Day 11: Day in Venice Gondola, Lots of Presents but no Lace

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June 14th 2013
Published: July 12th 2013
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Venice from a bridgeVenice from a bridgeVenice from a bridge

One of the many beautiful views in the city
Woke up with my 2nd hangover of the tour and vague memories of all the stuff I said the night before. I slipped out quietly of my cabin so not to wake my roommate Ken. I did my daily blog at the benches near reception as I waited for everyone to wakeup. We had a full day in Venice and I was looking forward to Gondola ride. I know it is a cheesy tourist thing but I can't help being cheesy. While I was waiting for the bus to drive us into town I ran into Christine from the Mega European tour. The Mega European tour is a 49 day tour that goes all over Europe and into Turkey as well. I got along well with everyone on the bus but after 49 days we would have started to annoy each so 14 days was a good length. I had chatted with Christine the night before while doing laundry and she apparently did not realize I was drunk. Her group was in Switzerland as well and had the same strange gender ratio 32 Women and 6 Men and I enjoyed her story about one of the dating couples going behind the waterfall and coming back to the camp ENGAGED!!!.

Ok so we took the bus to the station where we boarded I believe a monorail into the city. No cars are allowed in Venice so this was the only way to get in. Kate was guiding us today and she showed us how to follow the Yellow signs to find the major attractions and not get lost. It was a good system and I am betting it was setup for tourists. Venice has so many nice bridges and everything in the city is transported by boat. You can stand on many bridges in Venice and look at beautiful buildings.

Most of us paid for the gondola ride so we made our way to the Piazza San Marco which is lovely. Kate actually told us that when it floods they allow gondola rides through it. The gondola rides were a bit of wait because there were a few groups in front of us. It was 6 people to a boat and it was nice ride through the city. Our group took up 6 or 7 boats and we all followed each other. The grand canal of Venice is impressive, watching all those boats go through the canal and you can see how the city can function without cars. The gondola ride did not come with singing thought but one of the other boats was singing for our entertainment and I wish I got a video of it.

Gondola ride was followed by a lace demonstration which I thought was a big sales push and I was actually considering buying something but they didn't have anything for babies and that is one of the gifts I had to buy that day. Kate told us how to get back to the train and we had 6 hours or so of free time in the city. Group for the day was Patrina, Kelly, Zakiyya, Christine, Sam and myself. We grabbed lunch at a Chinese place nearby (more irony) and I do regret that the food was actually pretty bad. At this point we lost Sam because she didn't want to eat there and was suppose to double back after grabbing food elsewhere. We waited for awhile at the restaurant and outside but she did not return. We spent the next few hours just wandering in and out of stores and wandering in
Gondola RideGondola RideGondola Ride

Jacqueline, Stephen, Christine, Patrina, and Me
and out of the streets of Venice. I managed to get some gifts for people back home and every street was full of stores. The ladies bought some jewelry and other trinkets and I ended my shopping with a venetian bag which I used to carry around the gifts I had bought for my favourite singer.

We wandered for hours before we stopped for Gelato at outdoor café. Gelato was tasty I had Tiramisu but I will say our waiter was really annoyed with us because I think we weren't spending a lot. Well we ended up not tipping him and paying him in change. At that point we were pretty tired of wandering Venice and we ended up going back early using a taxi which was not that expensive. When we got back to the campgrounds I realize at that point I had seen no tourist attractions or museums while I was there. Oh well I had plenty more days on this trip to do that. We had a lot of time before dinner so I hung out in the hot tub with the my bus mates who slowly trickled in from Venice. Most people were drinking but I had abstained because I wanted to try another bucket later that night.

We found Sam back at the camp and apparently she had gotten lost trying to get back to the Chinese restaurant so that is why we got separated. Dinner that night was tricky for Zakiyya and Sam because they are both muslims and vegetarians and the vegetarian item that night had alcohol in it and luckily they realized it in time. They ended buying their own food at the restaurant.

Sherri and Nardine bought Jemma and Emma's gift that day and they did a fabulous job. Jewelry for both of them and a leather bound drawing book for Emma. We gave Kate the gifts to send to Emma and we got more good news because she was going to be transferred to Australia soon for treatment. So that was a good ending to dinner.

I ended up splitting a bucket of Casanova with Patrina to avoid a repeat of last night. I finished more than half the bucket to no ill effects and I went to bed early that night because I was nervous about tomorrow which included Austria and PARAGLIDING.

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