Tuesday, September 14, 2010


After saying our good-byes to Cynthia and Grayson Dantzic, we packed, headed to Houston and picked up our grandson, Dane. Then via Air France, with a stop in Paris, to Venice where we joined our L.A. based grandson, Wyn, and boarded the Aegean Odysssey. We looked forward to 16 days with these bright handsome youngsters who'd just completed high school studies and are taking a gap year.

Venice was experiencing extraordinarily high temps, but still was packed with tourists. The next morning, we started the first of lthe 3 tours scheduled for that day, St. Marks Sq. and the Doges Palace. Our ship used "whispers", a small box placed in one's pocket or hung around the neck plus an earpiece; the guide can thus speak quietly into his/her unit and be heard by the group, even if like Ira and me, we wander away to view other interesting sights.
Avoiding the long lines, we viewed the splendors of the Palace, the prisons, and the famed "Bridge of Sighs" (now surrounded by Coca-cola ads), and then in free time, licked gelatos as we peeked into shops and tiny streets that always ended in more canals. After lunch, via water taxi, we went through picturesque canals to Giudecca and after a museum visit, climbed up narrow stairs to the tops of non-air conditioned buildings to view a few ancient synagogues...tho' I was gasping, it was worth it. Then a walk through the beautiful Canareggio area to the Rialto and its crush of visitors, before returning to the ship for dinner.
A larger launch from San Basilio then returned us to the St. Marks area for our private viewing of the cathedral's interior. The golden mosaics overhead are awesome (though Ira and I thought those in Monreale and the Palatine chapel, Cefalu cathedral wwere better) and having the space and time to enjoy them, the marble floor mosaics, to explore the area behind the altar w. its priceless treasures, and then to also descend to the crypt area and see the earliest bldg. foundations, was so amazing that heat and exhaustion didn't matter. We all slept well; the boys wishing that our next day was at sea instead of in Pula, Croatia with a 9 am tour.

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