Ok, I will admit to procrastinating writing this blog entry. Yes, it was our first morning waking up in Venice- but it was also the last full day we would have on this amazing adventure.
The breakfast buffet (which is included- as have all of our breakfasts on this adventure have been) at the Hilton Molino Stucky is HUGE with clever Nutella product placement as well (one of the owners also owns Nutella). I was delicious and a great way to start the day. We sat with another adventurer, Johanna, and her daughter, Sara- it was nice to get to know them a little bit more during breakfast as well. We learned Sara is an artist and saw some of her amazing sketches- Italy is an artist’s playground with all of the priceless works and inspiration surrounding you. What an amazing trip for her and her mom to share! Mike and I both studied art extensively in high school and college, so it was really nice to be able to talk to her about everything they had seen and done during their free time as well.
After breakfast, we met everyone in the lobby then it was off to the boat launch to meet Marina for our tour of the Doge’s Palace (which was closed and under heavy renovations when we were here in 1998, this trip the outside of the Basilica is undergoing restoration- it is always something!).
The palace, as it’s name suggests, was once the residence of the Doge, the supreme authority of the Republic of Venice. It opened as a museum in 1923.
Again, we bypassed the lines and were led right inside the expansive courtyard…
Everything was huge and intricately detailed. Certainly overwhelming. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it- this space far surpassed any and all of my expectations.
Marina led us inside, and the intricate detail continued…
The Grand Chamber Council room is enormous. This is where the rulers of Venice (up to 1,000 people) would meet overlooking the water. Here you will also find the Venetian artist ,Tintoretto’s, “Paradise” which was completed in 1577.
In 1602, a bridge was built to connect the Palace (where you will find court rooms, interrogation rooms, etc) to the prison. You may know this bridge as the infamous limestone Bridge of Sighs. Legend has it, prisoners passing across it sighed for their lost freedom and their final view of Venice through the barred windows. We were given the opportunity to walk across the Bridge…
The prison cells are still an ominous place, and surprisingly well kept.
We walked back across the Bridge for another look and then arrived back to the courtyard of the Palace. Here Mike and Marco tried to stump a few of us as we tried to figure out the scavenger hunt game Junior Adventures would have been taken if they took the trip (they are given a booklet filled with clues and at the answers come together to answer another puzzle) .
From here we walked to Tragicomica.
This store was a wonderland of masks! Masks of every color, shape, and size you can imagine.
After a tour and a brief lesson how to create a masks- we were led outside to pick our blank masks and then to the workshop to create our own!
After mask making, we were left on our own to explore Venice. Mike and I were on a mission to find a small (but indoor and air conditioned because it was incredibly hot), local place for lunch. We found that in Da Toto. We ordered calamari, pizza, and lasagna. It was delicious!
We decided to head back to our hotel, it was incredibly hot outside and the cruise ship passengers were now taking over Saint Mark’s Square. We still needed to pack, but the view from our room and a bottle of wine became a pretty big distraction…
Before we knew it, it was time to board The Jolly Roger for a dinner cruise around the Adriatic coast and Venetian lagoon at sunset. It was an incredible evening of great food, drinks, friends, and fun. The sunset was priceless as was watching everyone do the YMCA on board!
After our dinner cruise was over, Mike, Bill, Tracy, and I decided we wanted to end our adventure in Saint Marks Square- sipping a cocktail while listening to the musicians who play there every night. As we were seated, they started to play…
And then by our request…
Can you even dream of having a better day in Venice?!?!