Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Montag (again?) - Liechtenstein

The last week has been really crazy. First we drove from Liechtenstein to Pisa where we walked and ate pasta for two days. Then we had three nights in Rome where we walked, ate panini and developed a terrific suntan. On Saturday afternoon we navigated our way OUT of Rome (not so easy) and drove to Venice to do some walking and eat pizza. Actually our hotel was about 20 minutes out of Venice in Favola Veneto, close to Mestre. Staying actually IN Venice is quite pricey and also Mestre is a good place to mingle with the locals. Most people that work in Venice live in Mestre because of the problems that come with living on water (flooding, foundation rot). Many of the buildings are in such disrepair that you can`t live in them, even though they still look fantastically romantic to a tourist.

I have been having some problems with my sandals. I have a stupidly expensive pair or walking sandals that, after four years, still rub the skin off my feet. I keep thinking they must wear in eventually, but after four packs of blister bubbles, I`ve admitted defeat. This is how I came to be wearing my training shoes when we heading into Venice. After 30 minutes my feet were cooking and I splashed out a whole €12 for some funky beaded sandals from a street vendor. Problem solved, happy feet.

Yes, I know, two days in Venice and all you get is a picture of my feet. That`s because someone helpfully transferred all of the pics from my camera to the digital wallet and can I work out how to get them off it? No.

In Venice we found the best pizza in the world, and the restaurant had an enclosed garden at the rear so that we could let the toddler loose and not worry about her falling into a canal. She has developed a scary habit of running off, and she is fast. I`m sure that mum/grandma knows how to stop this, but Uncle Jase had to give her a minute on the `naughty step`right there on a walkway in Venice for this conversation:

Uncle Jase: `niece, can you come here please?`

Niece: `nooo. I run away. Bye`

(niece is finally captured, and squeals a bit)

Uncle Jase: `I think you need a minute on the naughty step`

Niece: `yes`

For those whom are not familiar with the toddler taming technique of the naughty step, the idea is that a toddler whom has done a bad has to sit and think about it for a minute per year (i.e. a three year old gets three minutes). It works very well once they understand that there is no moving until the adult says so.

The authentic italian pizza, as we ate in Venice, has a very thin crust and bears absolutely no resemblance to the abomination that passes for pizza in NZ. Coupled up with a salad, it`s practically health food.. almost. After that lunch, at which I had the unreal experience of watching my sister eat nearly a whole pizza (trust me, that is not even close to normal for her), we took a relaxing walk to the Rialto bridge and then St Marks square. Once there we were consistently interrupted by Asian and Indian tourists whom wanted their photo taken with the little Princess. I suppose a blonde, blue-eyed child is a rarity to them. All over Italy she was a tourist attraction. No wonder we are getting some diva behaviour......

We were a little late to get into the Doges palace but did get to view the romantic bridge of sighs. I don`t know why it`s so romantic, given that the sighs were those of the condemned getting their last view of Venice. I think it`s to do with that rascal Giacomo Cassanova, possibly the most famous resident to cross that bridge, apart from Marco Polo. Dinner was some very average pasta in a spectacular location near the Rialto bridge. We wandered around absorbing the magic of Venice at nighttime and then caught a late bus back to Favola Veneto. I must have had a few too many wines and was easy prey for the guy selling fake Prada bags. It looks just like the real thing.. apart from the dodgy stitching, slightly uneven fake leather adornments and sticky zip. Bargainat €20. Why didn`t someone stop me?!

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