Saturday, August 3, 2013

Our "Best of Venice" morning! Monday, June 17th

Today is our full day in Venice! On our own! I mentioned that after our afternoon yesterday, we were feeling pretty confident, so would that continue today? We actually were starting to get the hang of this whole European travel thing I think! 

We got up and ate breakfast at the hotel. It was served in the courtyard. I had some pastries and coffee. I really enjoy this European version of breakfast!  Alex, not so much - where are the Eggo's, he wanted to know?

We were to meet at the front of the Doge’s Palace at 8:45. We had a full day tour with Dark Rome Tours for both the Secret Itineraries as well as the “Best of Venice”. We’d have a two hour break between the two for lunch. We decided to take advantage of the morning and walk to our meeting spot rather than take the Vaparetto. Megan was however not happy about this. Why would we walk nearly a mile, in the heat at what she considered to be such an early time of day! Unfortunately it made for a long and cranky walk – the whining! Keith and Alex however had become familiar with the winding walkways and bridges and took off on their own and never heard a peep from her. They enjoyed their what seemed to be a sprint, to the Palace! 

We finally arrived, got some water since it was already hot, and we found our guide! I’ll mention here that at some point over the past couple of days, Alex has become more and more European! He now much prefers Acqua with gas! The boy is now a fizzy water drinker. When did this happen? Even now at home, he’s got to have his fizzy water!  We should have shipped home cases of it!  It's far too expensive here!!

Anyway, that aside…we were on what I’d call a semi-private tour and our morning tour was the Doge’s Palace Secret Itinerary. This tour we’d have the headphones so we could hear our guide. As I mentioned, the tour was officially with Dark Rome, but once we went into the Palace, we were transferred to a guide who works at the Palace itself. There were about 15 people in our group. Our guide was very, very good. It was a very hot day and the rooms in the secret part of the palace are not air conditioned. So the fact that she held the attention of most of the group in that heat is a testament to her story telling abilities! 

We started in the main courtyard, which you can only see from the inside of the Palace and she told us the history of the Palace and gave us many details of who the Doge’s were and how they lived.

Then we went into the Palace itself. You could tell this was one ornate place! Even going up the stairs!

We went into the secret rooms and learned about what they were used for. This was all very interesting. We learned all about Casanova and his time in the prison and his escape. This was probably the most interesting part of the tour. Of course no cameras were allowed most places inside the Doge's Palace, especially in the secret areas.

After this area we went to the main parts of the palace and spent a good amount of time looking at HUGE pieces of art. I have to say though by this time much of what our guide said was lost on me, and definitely lost on the kids. I think it was the heat and the length of time standing. I really wanted to enjoy learning about the paintings, but I was fading fast! Now, as much as I wanted to enjoy this part, andI was definitely interested in what we were seeing at least I was trying to focus! But, Keith, Alex and Megan were absolutely miserable by this point! They were hot and they were bored and most of all they were tired. We were ten days into touring and other than the prisons and torture area, they didn’t care about this part of the tour! Ok – make a note of this mom! We needed Gelato fast! We needed air, we needed outside!

View from the window of one of the rooms in the palace....they just wanted to feel the breeze, and get out there!

Now, the tour was beginning to wrap up, and I will say that the Palace was huge, it was beautiful and I’m sure it had some fascinating art work! There were secret passages and there was so much gold!

But now we got to walk across the Bridge of Sighs and see more prison cells.

This is the walk over the Bridge of Sighs, from the inside! 

This is the view looking out the "windows" from one side to the other side to the prisons.

This was more like it! Everyone perked right up!

What an ornate, beautiful Palace!

We thanked our guide, who really did a fantastic job!  And we set out to find a place for lunch before we would start our afternoon tour of Venice!

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