Friday, June 12, 2009

First time in Venice

Deanna was lucky.

I was attending a conference in Venice and she convinced me to take her, and the kids, along.

This was the first time we spent more than a few hours in Italy. On our honeymoon we took a brief detour from Austria and Switzerland to see Reifenstein castle. We would spend a lot more time in Italy on this trip.

Venice has a billion islands. Once you cross a bridge, you are leaving one island and arriving on another. It costs a lot of money to keep the city from sinking and to keep the tourists coming. It is definitely unique.

There are many canals in Venice. There is one large canal called the "Grand Canal". The rest look like alleyways.

Venice has lots of water and lots of boats.

Some of the restaurants on the "Grand Canal" sell expensive, mediocre food to tourists. The main selling point is the view.

Talyn enjoys the view as we travel the equivalent to a city bus on the way to our hotel.

Boats instead of cars.

Bridges are everywhere.

This is one of the main bridges that cross the Grand Canal, Academia Bridge.

Once you walk in the city, it looks like many old European cities with narrow walkways.

Here is Saint Mark's square. Beware of the tourists.

Here are four tourists now. One specimen is not very happy. Cheer up little bud! You are in Venice.

The Bascilica looks very nice.

Here are those tourists again outside the Doge's palace.

If you ascend the bell tower, Campanile, you get great views.

Boats and water seem to be everywhere.

Little people below.

The city sprawls outward.

Back on the ground I spy some kids on a big statue.

If you go behind some houses, you encounter this nice staircase.

After our walk, I challenge the kids to find our way back. Dante was leading, but looks back to see if he is on the right track.

We made it back and stayed in a hotel with a garden. Look, everything is green!
I had forgot about that color. Everything but the boy was included.

The entrance had green also.

While Nyssa and Deanna slept, the boys snuck out for some cool morning photos.

Don't look at the buildings on the left. Look at the still water.

Medusa statue.

Dante made it safely into the hotel before the boat got him. That was close.

This was a cool building next door.

We arrived two days early and spent time in a hotel before moving to the hotel where the conference was held. The conference was held on Lido. In order to get there we had to take a water taxi.

As we left the hotel, we made our way onto the Grand Canal. Behind us is the second bridge that spans the Grand Canal--Rialto Bridge. There are only three bridges that span the Grand Canal.

For lunch we had pizza! At this lunch Talyn tells us how he is going to ask his classmates: "Where did you have the best italian food?" He continues, "I would say the best Italian food I had was in Italy." I realize that I am creating a monster.

This is the outside of the Frari church.

Another day, another bridge.

Pizza people greet us as we walk along the streets.

We try to avoid touristy things when we travel. However, the kids were dead set on a gondola ride. Deanna and I thought it would be cheesy. It was, but we enjoyed it more than we thought.

The family with cheesy gondola dude.

Ever wonder what would happen if you needed Medical assistance? You would need a medical boat. It should speed you to Rampart hospital in record time.

Nice building with moorish design.

Inside the Doge's palace. Keith Quinton, in green listens to the tour guide.

To protect the state, there were several boxes erected around the city. If you saw someone do something, you could report them via these boxes. It cannot be anonymous and you better be sure they are found guilty. If they are found innocent, the accuser gets the fate the accused would have gotten.

The golden staircase in the Doge's palace.

This staircase is also in the Doge's palace. We were on a tour and the tour guide used a microphone while we used headphones to hear her. It kept the tour guides from screaming.

We continued our tour walking around the city. More canals and more boats.

What can brown do for you? I did not see any guys in brown shorts.

A land shot of the Rialto Bridge.

This the bridge of sighs. It may look better after renovations.

This is the old clock tower. It is actually digital.

We climbed to the top of the Basilica to take a picture of the outside of the Doge's palace.

All four kids are enjoying their gelato. This is the second scoop in two days!

Deanna is buying something for her dad at this authentic Italian shop.

The inside of the Basilica is very cool and very golden. We also heard some singers (a cappella), which I enjoyed.

One of the dinners came with Venetian masks. I liked the look.

Our dinner was on a rooftop.

Venice descends into night.

Deanna grabs a quick photo of the hotel courtyard. The influence of old Constantinople is evident.

We are heading home and we await our water taxi to take us to the airport.