• Italy 4: Pisa and Venice

    Sunday, November 16, 2008

    I have a few days to catch up on, as we have been so busy taking in the wonders of this country, it just did not seem right to sit behind a computer! Thursday morning had us heading in the direction of one of Marion’s top things to see in the world! Here is her list in right order.

    #1: Great Wall of China
    #2: Leaning Tower of Pisa
    #3: Venice
    #4: Eiffel Tower
    #5: Mount Kilaminjoro
    #6: Disney Land

    Well you can imagine the thrill for her to see this tilting tower of Pisa! We have heard from other travellers that it is ‘just a leaning tower’ but let me debunk that notion as it is an incredible leaning tower! It is amazing to see just how shear the tilt is and to try to grasp how old this tower is. Realising the great Galileo himself was their experimenting. There are three buildings on this sight and all three are tilting in different directions, it is quite the sight! Marion kept walking around the tower asking why this and why that? Most of her questions I could not answer so off to her smart engineer/history buff father she trotted to receive the intellectual answers she needed ahhh the mind of a four year old! I must say it is nice to have such a ‘smoking hot’ ‘history smart’ tour guide that I get to kiss all over Italy! Friday brought about the end of our stay at the villa. Refreshed and relaxed we had thankful hearts for the quiet and beauty that wrapped itself around us all week. Roger and I both commented on the healing power of Gods living art displayed through nature.

    My handsome tour guide then drove us up to the magical city of Venice. We checked into a charming hotel just around the corner and over a bridge from Saint Marks square. We then wandered around finding ‘just the right place' to eat dinner. Small bands played classical music throughout the city and little white lights filled the square and walkways with romance and history. The following morning we enjoyed a walk through the palace and explored the windy back roadways of the city. The whole city was built on an island of sand. A thousand years ago the fastest way of transportation was boating so the roads were built as canals, the water going right up to the front doors of a house. Now with the combination of time and rising sea levels the city is sinking. The city floods due to the tide. So when we emerged from the palace every person walking the city was jammed onto these make shift, above water, sidewalks! Venice is rich with history, once the wealthiest city in Europe its art and political and religious significance are aired obviously throughout the city. The home of Vivaldi, Mozart and Lord Byron along with many others (like the rebel Casanova.) As we were exploring the back ways of the city we came across this wonderful little square with a tasty smelling bistro, when something smells that good you must check it out. In the square was a cute little church. We poked our heads in and were greeted with Vivaldi’s music playing; we had stumbled upon the oldest church in Venice and the very church that Antoine Vavaldi was baptised in. It gave me chills just thinking my favourite musical artist was in this very building!

    In the afternoon we walked through Saint Marks cathedral, a grand old church. We then took a magical gondola ride just as dusk was settling around the city. Mom said that she had a moment on the gondola where she was overwhelmed because never in her life did she ever think she would be taking a gondola ride at dusk in magical Venice. I think she spoke for each of us. Dad and Mom offered to baby-sit that evening so Roger and I could go on a date……Of course we said yes! My love bought me roses as we walked and then we sat, sipping a warm drink in the grand square being captured under the spell of the music, lights, and magic of Venice! Oh Venice! Please do not sink!

    We are now in Florence where Roger is taking a course with General Electric. We said good-bye for just a few days to Dad and Mom as they headed south for their anniversary week! I hope they are having a very romantic time but we are sure missing them. Davina is walking around saying “bampa” at every corner! Marion even said to me today with a pout lip, that it is not as fun having gelatto without Grandpa and Grandma.

    So far Florence has been relaxing. We are staying in an amazing hotel a block from the Duomo and centre square. But it has been raining so it is a bit hard getting around with the girls. Today I managed in-spite of the rain to do some wonderful European shopping and what delightful useless to Africa leather boots I got for Davina. They are ever so sweet and I could not pass them up!

    Tonight We are going to the world famous Uffizi Art Gallery and tomorrow we go to see Michaelangelo’s sculpture ‘The David”. I must go and put on some rouge for my tour guide will soon be here to fetch me!

    Breakfast before heading out for the day!

    My gorgeous wife!!!

    Look what we found at the end of the rainbow!

    The lesser known "leaning babtistry of Pisa" on the left.

    We arrived in Venice at night time. This is St. Mark's square at the heart of the city.

    Looking out of the "bridge of sighs".

    To see how high the water level rose was absolutley unbelievable. The entire main piazza of Venice was under water. Tourists scrambled to get up on these make shift walkways. I had no idea it was this bad. Venice is truly sinking.

    As the water levels rose Venetians simply moved to the second floor.

    The best part about Venice was just wandering through the streets...dead ends are common though!

    On the Rialto Bridge

    Rialto Bridge from the tronchetta (ferry).

    Dogge's Palace.

    St. Mark's Square.

    Our gondola ride!

    Music, coffee and cake in the square.

    Bye-bye Venice.