Chapter Twenty Six – The Saga Concludes

Central Europe 2008: From The Czech Republic to Poland to Austria to Croatia to Slovenia to Italy

VENICE 14 DINNERChapter Twenty Six – The Saga Concludes

Days Twenty Eight & Twenty Nine – Some Like It Not (Not Us), A Day At The Opera (House), Sighs Matters, Stoppa The Grappa, The Last Supper, I Shutter To Think Where His Camera Went And Arrivederci Venezia 

Once we dragged our tired bodies out of bed, we knew that this day was going to be a scorcher.  It was so hot that I limited myself to two espressos and one cappuccino on the La Calcina breakfast deck.  My caffeine intake was reaching dangerous levels and coupled with heat, I decided that was the prudent route to take.

Tracy had decided the gift du jour for many of our friends this Christmas would be beautiful wine stoppers made from Venetian glass.  After breakfast, we went to a nearby shop that we had seen near our hotel and bought about 15 of them.

DSC05187After depositing them back in our room, we decided to beat the heat by just  hopping on and off the Vaporetto for a while.  I was going to get my money’s worth out of that ticket yet!

DSC05192We were going to meet Kim and Mary about noon and visit the Teatro La Fenice.  It was lucky we picked this time, because it was only open from 12 until 2 on this day for a reason we could not figure out.

VENICE 13 RIALTOWe decided to purchase the audio guide, which I would recommend.  It gave a detailed look into its history.  It had burned down in 1836 and again in 1996.  Although some critics say the place looks too new, it really is something to behold.  It also kept us out of the heat for about 90 minutes.

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Kim and Mary then departed to go shopping and got a couple of cool, colorful photos, while Tracy and I walked down to a little restaurant by the name of Vino Vino.

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Due to the fact that I had ordered inordinate amounts of vino during the trip, this seemed like an appropriate place to have our final lunch.

DSC05148Shockingly I had another pasta dish.  Tracy and I toasted the beauty of Venice (and I’m sure we said a little toast for Cupid, too) with a glass of cold Prosecco.  T he food here was good, and true to its name, there are many choices of vino vino to drink drink, which we did.

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To beat the heat, we walked over to the Palazzo Ducale and took the Doges Palace Tour.  I think it’s the third time we have done this, but one good thing about getting older is how much you forget.  I’m sure we’ll visit again in about ten years, take the tour and it will all seem new to us again.  It was then over the Bridge of Sighs to see the prison cells, and soon we were back out in the Venetian inferno (Where’s Dante when you need him?).

DSC05207“Café Corretto” Tracy asked?  Amazingly I said no to grappa on this afternoon.  I knew it must almost be time to head home. We said goodbye to a little dog we saw on a boat and headed back to our Venice home .

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We took one last daytime look out of our window at La Calcina.

DSC05155On our final night, Kim and Mary generously took us out to dinner at the Calcina’s La Piscina restaurant to thank us for planning this long journey.

VENICE 6Although La Piscina does not have the greatest food in Venice, I wanted to dine here because I could think of no better spot to have our final meal on a candlelit patio watching the moon slowly rise over the canal.

DSC05233The four of us toasted (yes, we do a hell of a lot of toasting) for the umpteenth time our fantastic fortune in being able to travel to these spectacular spots on earth.

VENICE 14 DINNERI don’t know how much wine we consumed, but I am sure it was more than our fair share.  It was then time to take one last walk around Venice.

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Since this was our fourth visit here, I don’t know when or if I will ever return.

DSC05110Surely, however, I have enough memories for a lifetime here, but I “never say never” when it comes to returning to any place I visit (ok, Aix-en-Provence is probably a “never”).

VENICE 24The four of us walked around Dorsoduro for a final time and came upon a restaurant that we had not seen on our previous visit.  It, too, was located on the canal, so maybe I will have to come back and give it a try.

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The four of us just walked slowly savoring our last hour, but finally it was time to return to our rooms for the final pack.  Both couples had early flights, and we had reservations on the water taxi that would pick us up at 4:30 a.m.

VENICE 24 CANAL NIGHT Mary called our room at 4 o’clock to make sure I wasn’t still drinking (well maybe to just make sure we were awake).  We quietly carried our luggage down the stairs to the La Calcina lobby, where the man behind the desk made us espressos and cappuccinos.

DSC05248This was our second visit to La Calcina, and just like the first time, we were very impressed.  From the staff to the restaurant to the Singing Gondoliers, we once again enjoyed our stay here very much.  Dorsoduro is a good spot to stay in you want to not feel inundated by the crowds of Venice.

It was about a half hour trip by water taxi to the airport, and it’s fun to travel the canals so early in the morning.  It does give Venice an even more magical feel.

We bid arrivederci to Kim and Mary and found our airline to go home.  As always, the four of us had a wonderful time together, and we always get along great.  God knows, four weeks with me can get a little crazy.  Just ask Tracy.

DSC04723While in waiting in line for our plane, we chatted with a woman and her son from Washington D.C., whose husband was nowhere to be found.  She then told us he was on the phone with their rental car agency.  Sadly, when they dropped off the car, she thought he had the camera, and he thought she had the camera.  Ouch!

When he met up with us waiting in line, he said no camera had been found.  Three weeks of photos were now gone.

The last we saw of them was in Madrid where we changed planes.  He was going to get on the phone again with the rental company to see if they had found the camera.  They were not very confident.  I didn’t want to tell him that between the four of us we had taken nearly 2,000 pictures (none lost).

We had to change planes once more in Chicago (frequent mileage customers equals frequent stops).  I got on the phone with our friend Dan (whose camera is still resting comfortably at the bottom of a canal from their 2005 trip).  I asked him what was new, and he said, “Nothing, except that gas was five bucks a gallon.” I laughed, only to find out on our way home from the airport that he wasn’t joking.

DSC04763.JPG - Version 2 It had been quite a trip, exploring so many areas of the world we had never visited before.  Each destination we visited holds special memories for all of us.

DSC04662I still have Buza Bar flashbacks at least three times a week.  From Prague to Český Krumlov to Karków to Dubrovnik to Plitvice National Park to Ljubljana to Lake Bled to Rovinj to Venice, we loved it all and everything in between (ok, the Lipizzaners maybe not so much). It had been the trip of a lifetime (or at least until the next one).

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 Enjoy The Journey!  Attitude Is Everything!

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