16th of November
We got up had breakfast at the hotel - it was still raining- and we set off on the road again. The car had dried off over night and the brake warning lights no longer came on, so we guessed that it had been too much water on the road that had triggered it.The sea side through Sanremo was amazing. We drove on an elevated motorway for kilometres through tunnel after tunnel through he clifftops....again in the rain!! After 3 hours in the car we then stopped off at an Auto grill (like a service station) for lunch. We ate got back in the car for 3 hours then we got to the docks of Tronchetto where we had to get on a vaporetto to Venice. The journey to our stop only took about fifteen minutes. We alighted with our luggage and then walked along the narrow streets and over little bridges to the small pensione where we were staying. Venice was amazing. Did you know that it is sinking ? And that it its floating on mud built on forests of wood and tonnes of rubble taken dwellings that were demolished by invaders for than a thousand years ago ? The people of that time that lived on the mainland built Venice on the water because they were fed up with being raided. This strategy worked well for a thousand years....until Napoleon decided he wanted to get his hands on the gold owned by the Venetians. He plundered the city in 1796. Didnt look as though they had spent much on the place since that time. We walked around for a while then looked for a place to have dinner. We chose a place really close to our hotel/restaurant, which was a good idea given that it was still raining. It had fantastic food as Dad said he also loved the atmosphere of the place. He said it had a serenity, you dont normally find in other restaurants. I thought maybe he'd listened to "The Castle" just one time too many. Mum also thought he was starting to sound like Darryl Kerrigan. Did you also know that a lot of local restaurants have no toilet seats to do your business. Sure makes you think twice about No. 2s outside the hotel. Anyway, after dinner we went to bed as soon as we got back to Avogaria (the name of the place we were staying) because we were exhausted.
17th of November
Happy Birthday Harry!! We woke up late and all piled into Mum and Dad's room to give Harry his presents. He got an awesome new watch, a long sleeve t-shirt and all the Rush Hour movies on DVD. We ate breakfast at the place we were staying at. We got out at about 10:30am and walked around to see the sights. The first place we went to was the famous San Marco Square with the San Marco Basilica at one end. Inside the church was magnificent but the coolest thing was that the mosaic tiles on the floor were all wavy. Our conclusion to this mystery was the ground has been affected by the water from the surroundings; meaning the ground became uneven. After looking through the archives of the church, seeing lots of bones and hands - relics from the saints we then went behind the altar to see what looked like a huge solid gold, jewell encrusted scoreboard. It contained dozens of enamel pictures of Jesus, the evangalists and the saints. We walked around to the St Marco side of the great canal where we found a restaurant that was recommended to us by our tour guide from Rome, Peter Kilby. We looked at the restaurant and decided it was a bit early for lunch so we went on a gondola ride before it. The man who paddled the gondola was amazing and he stood at the back of the boat directing it. These guys would come 2cm away from hitting the corner we were turning to make sure boats on the other side of the river could get past. The boats looked amazing with their decorations and cushions. We got out and walked to the restaurant. Also did I mention it was Japanese weekend. There were just to many Japanese in the area. There were probably as many Japanese as Italian. The food was all fresh and delicious especially the seafood. After lunch we walked around having a look at gift shops and Mum had particular interest in Christmas decorations. The one thing they couldn't run out of in any store was opera mask's. There was so many. Harry and I found a shop that sold remote control cars. Harry got a Lamborghini and I got a Ferrari. We walked home to have a rest because the kids were getting restless. We hung out for half an hour then we went back out to see an art gallery...The Penny Guggenheim Collection. The art was cool but then we realised that it was originally Penny Guggenheims house/Palazzo. We got home and got ready for dinner. We had dinner at the restaurant where we were staying. The food was delicious- fabulous pastas, great desserts and we even got to sing happy birthday to Harry with a candle in his chocolate pudding. It had been a long day and we were tired so we went to bed and left Mum and Dad sipping their Italian dessert wine and savouring an Italian coffee....Mum says the French coffee is crap!
18th of November
This morning we slept in got up had breakfast and got out to enjoy our last few hours in Venice. To enjoy those hours we went to the museum of Leonardo Da Vinci but there was a difficulty. The tides had come in and many little alleyways were flooded...we now understand why so many people the walk around Venice with gumboots on!! So we had to find our way around somehow thorough narrow passages to get to the museum where there were models of all the designs he had created. It was amazing. There were designs of wings, war weapons and also gears used in a modern day bicycle and also pulley systems. This museum was good for us because you could try out all the different inventions he made. After the Museum Mum had seen a painting that she liked the day before but today decided to buy it. We went back to the hotel and packed up everything. We checked out then walked back to the San Basilio wharf, where we came into on the first day. We took the ferry back to the mainland, found the car and set off from Tronchetto parking station. After a three hour journey mainly on a very windy road around a lake we touched down into Bellagio near Milano. We settled there for the night with the most amazing view. That morning it was beautiful and sunny with a layer of cloud just above the mountains creeping down slowly to end up covering the middle. We set off for Avignone that morning after breakfast.