors selling pigeon food on the square. Rick Steves says that they put birth control in the pigeon food but we don't believe it. People buy the food and before they can get the package open the pigeons descend on them. They aren't dumb birds. They know what is coming. Then a friend or family member snaps pictures and laughs hysterically while their loved one is being attacked. Here are some photos: a man being attacked by pigeons, a group of Chinese men covered in pigeons , and our mother being attacked by pigeons. I was the loved one laughing hysterically, snapping photos. Our friend Kathleen calls pigeons "flying rats" and one has to admit that they must be carrying a host of diseases. I did not want to get near them. Julius is a very good son-in-law and took the food so mom could escape, prompting the pigeons to attack him. Once he got rid of the food they more or less left him alone, although him and mom made some friends from the whole ordeal. So, our advice is "Don't Feed the Pigeons".
       Mom and Carolyn are joining us on our trip for 15 days, for Venice, Lake Como, Biella, Assisi and Florence. As tour guides like our cousins Matt, Jen and Carlos already know, things slow down when you add more people. In our case, time was added for bathroom stops, shopping and sitting down to eat. Due to financial constraints Julius and I don't eat at a lot of sit down restaurants, nor do we shop for anything but groceries. We are told that frequent peeing will come with age so we look forward to that is 20 years. Mom and Carolyn were very easy and fun to travel with, though, and we were prepared for the increase time in accomplishing our day to day sightseeing activities.
      Our days in Venice were full, including visits to the main sites in the city, a number of churches and trips to the outlying islands of Murano and Burano (glass blowing island and lace making island, respectively). Our main fiasco was Carolyn's ATM card getting eaten on her first attempt to use it on the trip. What managed to lift her spirits (and ours) was the Democratic landslide in the elections that were reported by USA Today the next morning. Along with the national wins, we also learned that her son-in-law Craig won as Dallas County's District Attorney. Good news all around.
       We managed to fit in a cruise down the grand canal on the water buses and, of course, shopping. Our next stop Lake Como, which we got to via train.
     For all the photos we took in Venice, visit our Venice Gallery on Smugmug ! Mom takes far more photos than we do so she let us give our camera a break. She uploaded her photos to our site so it doesn't look like we didn't take any. The question is: can all of you guess which photos are hers and which are ours? Here is a hint - she likes to take photos of nature scenes, flowers and people looking at the camera and smiling. Good Luck!
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