SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13
Fredo and Nick headed to the Venice airport early Sunday morning to pick up three Aunts from France: Catherine, Blandine and Anne. One arrived at noon, another arrived and 3pm, and the last at 8pm. What fun!!
Marta and I headed to base to get a much needed hot shower after a week at sea. When we returned home at midnight the night before, we discovered that our apartment building was out of hot water. "DOH!" A hot shower has never felt so good!
After we returned home from base, we went out for a walk while we awaited the arrival of the Aunts!
There was a huge festival going on that weekend in Sacile: Profumi & Sapori. There were food booths set up all over the center of the town. It smelled so good!
There was also a kayak competition going on in the Livenza River surrounding Sacile.
Sacile was bustling! What a great way to welcome family!
The kayakers were all ages. This was one of the smallest competitors I saw. She must have been about 6 or 7.
We had a good laugh at these kids in their floating bubbles.
We met up with the Aunts in the square of Sacile, and enjoyed the festival. When we all got too cold, we walked back to our apartment.
DEWULF FACT #1: It wouldn't be a DeWulf gathering without sitting at a table with Apple products!
MONDAY, OCTOBER 14
On Monday, we all headed down to Venice from Sacile. Fredo and Anne had never been before, and the other's haven't been in years. We were bursting at the seams we were so excited to see Venice.
Typically, Italians sit quietly on the train and try to ignore one another. DEWULF FACT #2: It would not be a DeWulf gathering without singing! The Aunts all started singing French songs they were taught growing up. We may have gotten a few funny looks, but I couldn't help but sit there and smile as they sang in harmony, "Frere Jacque, Frere Jacque...."
Once we arrived in Venice, we didn't get far before we stopped for lunch at a sweet restaurant across from the Frari church. The food was delicious! The waitress gave us each a coffee at the end!
Showing their better sides?? :P
It's like walking around with the Brady bunch!
Standing on the world famous Rialto Bridge. DEWULF FACT #3: It would not be a DeWulf gathering without a "few" photos being taken. :)
This sign could be seen from the Rialto. (Yikes!)
We all decided we should get a gondola ride while we were there. It cost 80 Euro for 40 minutes...so the sign stated.
Anne couldn't help but sing under the Rialto Bridge...
Our gondolier pretending to actually give us historical information on our ride.
We had Blandine, Nick, Anne and myself in one boat. In the other boat you can see Catherine, Fredo and Marta.
Nick laughing at Anne and Blandine singing in the gondola.
After a quick 22 minute ride, Nick and the gondolier had it out. :) He expected us to pay him for 40 minutes worth when we were only on the boat for 22 minutes. Thankfully, Nick talked him down. (It wasn't easy.)
After stopping at nearly every store along the way, we finally made it to St. Mark's Square. An orchestra at a nearby cafe started to play New York, New York.
DEWULF FACT #4: If there is good music playing, a DeWulf will dance. Catherine and Fredo started the trend. A sweet couple joined them. Two goofy teenage girls jumped in the fun as well, so we all started dancing! When the music started to slow, we all got into a line and did the can-can! (Not a very good one, but we DID one none-the-less!) Onlookers from the cafes nearby all got out their cameras and started recording us! It was so much fun!
We sat down at the cafe to get a quick drink. It didn't take us long to realize that the prices were WAY too high. A hot chocolate was 9 Euro plus you have to pay 6 Euro to be able to listen to the live orchestra. YIKES! That's roughly $20 for a drink! No thanks! We ended up heading to the Danieli Hotel for drinks instead.
...Bridge of Sighs and the Doge's Palace on our way to the Danieli.
A little view of the inside of the Danieli Hotel. After we had some warm drinks, Catherine spotted the Prince of Monaco entering the Hotel from a boat entrance!
Funny cat graffiti on the side of the Danieli.
We started to head back to the train station. We tried hard to get lost...
While "getting lost" we stumbled upon this little bookstore. The sign reads, "Welcome to the most beautiful Bookshop in the World." I would have to agree. :)
The books were displayed in boats and other items that would float if Venice ever floods! Haha!
The shopkeeper pointed us to the back of the bookstore where he had a staircase of books to look over his wall into the Venice canals! A staircase of books! Would that make it a bookcase??
I later found that this store is in one of Rick Steve's books on Venice. The bookstore is called Acqua Alta, or "high water." It's definitely worth a visit.
Nick and I wanted to show the famiglia our area of Italy, so we picked a few highlights. We started with Gorgazzo Springs.
We've visited this area dozens of times, but I'll never get tired of it! It's so enchanting! A crystal clear spring from a mountain, and a goose that always hangs around named, "Guido."
"Guido" the goose.
Next we headed up the mountain to Piancavallo. It's a beautiful scenic mountain town. When we got up there all we saw was this...
FOG!!! I've been up to Piancavallo dozens of times and I've never seen it so engulfed in clouds. We couldn't stop laughing! Nick and I have won best tour-guides of the year! We started describing what was hiding through the fog. "To the left you would see the Taj Mahal, to the right is the Eiffel Tower..." Haha!
We decided to play on the displays since we couldn't see anything and nothing was open. Once again, Fredo started the trend.
Haha! So funny! Marta hopped in after Fredo. She had her game-face on!
Anne climbed the mountain ...in the FOG!
Fredo also climbed his own mountain...in the FOG! :) So extreme!! Haha! This is probably my favorite photo of Fredo taken during our trip!
After our challenging mountain climbing we had some much deserved hot chocolate. Italy doesn't just do hot chocolate; it's more like hot pudding...with some cream on the side.
DEWULF FACT #5: It would not be a DeWulf gathering without dog-piling on a couch! :)
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16
Our third and last day together we ventured down to Venice one last time. (We had mostly shopped and eaten the first time. My kinda trip!) Unfortunately, I forgot my sim card for my camera, so I didn't get any photos of our last day together.
We rode through the Grand Canal on a traghetto. Then we hired a wonderful tour guide. She took us through St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace. If anyone needs a tour guide, please ask! She was phenomenal! The Aunts all jumped on a water taxi to the airport from St. Mark's square. It was so much fun having them here! From singing on the train to dancing in St. Mark's square....I don't think Italy will be the same!
The next day Marta and Fredo headed back to the States. We had such an amazing few weeks! Nick and I laugh at all the fun and funny times we had together. :)