Day 6 – Venice, Venice and more Venice (the tourist throngs cannot spoil this town)

We awoke to cloudy skies and a very decent hotel breakfast.  Even though it looked like rain, and did start to drizzle, the clouds were a welcome sight after so much unrelenting sun and heat.  We had a very ambitious day trying to fit in everything.  We started at a mask making shop called Papier Mache, but they weren’t ready for customers yet so we decided instead to meander the streets of Venice and head towards the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

We took every twist and turn imaginable and stopped in numerous glass stores and mask and costume shops in the girls’ never ending quest to find the perfect souvenir.  They each have 50 Euros of their own from their birthday gift from their Great Aunt.  Its not as fun shopping in Italy anymore now that dollar is so pathetically weak, but kids don’t understand currency conversion so to them its all the same.  I hopelessly tried to indoctrinate them into the art of haggling, but that was no use.  They can’t help but look at something and say, “It’s only 20 Euros and I have 50!”  Try getting a deal after that loud proclamation.

As we wound around Venice and tried to follow our map that is missing about 30% of the streets we came upon a store of our own – a Murano glass lighting store that carried an incredible selection of fixtures and art glass.  After six and a half years of having a hole in our bedroom ceiling because we couldn’t decide on a light fixture, we finally bought one.  Of all the things I’ve bought on my travels through the years it is the home stuff that I most love and still look at.  I’ve come to realize that clothes and shoes don’t stand the test for long, but something for your home really does stay with you long after your trip.

So, score one for the adults.  We made it across the Ponte Dell’Accademia after stopping for a quick lunch to go.  The Peggy Guggenheim Museum was really lovely, both as a home and as an art collection.  And being right on the water in a much less touristy area was a treat too.  We grabbed the vaporetto back the other way to the Rialto Bridge.  We crossed the bridge and made the mistake of walking through the schlock market, which at that point was mask, glass and Pinocchio overload.  Finally, after incredible whining and sheer exhaustion we had our gelato break.  This time really good gelato.

Refreshed and on a sugar high we convinced the girls to cross back over the Rialto to return to Papier Mache and see if they were now painting the masks.   We also promised a gondola ride, which I have to admit I resisted because of the insane price, but I guess its like a carriage ride in Central Park, if you are a tourist its one of those truly unique experiences you shouldn’t miss.   The gondola ride turned out to be really fun, and the girls so thoroughly enjoyed it that it was worth it.
We finally arrived at Papier Mache as the artist was finishing the gold leaf detail of a mask.  She proceeded to show the girls the molds and describe the technique of mask making to them.  Then she sat down and started painting the mask.  The girls were mesmerized.  They watched her paint and peppered her with questions about mask making for about a half hour.  It was a highlight of the day for sure.

After that we agreed that this day had been full enough.  Rest, shower, dinner, bed.  Really, what else could we do?
I have to say I was really surprised and happy that they held up so well all day.  I don’t think we stopped walking for more than 20 minutes all day long.  All that city living is paying off!

girls on ponte dell'accedemia venice
on the ponte del'accademia

Gelato Scoops of the Day: (in the Rialto)
Isabel:  Caramel and Stracciatella
Sophia: Stracciatella and Fragola
Me: Cioccolato and Cocco
Cor: Cioccolato and Caramel

gondola ride
gondola ride
mask making at papier mache
mask making at papier mache

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