|I caught Florence on camera! Isn't she lovely?|
|Ashley with Trey & James in the background|
|I loved the pink & red next to each other!|
We came back to our palace after dinner and spent some giggling time before bed!
Everyone slept well, with the exception of Eleanor. She had the bed that was preshaped for a cow. It didn’t fit her body very well.
This morning, we had an unsurprisingly slow start. However, we went over to St. Mark’s Basilica to check on Mass times (6:00 p.m.!), and then wandered across the island, sneaking into several churches along the way. Many of them have the distinctive appearance of older European Catholic churches: lots and lots of stuff. Everywhere. Sculpture? Check. Relics? Check. Paintings everywhere? Check. Mosaics on remaining square inches? Check. Mosaic on the floors? Check. Okay, boys, now we’ve got ourselves a church! It’s so cute, because in many ways it’s so much like a home. Things just accumulate – gifts that have sentimental value, renovations that were never quite complete, and so on. And of course, it gives you a lot to look at.
|Carnevale from Tuesday|
|Trey with Florence on the vaporetto|
|It was still Carnevale on Tues!|
|Another rare shot of Florence|
|On the way home|
|We were amused at the way they carry freight -- loose!|
|The rose in the hallway. Note the scrap wood.|
|At night near the hotel|
|Near the hotel|
|Trey preparing to go downstairs in the hotel|
Mass at St. Mark’s was replete with pomp and circumstance. With no exaggeration, there were at least 15 altar servers, probably 20 or more priests, all in purple and fuchsia, an archbishop, and a cardinal to preside. There was enough incense burned to keep half of India in funds for quite some time. And I actually understood a lot of it! So exciting! The kids (and I) were amazed at the extent of the mosaics. I’d seen photos, but they have no way of conveying the sheer square footage. Kind of like the difference between hearing about surround sound and actually experiencing it. We used the strategy of drifting out of the church slowly so that we could take an extra look around. But the priests were one step ahead: they started turning all the lights off. I guess they’re used to us tourists.
Coming outside of the church, we were captivated by the sight of these…things – brightly lit boomerangs? Helicopters? We couldn’t quite tell. But you get the idea – street vendors at night with a gimme toy. And my three boys were all clamoring, “Gimme!” Trey ended up getting one, and it turns out to be the ultimate boy toy: a slingshot with a whirling light-up helicopter. Wow. Jeremy had a great time taking photos, and the boys forgot completely about getting dinner. We had to drag them away!
I couldn’t resist the opportunity to eat in an Italian Chinese restaurant to see what it was like. The hot and sour soup was rather more sour (more vinegar) and had fish sauce – a happy addition. It was also less aggressively thickened than American. The egg rolls were like Vietnamese spring rolls – yum!
Then we came home, gloated over our glass, and laughed some more. Our abdominal muscles have certainly had a workout today! But did you notice the amazing thing? We got to celebrate Ash Wednesday Mass at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice!