We only decided to stop in Venice at the last minute. It was on the way to Slovenia, and we’d never been there before, so we did it. And I’m glad we did. Venice can be a bit intimidating at first. Cars are not allowed, so what do you do with the car and how do you find a hotel room? With the help of a sweet young lady at the information booth at the Venice end of the causeway to the island, we found a great hotel, parked the car in one of the many parkades, and caught a water taxi to St. Mark’s. Finding the hotel was a bit of an adventure, but we had a pleasant surprise waiting for us. The three star Hotel Zulian upgraded us to a four room suite! By far the nicest place we’ve stayed in so far, and at a very reasonable price. In some ways Venice is absolutely gorgeous. In other ways, it decrepit and falling apart. Maybe that’s part of its charm.

Yesterday we took a water taxi to a Venetian glass factory. I think this is where Dale Chihuly got his inspiration. It was fun ride over there, passing what looked to be gondoliers in training.


We didn’t actually take a ride in a gondola, but we saw lots of them in action. The gondolas are long, and many of the canals are very narrow. It takes a lot of skill to maneuver one of these things. I think the secret is in the wrist action.

In the afternoon we went to The Guggenheim Museum. Even though modern, contemporary and abstract art can be really annoying, this museum was pretty good. I think it was small enough not to get too tiresome. And they had a couple of Dalis on display. Whatever your view of art in all its forms, it’s hard not to smile when you see something like this.

P1050111On the way back, we stopped at a stringed instrument museum. This place was an unexpected delight. All kinds of old and strange instruments like 6-string cellos and 3-stringed bass. And here’s the perfect instrument for Hal’s surf band.

P1050115Note the open-tuned bass strings. Add a couple of pick-ups, and you’d be all set to rock!

I’d add a few more pictures, but this internet connection is incredibly slow and getting slower. I’ll leave you with one last shot from Vienna, a display of their Carnival masks.

P1050134Next stop, somewhere in Slovenia.

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