Judy, Sarah and Riley's Italy trip 2018 travel blog

Sunset over the water

Bridge of Sighs

Our gondola ride

Breakfast mushrooms before

Breakfast mushrooms after

Beautiful buildings

We have a walking organised for today however it doesn't start until 4:30 so we decided to have a lazy morning. I popped to the supermarket to get the makings for pasta sauce to have when we return from the tour. We still had half the packet of pasta we bought on the farm so didn't need to buy pasta. Both kids decided mushrooms for breakfast might be nice so I bought extras...some for pasta, some for breakfast. I cooked the pasta sauce so we could dish up dinner fairly quickly when we returned from the tour. Brekkie over, we sent off to find a hardware store. Riley lost a screw out of his suitcase handle so only one side is still attached. Not a huge drama on a smooth path however walking around the old cities is not a smooth walk. I was hoping it would be as easy as putting a new screw in and all would be well. I removed the screw from the other handle and we set off to find a hardware store. The first one Google maps sent us to wasn't there...damn! Take 2 and we finished up at what appeared to be an art supply store. I asked the shopkeeper and she sent us around the corner and Whoo hoo, there was a hardware store. The shopkeeper couldn't find a matching screw however I took a couple that I thought might do the job and a PHILLIPS head screwdriver. Then, a couple of shops away, there was another hardware store. Same story however I took one from this shop...the man wouldn't let me pay (they cost about 5 cents each). Step 1 in suitcase repair complete.

It turned out we were pretty close to home so we had lunch at one of the restaurants recommended by our host. Sarah and I shared a delicious pizza and Riley had spaghetti with king prawns and saffron except without the saffron. The chef wasn't comfortable to guarantee the saffron wasn't contaminated by pistachio or cashew.

After lunch we went to the canal near our apartment and went for a gondola ride. The ride is €80, a crazy amount of money for a 30 minute ride however we really enjoyed it. It's much quieter where we are staying in the Castello area so no log jams of boats and no hassles from the gondolier. He was very pleasant and gave us some interesting information. There's 112 islands in Venice and 400 bridges. Every time you cross a bridge, you go to a different island. 55,000 people live in Venice, 80,000 visit it every day.

We had a bit of a rest before setting off to the meeting point for the tour. Riley thought we'd done enough walking for a walking tour before we reached the meeting point so thought we should call it a day. No such luck. We met our tour guide and set off to see the historical sites of Venice. We visited St Marks Square, talked about the clock in the square and how it's 600 years old, the Doges Palace, Bridge of Sighs and a number of other attractions and points of interest. We had a bit of excitement because the police took our guide away, apparently to check if he was a legitimate guide. We got to spend time looking at St Mark's while waiting for him to return. Outside the Doges Palace, there is a column that condemned people were given the opportunity to circuit, with their backs to the column and hands held in front. If they were able to do a 360 degree circuit, they would be pardoned. No one has ever managed to do it. Riley was itching to give it a go however was a bit shy to try in front of the group.

Our guide offered us some advice about making sure we buy local food, not tourist food. If the menu has pictures, it's for tourists, if the menu is in multiple languages, it's for tourists, if there's someone outside spruking for business, it's for tourists. Well watch out for those pointers.

Today is the first time I've worn a jacket since we came away. The air is a bit fresh even though the sun is shining. We have had wonderful weather for the whole trip.

The tour finished at 7, in the square just down the road from our apartment which was fortunate. We were able to zip home and cook the pasta for dinner. I was happy I'd prepared it in the morning.

Riley and I did a supermarket run after dinner so the kids could have a chocolate fix before they went to bed.

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