Vicarious Travel Log #2: July 19 – 25, 2010

This is the second installment of my mom’s Travel Log, which we are posting up on T-Lex while they wander around Europe.  If you missed part one, you can check it out here.  For now I’m pilfering the illustrative photographs from the interwebs (you can see the original source by clicking on them), but my parents have promised authentic visual documentation of their travels soon (nudge, hint).

July 19, 2010 (continued) San Servolo, Venice

San Servolo

San Servolo

This evening was the conference dinner. It was held in a small courtyard and you could see the sea through an archway and the sky above. As it got darker, the sky went through a gamut of blues until it was midnight blue which, not surprisingly, is exactly as it sounds. Even drunken economists can’t influence that kind of magic and they are amiable drunks. (Those Finns sure can put it away.)

July 20, 2010.  San Servolo & Venice

Venice

Venice

Michael went to sessions in the morning and I sat around in courtyards and wandered around the island taking pictures, some of which Alexis will attach to these missives when we get around to sending them.

We had to leave the island because our room was just for the two first nights so we packed up and set off for Venice proper. Luckily we had Arthur Robson with us to help lug suitcases across San Marco Square to our hotel where we were met with a surprise. Our room had been taken so we were being upgraded to a five star hotel a short distance away. What a shame! We didn’t see the first hotel room but the upgrade was beautiful offering a bathroom entirely clad in marble (Italian no doubt). One could get used to that kind of luxury. (Never mind, we have since made up for it.) With Arthur, we wandered around looking for Peggy Guggenheim’s house which is now a museum. When we finally found it, it was closed so we wandered some more. Really wandering is the best thing to do in Venice. Every time you turn a corner there is another little bridge and a pretty view. Venice in July is only spoiled by all those tourists. They were there from everywhere. Families with several children, lots of strollers and to my surprise and admiration, I saw quite a few visitors in wheelchairs. I really admire the kind of determination it takes to visit Venice in a wheelchair and with small children for that matter. The last time we were here, it was March and was cool and relatively empty. Our children and Mom were with us and I think they really enjoyed our visit. It was great this time but it was very hot and humid and FULL of tourists. It was such a pleasure to retire to our fancy hotel when we got too hot and overwhelmed. We returned to see Peggy’s house and the horse and rider did not disappoint. That is one happy rider. Our Venice stay lasted until July 23 and while it is so beautiful, we were ready to leave for cooler Munich to pick up the car and set off on the next leg of our journey.

24, 2010.  Munich, Germany.

Munich

Munich

Munich was indeed cooler and even more humid than Venice…..it was pouring rain. We did venture off armed with our umbrellas to the city centre. I must admit that it is summer sale time in Europe and I do have my favourite store in Munich that was having some great sales (no shoes which should surprise those of you who know me well…..just wait until we are back in Munich in the late fall.)

July 25, 2010.  Colmar, France.

Colmar

Colmar

In our Hyundai station wagon we set off through the rain toward France. We decided to visit Colmar in Alsace where I was a “jeune fille au pair” several decades ago. It is a fairytale place with half timbered houses and cobble streets. It has become more of a tourist destination since I lived there but it was Sunday evening as we re-found places that were once well known so it wasn’t too crowded. The city is keeping itself very tidy to encourage visitors and it was full of lush flower boxes. A good visit.

July 26, 2010.  Sluis, Netherlands.

Back in the car and off to Belgium, a country we have never visited even though Michael’s grandparents came from there. We wanted to see the North Sea so we veered north as far as possible. Who knew that half of Belgium vacations there and it was impossible to see the sea for all the fancy buildings built along the seafront. The traffic was horrific so we tried to escape. Soon I noticed that all the cars we were seeing had Dutch plates. We were in Holland! Two new countries in one day. Europe is great for that. Tired of one country, off to another. Too bad about the passport stamps though to help you remember where and when you have been somewhere. We saw no indication that we had changed countries.
So here we are in Holland staying in an old hotel that luckily has wireless internet. We even talked to Alexis on Skype yesterday.

Bruges

Bruges

Today we zipped back into Belgium to go to Bruges. It, too, is a picturesque city. It is also full of tourists. (There seems to be a theme in my tale. Tourists get in the way of my enjoying beautiful European cities. Why can’t they stay home and let me have an unhampered view of things? Oh well, we are here for a while and we will outstay the tourist season.)

Tomorrow we are off to wander Europe again. Not sure where just yet but I will let you know.

Check out the next installment of the Vicarious Travel Log here.

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