My sister's recent email to family, regaling us with their last day in Venice:
Hi all, it's 2:41 am PST. It's nearing lunch in Venice. Obviously, I'm wide awake, and suffering from this thing they call jet lag. We ended our Venetian stay with a dreamy final afternoon, during which we meandered around from famous bar/restaurant to another (sometimes with aperitifs, sometimes with acqua pura), soaking up each magical second as it ticked away towards the inevitable return to reality. I enjoyed a glass of port in , a surprisingly small, bright, and evocative bar previously frequented by Hemingway and Bogart (separately, they weren't a couple of course). I thought it would be more of a tourist's cliche, but it actually seemed bright and relevant (and pricey, like all of Venice).
Then we strolled along the lagoon waterfront until we were back at San Marco Square, where we parked ourselves on a velvet cushioned marble bench against a column, with a small little antique table serving as a repository for an elegant silver tray of water, drinks, and the typical little bowl of chips (or olives) that comes with a table drink order in Venetian bars. The orchestra was playing a medley of music from The Sound of Music when we arrived, which happens to be the only musical I like. We lazed in the sun, enjoyed the music, people-watched, and ended up buying two little tumbler style glasses with The Florian's logo/crest etched on the side. The Caffe Florian has been open since before the United States was even an idea: it opened in December of 1720. How cool is that!
Finally, I gave in to the ultimate tourist activity and we went on a gondola ride. It just seemed like the right thing to do.
After not sleeping a wink (just me, Doug was snoring softly), we got up at 2 a.m. in order to shower and make our 3 a.m. vaporetto connection to the airport. From , we connected back to Amsterdam, where there was an unbelievable and anxiety-inducing mob-scene to try to get through the passport control to our gate. There had to be several thousand travelers in a big clot. Finally (DUH) they opened several more windows and we made it through in time to get to our gate and once again go through the security x-ray process. At this gate, every female passenger received a thorough pat-down. After this limb by limb examination, I felt like I'd lost the last of my innocence. Fortunately, I was too tired to care much about it.
From Amsterdam, it was a ten-hour haul to Seattle. I watched The Secret Life of Bees and Yes Man. I dozed a bit, but you know how airplane sleeping is. We amused ourselves by watching the three litle kids in the aisle to our right. As they boarded the plane, one of the boys (who seemed to be of sufficient age where such behavior would be shameful) was sobbing inconsolably about some lost item back at the gate. His parents encouraged him to get off the plane to go look for it, but they also told him he'd have to stay at the airport alone if he did that. We thought that was funny.
In Seattle, and we had to go through more customs/security/passport verification/x-ray/baggage navigation, etc. until we were finally at the gate. You'd think a two-hour layover would be ample time, but it's amazing how you can start wondering if you have enough time to make it once faced with all the screening processes. But as Doug said, it's nice to be back on familiar ground, where you can understand the language, know all the rules/customs/culture, so to speak (should we ....? is it considered rude to .....? how do you say....? are we supposed to be in line for this? etc.)
The same family boarded our connecting flight to San Francisco, only now it was the other boy who was crying. Must be a family tradition; but seriously...WHAT BIG BABIES they were! They must spend the majority of their school hours either stuffed in lockers or picking out turbo-wedgies. (Note by Oz Girl: I'm laughing out loud here... I think she should start her own blog... give me your opinion!)
We arrived home and it was a refreshing sight to see our stinky little dingo's furry face and wildly exuberant tail (see photo below). I was coming up on 24 hours of consciousness, with 20 of those hours in transit, but I couldn't stand the thought of leaving our luggage untouched and waiting for me (what's second to packing, as far as things I hate to do? UNPACK!!), so I dredged up the wispy remnants of my energy and unpacked before falling into the shower (20-hours travelling sure can leave a person gamy) and pouring myself into bed. Doug and Bleu were next in the shower, and by our entire reunited pack was shower-fresh and snoring softly. I loved Venice, and we really did have a happy and VERY memorable week there. I wish somebody would invent a device to capture the subtle (and some not-so-subtle!) smells and atmosphere, and well, FEEL of a place, but as it is, all I have are about 300 photos. My next project will be to create an online album to share with you guys (not all 300 pictures, no worries!)
WHAT?! Only 300 photos for the entire trip? I'd say she's a rank amateur!! LOL
Heck, I took 385 photos last night during a storm just trying to catch some lightning. I didn't catch any "jagged" lightning hits, but I did manage some photos of flash lightning, where it just lights up the whole landscape, or part of it. Click here to see.