In the comments we mentioned that we are on holiday right now, and what a special holiday this has been. It is a little dream come true: Meeting up with Leadfoot and her daughter Bella on their big European journey, and spending almost two full days with them in the most beautiful spot we could think of: Venice!
Naturally, we would like to give you all a really good picture of what happened during these two days, to let you all take part in this experience. Speaking about pictures, I took hundreds of them, much to the occasional dismay of Kathleen ("Nobody here takes as many pictures as you!"), but our readers can now benefit from this (I secretly aspire to be a photographer, which will always be an unfulfilled dream, and Kathleen now has to suffer the consequences...).
Kathleen and I did not live in a hotel, but in a little Venetian apartment, which we rented for a few days in order to get the real "Venetian experience." We both have been in Venice before and love the city. You want to return to this place as often as possible, it feels like a surreal beautiful dream.
We had great weather during these days, it was very hot, and even in the evenings it did not really cool down. Glad we had a fan in our "real" non-air conditioned Venetian apartment, which was also very popular with the mosquitoes! ;-)
So let's take a look! Here is my selection for you. You can blow up all the pictures to full-size, CLICK ON ALL PICTURES TO ENLARGE:
The building in the following three pictures looks like a little palace, but it is in fact a hospital, founded by wealthy citizens as a charitable contribution hundreds of years ago: SS. Giovanni e Paolo, right next to the famous church.
Next, some "random" pictures:
Here they are for the first time - our very own Leadfoot and her sweet and bright little daughter Bella! Going in the direction of Fondamenta Nuove, the "vaparetto" (water-bus) station.
Pictured from Fondamenta Nuove station: A look at "Cemetery Island":
One of the canals which are close by:
Bella would have loved to play football with the Italian kids, but they were apparently not prepared to let a "tourist" join them. :-)
More views from our walk with Leadfoot and Bella:
Leadfoot has of course still the pictures of Levi in LA stored in her phone! She would never delete them... :-)
View from Rialto Bridge:
Bella on Rialto Bridge:
An unforgettable ride with a water-taxi through the whole Canal Grande - talk about cool (water-)taxi drivers:
Venice by night is always stunning, and even more surreal:
We had a full moon:
This was the end of the first day. It felt like a long day, it was exciting and intense.
On the second day, we visited the Islands Burano and Murano.
I think Leadfoot said something about Sarah Palin to Bella at this moment:
Bella told me that she would say to Sarah that she is "mean" if she ever met her. Well, hopefully such a meeting will never happen - as it could seriously disturb poor Sarah to see a little girl telling her the truth!
Burano is the island of the lacemakers - see the following pictures:
The tower of the church in Burano is leaning left in such a frightful way that not just Republicans would be alarmed... ;-)
Bella loved this cat:
Off to the next island: Murano, the famous island of glass-making!
Historical note: In 1291, all the glassmakers in Venice were forced to move to Murano due to the risk of fires. Even today, beautiful glass is being made in Murano, often very exquisite and costly.
In Murano, Bella demonstrated how the Paparazzi in LA go about their job:
An island filled with beautiful glass:
On the way back: View on Piazza San Marco and the Doge's Palace.
There are not just cats, but also very cute dogs living in Venice...I should really get an award for the next picture (I actually made a whole set) - look at the reflection in the glass door! ;-)
A picture from our flat - note the old wooden beams at the ceiling. This house was hundreds of years old.
At the end, a special recommendation: In Murano, we visited one of the most exclusive companies for glass making, Nason & Moretti, who have their factory on the island which was founded nearly a hundred years ago. Their award-winning designs go back decades. We could only afford a little souvenir and a present for my mom, but were lucky to receive a copy of the full large catalogue. NOTE: I linked to their website, but they have currently a script problem which activates some virus scanners. I will try to find an alternative link.
These cups are an award-winning design from 1955, still produced today:
These are our impressions from the days in Venice with Leadfoot and Bella, I hope you enjoyed them!
We promised Leadfoot and Bella to visit LA next year, and hopefully we will be able to keep our promise.
Especially if you have not visited Venice yet, but have the means to do so, do not hesitate! A beautiful, unforgettable city is waiting to be discovered.
I am glad that you like the pictures, thank you all very much for your kind words.
What about a little bonus? By the way, the red flag with the "winged lion" which you can see flying from a large house in one of the pictures above is the flag of the Republic of Venice, a rich and powerful state which existed for more than one-thousand years and had several valuable European colonies in its possession, for example Crete, parts of Dalmatia, other parts of Greece and Cyprus (at different times). Like so many other empires, the Republic of Venice financially exhausted itself after in had been involved in several long and costly wars, especially in the 17th and early 18th century. After a steady decline, the last doge abdicated in 1796 and the end of the Republic was declared.
Kathleen and I are not in Venice anymore, but staying at a lovely farmhouse which has been converted to modern (and thankfully climatized) holiday apartments. Best of all, this estate has a very large swimming pool, where the current scorching Italian heat is much more bearable. Pictures:
I hope that you will also enjoy my "bonus pictures" from Venice.
The old lock from our apartment - I thought it was very beautiful:
Murano again - you can get glass also in black & white, who knew:
Another shot from Nason & Moretti - the glasses at the front have gold dust included, they change the color with different temperatures. Sounds a bit decadent, I know, but these pieces are indeed very stylish.
A better shot of the "left-leaning" church in Burano - I told you it looks really alarming! ;-)
Lovely Burano again:
Another one from the series "Bathing Venetian dog with special reflections in the background":
From the comments I saw that many of you particularly liked the night pictures - here are two shots which I took after Kathleen and I arrived at night on the first day. Venice looks eerie at night, and in the second picture you can see the women's faces on the outside, which gives the house a "spooky" appearance:
More from the boat ride at night:
View of the full moon:
Finally: Another sweet shot of Bella standing on Rialto Bridge:
But that's now it, and in case you wonder which camera I used, I (again) cannot recommended the magnificent Canon S95 highly enough, a pocket camera which makes great pictures under almost all lighting conditions, which is rugged and also very fast, so that you rarely miss a shot. Even though a follow-up model, the Canon S100, has been brought on the market, the Canon S95 is still particularly popular and received rave reviews all around. No, I am still not getting paid by Canon. ;-)
Have a great Sunday evening, everyone! :-)