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Gondola Mask

Ivan and I slept 10 hours and woke up feeling refreshed on August 24, 2012.  Our room at Airbnb included breakfast for free.  Ivan and I had saltine crackers, cereal, a peach and yogurt.  Lil Dave had two bananas. 

We got the bus and then the vaporetto (water bus) to the island of Venice.  We rushed to meet up with Jane for Row Venice.  Today, we would be able to drive a gondola!!

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How freaking cool.  I knew Ivan would be better at this since it took me awhile to be alright at kayaking.  Ivan seems to pick up things a lot quicker than me in some things.  Ivan was up first.  Jane steered in the back while Ivan was in the front.  Jane told him to do the rowing.  It seemed easy, but I didn’t think it would be easy once I got to do it.  Jane is an Australian lady who has lived in Venice for 22 years – she’s married to an Italian. 

It was my turn to try it.  I wasn’t as good.  I felt a bit ganged up on since Jane and Ivan were telling me what to do.. and I was a bit confused.  I guess I wasn’t very confident about doing it since I thought I wouldn’t be good at it for some reason.  I was getting a hang of it though.

The views were beautiful with all the buildings with paint falling off the building and the lovely canals.

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Jane told us that up to the 1970’s deliveries were done via gondola. Not many locals take gondolas since they are expensive to take. Some people have their own gondolas or boats. It’s 2000 Euros a year to have a spot at the marina. Jane doesn’t use her gondola much – mostly for the tours since it’s easy to walk somewhere then get the gondola ready and boat there. The scenery was quite lovely.

We rowed out to the open ocean.  Jane asked if I wanted to steer in the back.  I wasn’t too confident, so I let Ivan go first.  Jane let me row in front while she was telling Ivan what to do.  Ivan kind of seemed to be getting the hang of it. 

I got to try the steering next.  It was pretty hard.. I think I was better at the rowing in the front.

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Ivan went to steer again in the front while I was in the front.  We had to head to a certain point Jane said.. but Ivan was making us go in a circle.  Eventually, we started heading in the right direction.

Jane told us that 2 people have proposed to their girlfriend on the gondola ride.  We had an awesome time rowing in the gondola.  Ivan was excited that he got to wear the gondolier hat.  Ivan got to go in front again while Jane did the steering in the back. 

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He even sang us a little tune.  This is a great thing to do.. I’m sure it’s lovely riding in a gondola, but rowing it is EVEN better!!

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Lil Dave wanted to try the rowing, but he was way too small for it.  Unfortunately, there aren’t any small monkey gondolas – I’d love to see that.. it’d be soo cute.  Jane liked taking pictures with Lil Dave.. although, she didn’t want to take off her glasses – maybe she’s hiding from the mob or something?

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Ivan, Lil Dave and I were so hungry.  Jane recommended a restaurant for us for civvitechhia?? (look in old blog), but it was closed for lunch.  So, we found a nice place that looked good.  Ivan and I shared a huge plate of vegetables and another plate of seafood. 

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Lil Dave went for a banana spaghetti.  The food was delicious and REALLY filled us up.  We had a spritz which is a local Venetian drink – a bit bitter… better with Aperol which is sweeter than the Campari which can be really bitter.

A short time later, we walked to Grom which is a great sorbet place in Italy.  Ivan had a dark chocolate sorbet, pistachio and mango in a cup while I had dark chocolate, fig and raspberry.  I’ll let you guess what flavors Lil Dave got.  Can you guess it?  Our favorites were the raspberry and the dark chocolate sorbet.  The dark chocolate had little bits of chocolate in it.

It’s so lovely walking around Venice – it’s a very picturesque city.

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It’s also nice to do some window shopping.  We checked out the Venetian masks stores and Murano glass stores filled with figures and jewelry.

One store had great masks, but they told me No Pictures.. but I was able to get in 3 shots. 

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Lil Dave was happy that he found a monkey mask.. but unfortunately the banana to Euro ratio isn’t very good now, so he wasn’t able to buy it.

We went to the mask place where the masks from the movie “Eyes Wide Shut” were created.  Ivan and I signed up for their Venetian mask making class for Monday.  The Venetian masks are beautiful in Venice and they’re not that pricey. 

We went to check out The Original Venice Pub Crawl and met the guide named Allen who’s Russian.  Unfortunately, nobody showed up which we thought was odd since it was a Friday night.  He thought it was because the barman said that a few girls wanted to do the pub tour but there was an opera on.  I doubt backpackers are going to the opera instead of a pub crawl. I guess it’s just slow or their advertising is really bad. 

It was time for dinner.  We went to eat at Ristorante S. Stefano.  Ivan and I shared a good tuna and onion pizza and a spaghetti with tomato and basil.  Lil Dave got the banana fettuccine. 

We took the vaporetto (the way  to say water bus in Italian – which sounds really cool!) and then the bus back to the apartment.

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Venice via Newcastle

Ivan, Lil Dave and I had to wake up early at 9:30 am on August 23, 2012. 

We packed up which took quite a while as all of our stuff was spread around the room as if an explosion had gone off in our suitcase.

So by 11am or so we were done. I realised that I had way too much stuff-before I had about 10kg in my bag but now I’ve got 13kg and that is just way too much for a little girl like me. Before we go to South America, Ivan’s going to get rid of a whole bunch of his smarter clothes and I’m going to get rid of some clothes as we are not going to need these while overlanding on the Oasis truck.

We got the train to Newcastle from the main Edinburgh train station. The train took an hour and an half and the journey flew by with the help of a tasty crayfish and noodles salad, and a couple of episodes of weeds and beaver falls on the laptop.

Once in Newcastle, it was another metro ride that then took us to the Newcastle airport. We were flying from here to Venice rather than from Edinburgh as it was much cheaper. The line for check-in was deserted and security was pretty fast as well – always the great thing about small airports I guess!

The flight was pretty uneventful…I just worked on the blog and read a bit of my book. Once we arrived and had got our luggage we headed towards the boat station to get our boat into the centre of Venice. Its always nice to get off a plane and onto a boat rather than a bus or taxi isn’t it!

We were staying on the Lido rather than the main island of Venice and luckily the boat we were on took us right there. A short taxi ride then took us to the Airbnb place Ivan had booked for us. We were greeted by a lovely Italian lady called Gabrielle who was quite the character and fun to talk with. We were staying in a room in her house along with her and another lodger. She recommended a local Italian restaurant, and due to the fact that we were pretty hungry , we ignored Gabrielle’s requests for us to ‘relax and maybe take a shower ‘ (in fact she was very insistent that we SHOULD take a shower – did we smell or something?), and headed to the local restaurant nearby called Ristorante Tizano.  The tuna and onion pizza, cod dish (which was creamy) and a pasta with olive oil, garlic and chili.  I don’t know how they make pasta so simple, but it tastes delicious.  The pizza was amazing and the cod dish was really good. 

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The cod looks like a penis and balls though haha… I think the chef has a sense of humor.

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