VENICE – 1:00 AM, April 22nd Ahhhhh, Venice. Rest, relaxation, strolling, and no itinerary! Mel has instituted a museum ban here in Venice, but Jeff may defect and sneak into one.

Sunday was easter in Florence. Apparently this is a big deal! We went to the “Burning of the Cart” celebration in the Piazza del Duomo. There was a parade of midevial dressed men, women and children, musicians, flag performers and important religious people. After an hour of performance, they set the “cart” (actually a big wooden structure that looks like a shack) on fire. Well, not on fire, actually the fireworks strapped to the cart. It was a fun little 15 minute firework display. But, of course, nothing like when the super bowl was in San Diego this year. Then it was back to the hostel for a nap and then up and in a cab to the Uffizi Gallery. Jeff strolled a little slowly for Mel, but Mel did enjoy the Botichellis. After that it was a light dinner and back to the dirt mound, uh, I mean hostel to do some reading. We were TIRED!! We awoke early to the sound of rain outside and left for the train station. Mel was glad to leave our grubby, slimy, loud, toilet paper less, co-ed bathroom hostel.

On the train we met a nice Australian couple in Europe for the year. We talked the entire three-hour train ride and exchanged e-mails when we arrived in Venice. We took the slow boat down the grand canal to our HOTEL, we just sat and stared at the city, it is really a floating city! No cars! No mopeds! Gondolas! Water and bridges everywhere! We checked into our hotel, a rock throw away from Piazza San Marco, the city’s main square. Jeff had insisted on staying in a hotel, and this close to the piazza, Mel had wanted a hostel on the outskirts, but Mel is thanking Jeff now! We strolled the small, shop-lined alleys for a couple of hours, gawking at the glass, jewelery, and venetian art. Then it was back to the hotel for a nap, and then out again for dinner. After dinner we spent the rest of our night in Piazza San Marco listening to “The Dueling Orchestras” There are three cafes that have outdoor musicians playing for the people in the square. The music was great and it was a perfect venetian night.

We slept in this morning. Our first morning sleeping in since Barcelona. It was wonderful. Mel is feeling a tad sick, but the rest did her good. We are now off to do more wandering, Mel has a shopping spree building inside of her!

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