They should have to pay us to take picture of him!

Seeing as we had already spent two full days in Venice, we weren’t in to much of a hurry to get started this morning. We slowly got ready and ate breakfast while Kristin & Justine did laundry. There was a handy coin washer/dryer in the hotel so the girls decided they couldn’t pass up an opportunity for clean clothes. We then caught the bus to the island…which arrived right as we got to the bus stop. We must have some fancy bus mojo or something.

We only had a short list of things to accomplish today so we decided to start by just wandering. We ended up going in the opposite direction we meant to and got to see some new areas…and new stores 😉 Eventually we set our sights on the familiar part of the city and shopped our way over there. Bev had made a list of everything she still wanted to purchase for souvenirs and presents and Kris & Justine had added their wish-list to it so we were very organized shoppers.

Getting into Venice later meant that it wasn’t long until lunchtime. When we decided we were hungry we happened to be right by the Accademia bridge. If you recall, this is where we ate lunch the day before yesterday. We have settled into a habit of acting like locals and wanting to be restaurant regulars…just like at dinner yesterday, we not only ate at the same place but also at the same table. We split two pizzas among the four of us (spicy salami and margherita) and sipped bellinis. We had decided that only having a bellini once during our Italy trip was simply not enough!
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You may also recall that it was sitting at this very restaurant that Kristin snapped our ideal canal/gondola/gondolier photos. And it was at that very table where Kris & Justine giggled over the attractive gondola man. Today was no different. We were on attention, watching for our beloved gondola man to return to the same spot as the day before. It never happened, but we got so much better! Up the canal rowed a muscular, young stallion. And following his gondola was another young dreamboat. And then a third gorgeous, young man wandered across the square to join the other two for some lunch at our favorite lunch spot. Somehow we had found the hangout of the Hot Gondola Man Club.
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The main activity we had planned for today was to ride a gondola. At first we had considered not doing it, as it can be quite expensive, but then we thought about it and really, isn’t going to Venice and not riding a gondola kind of like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel tower? We had decided it was an investment worth making and had our eyes open for a gondolier to hire. Kristin & Justine were in charge of picking, although Bev also agreed that she did not want to ride with the creepy, short, fat guy. Stumbling upon the HGMC (Hot Gondola Man Club) was encouragement enough to do it immediately.

We were ushered into a boat by the dreamboat (aka the second guy to arrive) but it was not his boat. He already had a family in his. We ended up having the muscular, young stallion. *Giggle* He was dressed perfectly in his striped shirt (we later saw he was wearing 3 layers of striped clothing on…we noticed this when Justine & Kristin turned around at the perfect moment to watch him take off his shirt…well sweater…still *giggle*) and his flat, straw hat. And he could row like no ones business! Oh let’s just show you a photo:
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The gondola ride itself was amazing. We went along the Grand Canal at a few points, such as at the Rialto bridge, but mainly stuck to the “side streets”. The stallion pointed out historically relevant buildings and often began to whistle, hum and sing to us. *Giggle*Giggle* It was interesting to see how many gondolas there are trolling about and that there can be traffic jams on canals as well as roads. At one point our progress was halted by a taxi (which is a motor boat in Venice) that was literally stuck between a wall & another boat. It had to be pushed out. In general, Venice is such a gorgeous city and the view from the water is really the way to see it! Do a gondola ride & do it with a member of the HGMC!
Here’s some pics of what we saw on our ride:
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Ok, here’s some pictures of the actual scenery:
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Post gondola ride we were all a little giddy…even Harv, although his was just cause it was so much fun…not cause our gondolier was so attractive. We decided on some gelato to cool us down…or pump us full of sugar…hmm that one seems counterproductive so let’s stick with the first explanation. It was delicious, as gelato always is, but it couldnt rival the stuff from yesterday. We still stick to our recommendation of the place by the penny machine! Today’s flavors: strawberry (B), strawberry + lemon (K), coffee + lemon (J) and coconut (H).
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Harvey had one request for things to do in Venice, and after he had followed us around shopping for two days and after listening to us giggling endlessly we let him chose an activity. We rode to the top of the Campanile Bell Tower. This bell tower replaced a shorter lighthouse that was once part of the original fortress/palace that guarded the entry of the Grand Canal. The lighthouse crumbled in 1902 after 1000 years and was replaced using many of the original materials.
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We were very happy this tower had an elevator all the way to the top! From up high we were treated to wonderful panoramic views of the city. We could see the edge of the large lagoon around Venice (Venice and it’s entire lagoon has been UNESC’ed). From here we were also able to trace our activites over the past few days and figure out where we have been. Looking down at the city you would never guess there were canals instead of roads between the buildings.
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We said farwell to St. Mark’s Square and made our way towards our favorite area around the Rialto Bridge for supper. Along the way we bought the remaining items on Bev’s to buy list and made some more last minute purchases. Walking along the canal we passed our favorite restaurant from the two nights before. They tried to escort Justine to our regular table. Literally the waiter offered her his arm. It was so cute. We had eaten everything we wanted to off that menu though so we tried another restaurant. We went with number two, aka the one we had thought had kind of pricey wine the night before. We sucked it up tonight though and it was worth it! The wine was great and the food was fantastic. Harvey & Bev shared the scallop risotto and spaghetti with bolognese. Kristin & Justine shared the scallop risotto and spaghetti carbonera. It was all creamy and cheesy and totally yumminess!
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The restaurant next to us shared a menu and staff with our fav supper place. As we got up the greeting waiter pulled out a “Good night, see you tomorrow!” and when we told him we were leaving the next day he told us to add him on Facebook. We are bonding with random locals now apparently.

We got back to the hotel nice and early. There was lots to be done to get ready to leave in the morning. Justine and Kristin wasted no time packing up (they are definitely expert packers now!) We sipped the rest of our Limocello and organized all of our purchases to be sent back home with Harvey and Bev. There was enough stuff to almost completely fill up duffle bag! The evening ended with Bev showing us the pictures from the first part of their trip. Lots of pictures to get us excited for the next half of ours!

Random Observations:
– Lemon gelato is white and Vanilla gelato is yellow…does that make sense to anyone?

Love, Luck & Lorenzo…which is the name we have decided to give to the man who guided our gondola 😉
K&J + B&H

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