Italy 6 - Venice

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June 25th 2018
Published: June 25th 2018
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June 20 our Overseas Adventure Travel group left Brixen and rode to Bassano del Grappa, where fierce battles were fought in WWI, and also the site, during WWII, of a massacre of partisans who revolted against the Nazis. Dozens were hung on trees (now designated with plaques) or shot by firing squad. We met and had a talk with a member of the Alpini, skilled mountaineers who originally had the job of defending the northern Italian border and who now perform peacekeeping missions around the world. They are recognizable by their felt hats with a black feather - very dashing.

Sadly, this was our last stop as a group, and we said goodbye after a relaxing veal dinner accompanied by a duet (16 and 21 years old!) performing jazz on piano and saxophone.

Now Wayne and I were on our own to travel to Venice, and we were reminded of how relaxing it is to be on a tour and be told just where to go and what to do as we waited half an hour for our taxi to bring us to the train we missed! Anyway, we made it to the city eventually and boarded the Vaporetto, the public ferry that travels through the canals. I remember loving Venice when we visited in 1998, perhaps aided by having two kids along who loved the pigeons and made friends in a pickup soccer game. This time, arriving after two weeks in the beauty of the mountains, it felt crowded, dirty, and HOT. By the second day it had cooled off, and we acclimated a bit and could again enjoy the unique canals and tiny alleyways that even Google Maps cannot seem to navigate! Getting lost is just part of the experience. We spent the first night in Hotel Corte del Paradiso - nothing fancy but central location and surprisingly good homemade breakfast.

We saw the Plaza San Marco, of course, and went up in the bell tower for the magnificent (and cooling) view and had a brief gondola ride as part of a food tour, but we also did a couple of things a bit off the beaten track, and they were quite worthwhile: the Scuola Grande San Rocco, with stunning paintings by Tintoretto, and the Fondazione Querini Stampalia museum, a palace donated to the city and filled with furnishings and art showing how its owners lived in the 1600s.

The most essential thing to do in Venice: eat gelato!

Now we're off to Sweden, flying over the mountains we hiked in just a few days ago.

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