Category: Travel

Last day in Venice

We started America’s birthday with a walk around Venice and riding the water buses on the Grand Canal.

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We went to get cicchetti, small pieces of bread with various toppings that is apparently a Venice-specific food, for lunch at Cantine del Vino gia Schiavi, one of Rick Steves’ favorite places, and ate it outside standing by the canal with wine. This was Hudson’s favorite restaurant of the entire trip I think and he tried every weird thing we ordered, even discovering that he really likes salmon. We’ll see if he eats salmon at home from now on!

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This is not an alley between two buildings, this is the width of a street in Venice:

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Then we did some more walking/boating around Venice.

Peggy Guggenheim’s old house on the Grand Canal, where she lived the classic life of a wealthy dilletante, is now a modern art museum — the Guggenheim’s only satellite museum:

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Then more walking around, another stop for cichetti at, as it turns out, a place down the street from the first place, and then dinner.

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Dinner in Venice

We went out to dinner just as a freak 10-minute rain storm hit and walked about 20 minutes through the university district. We stopped for cicchette and an Aperol Spritz at Bar Canton and then to dinner at a full Rio Novo Ristorante, but we got glasses of wine while we waited by the canal for a table. After dinner, we walked to the Ferrovia station and took the water bus back to our hotel at 11pm.

La Conda Rossa

For our second place in Tuscany we stayed at La Conda Rossa, a working olive farm near Capalbio. There’s a pool so the kids spent all day every day there while we sat and read.

We ate dinner at the hotel’s restaurant every night and it was quite good. The kids started eating more adventurously.

On the second day we went for a drive around the area. First, we went to a small nearby town for lunch and then drove by the coast to a cute town called Orbetello, a picturesque marina town called Porto San Stefano and then stopped at a public beach for locals for an hour or so.

There was a mixup with our reservation, we thought we had 3 days but the hotel thought we had only 2 and someone else was checking into our room on our last day. Fortunately, someone left one of the cottages early so they could move us there and it had a nice yard.

Volterra

We left Casole d’Elsa and drove to Volterra, about 30 minutes away on very windy roads. We had pizza lunch in the square and gelato after a walk around the town.

We happened upon a museum of torture which was kinda creepy.

Before driving to Volterra we had to stop at the restaurant where we ate dinner last night because I left my bag there, which contained my Rylo 360º camera. I forgot my Rylo camera at a restaurant in Germany and now in Italy. I must not be meant to have it. At the hotel they were starting a classic car show so we got to see some cool old cars.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

The end of summer was approaching and Jon & Megan (and Emmarie) invited us to their family’s lake cabin in Coeur d’Alene for Labor Day weekend. Megan and Amy’s grandparents bought the property and built a cabin in 1905 and their family has been going there ever since!

We last came to Coeur d’Alene in 2005 but didn’t visit their cabin. Gay last went to the cabin almost 30 years ago and I’ve never been there until now. Megan’s sister, Amy, and her family – husband Chad and kids Leo and Kathleen (“Kaki”) and dog Oscar – also came. Barley came with us too. 12 people and 2 dogs in a small cabin on the lake.

After Gay took Havana and a bunch of her friends to a tour of the Seattle famous Fran’s Chocolates — owned by the family of a college friend of Gay’s and one of our neighbors — on Friday, we took the Basecamp and the Discovery to Spokane and drove to Gay’s dad’s house where we spent the night. The kids slept in the Basecamp and Gay and I slept in our tent in the backyard.

Saturday morning, we packed up and all of us, including Gay’s dad, aunts Lillian and Ginny, drove the 45 minutes to Coeur d’Alene for brunch at the resort, leaving the Basecamp behind. We made a quick stop at Starbucks, of course, and Spokane’s REI for a dog leash and headlamps that we (meaning me) forgot at home in our haste to get on the road on Friday.

The Discovery got its first off-roading experience on the 2-mile dirt road from the road down to the cabin. The kids put their mark on it:

Hanging out at the cabin was super fun. We sat on the beach drinking beers, watching the kids play in the water with all the water toys, barbecuing dinners, making breakfasts, taking the boat out on the lake, reading in the hammock, having a bonfire on the beach with neighbors in the Bay. The kids all got along and played all weekend long with zero conflicts. The kids even helped clean up after meals without complaining. 😲

Highlights:

  • On Saturday, Chad took all the boys (me, Jon, Leo and Hudson) across the lake on their boat to Carlin’s where the boat got gas and we got beers, sodas and pretzel bites.
  • I slept both nights in the Discovery despite me and Gay’s plan to sleep in our tent. Gay fell asleep with Eva the first night and while setting up my bed in the tent, I realized the Discovery was empty. So I put all the seats down, put our inflatable mattress pad in the back and slept great. I could even see the stars through the moonroof.
  • A water trampoline kept the kids busy all day on Sunday.
  • Havana went tubing behind a friend of Chad & Amy’s boat. Havana also got to steer Chad & Amy’s boat, a first.
  • Barley loved the beach and the water and ate very well: eggs, bacon, sausage, salmon and English muffins (what he just calls “muffins”, being an English Bulldog).

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While trying to take a selfie before we all left the lake, the drone lost its GPS connection and flew out of control, a common criticism of the drone since its inception, and crashed into the lake. Barley then retrieved it from the water and brought it back to us, very proud of himself. My drone is dead, 9 months after GoPro killed it. Next drone: DJI’s Mavic Pro 2?