Well, we arrived in Venice and were surprised at busy the roads were. Luckily, the speed limit is 130km/h but somehow the trains next to us made it look as if were standing still. They must have been travelling at 200km/h, at least. Man, were they flying! Our little apartment was in a town just west of Venice called Padua. It was so nice to be in Italy. It just feels like home for some reason. Eleonora, our host, showed us the ins and outs of everything we needed to know. We were totally exhausted, and hungry, so off to the grocery store we went. Gee, I wonder what an Italian Family should have for dinner their first night in Italy? Yep, you guessed it......pasta, yeah! Made by the native nonna, of course! We had pasta con pancetta e panna (cubed bacon and cream).
The wine was an absolutely necessary item, for medicinal purposes. Isabelle had a bath and Alexandre had his first experience using a bidet. He couldn't stop laughing at the thought of dipping his "behind" into a mini butt-bath. Anyway, we all slept like logs and were off to visit the 170 little islands known as Venice. Since the train was much faster, we decided to take a bus, then train to Venice in order to avoid any confusion with parking and traffic. The trip was quick and smooth. What a fascinating city! We walked, and walked, and walked. The kids were amazing, walking 6 hours all over Venice on this day. Of course, we had to visit La Piazza San Marco, tour the narrow streets and sample the gelato. We found ourselves lost in a maze of
alleys, flanked by old stone buildings and structures that looked as if they would crumple with the slightest touch. Rusted wrought iron railings and stone bridges were everywhere and the stale scent of seawater lingered in the air at every turn. We stopped for lunch, filled our bellies and headed out for a continued adventure that was unknown to us all. As the day wore on, the sun came out of hiding and warmed us to the core. All of the tourists were peeling off layers trying to stay cool. There was only one solution to the problem of the ever-increasing heat around us: a gondola ride! We met Giorgio, a nice man who offered to take us through the watery streets of Venice (for a fee, of course). It was a welcome rest from the walking and it was a highlight of the day for all of us. As we drifted quitly along the canals of this ancient city we were struck by the age of the buildings. They we so old, and weathered by the strain of time. The edges of the stones and bricks had become rounded and were no longer rectangular. Everything metallic had corroded and become discoloured from years of exposure to wind, rain and seawater. It was all so unique and stunningly beautiful. After Giorgio dropped us off, we thanked him and headed back the through the maze of narrow Venetian streets. Alexandre and Isabelle each bought a carnival mask before leaving and we headed back to the apartment. By the time we arrived home, we were all thoroughly exhausted. Janik ran to the grocery store to pick up some dinner for us to prepare and again, we ate well and crashed for the night dreaming of Italian sunshine, and watery canals winding through an ancient world. Tomorrow we leave for nonna's home town of Guardialfiera. Can’t wait!