(Well it does to Hardy who has a lisp!)
Sorry for the lack of pure reading joy the last few days but given we have been at sea en-route to Venice, there wasn’t much to say to be honest. We ate, we swam, I read, Hardy played, we played Hulk and Spidey etc etc.
Hardy has been off the kids club for a while now so he’s taken to charming the pants off absolutely everyone. He sidles into one of the four spas wearing his life vest and with his little surfer dude Col (thanks Davo’s!), as I watch from the pool or a sun lounger. I can’t hear all the details, but usually it’s where are you from, how old are you, can I see what you have there etc. Sometimes it’s even less than that given people on the ship are from all over. A few minutes later.. there’s high fives, lots of laughing, a bit of splashing, cuddles (which is difficult with the life vest). I come up, Hi Hardy! And he honestly looks so embarrassed, like.. ‘this is my mum guys, she has trouble making friends of her own.’ Everyone insists they are fine so I am relegated back to the pool or lounge.
This happens at least twice a day, every day. Sometimes he finds the same people again and it’s all HEY HARDY MAN. Even when they are teenagers who at home are too cool for babies, everyone here has been very lovely to him. And no mum I have not found any ‘boat buddies’, just random conversations with people I never seem to come across again. It would feel weird to say, ‘so, same time tomorrow? TELL ME YOU’LL COME BACK!’
The only thing to note that I can remember is that we got to see the lifeguards in action. A little redhead, not sure where she was from, was playing with a little boy who was a bit rough. Next minute he’s pushed her over the edge of the little pool into.. THE DEEP END. She squealed just before she fell in, and the lifeguard blew his whistle and jumped in and had her out in a matter of seconds. Pretty impressive. The first parents on the scene? The boy’s. Like shit he’s nearly killed someone best whisk him away. Eventually her parents came up, all shock and concern that their little ginger nut nearly drowned. They were nowhere near the pool or in any location to keep an eye on her. Lo and behold the following day – she was in a life vest. *eye roll*
On a similar note, I heard ‘alpha alpha alpha, deck five promenade’ come over the radio yesterday. I thought, what’s that? So I googled it. Turns out alpha means MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Told you – near-death these people.
So when we finally docked in Venice Hardy and I took our shuttle boat into town to have a quick look around. Annnd my verdict is: Venice is incredible. So unlike anything I have ever seen, I can’t believe people are leaving here in droves (like I can, but I can’t). I’m so glad we got to stop here.
After almost crying at the price, we went on a gondola ride. I mean, how can you not, right? And far out even though it’s so stereotypical and something someone might describe as “naff”, it was bloody great fun. What struck me was how quiet it was once you were off the main canal. Just the sound of the water sloshing (oh, and the gondoliers constantly yelling or laughing at each other. I get a bit of a mafia-esc vibe about them.. like company versus company. Which is kind of true because they originally represented the different wealthy families of Venice, hence the colour of their striped shirt).
My other thought is no wonder Venice is sinking because THERE ARE SO MANY FUCKING PEOPLE HERE. Overnight five other cruise ships docked so this morning it was chaos at the shuttle boat stop. Cue more near-death looking tourists and selfie sticks and all that jazz. I’ve never been so rude in my life by saying ‘you’re seriously standing right in the way’ or loudly grunting all the time, but I think it’s because I am assuming the person on the receiving end can’t understand what I’m saying! Such a pussy!
We came back today to do a walking tour. Naturally I asked Hardy if he wanted to go to the toilet before we left: ‘no thanks’. Five minutes off the shuttle boat: ‘Mum I need to wee.’ Unlike Australia, public toilets are extremely rare in Italy and usually you have to pay, or be dining at a restaurant to use theirs. So we got to the meeting place with the tour guide and I asked about a toilet, and he said there wasn’t one anywhere nearby. So, I did what any decent parent would do. Got out our water bottle, forced both of us to drink it, then got him to turn around into a corner, and pee into the bottle. One would think this would be easy with the willy of a four year old (sorry to future Hardy for writing that), but I am not ashamed to admit I have pee spray in my hair and on my clothes. I basically bathed in antibacterial gel after very unsuspiciously throwing it in the bin saying ‘yeah I don’t like this orange Powerade anymore either let’s definitely throw it away and never speak of it again’. I’d like to think no one saw us but.. I doubt it.
The tour was mostly boring but appreciated in the sense we were guided through some of the backstreets and saw some key sites like inside St Mark’s Cathedral. It was stunning, featuring a gold and coloured tile mosaic ceiling rather than paint. You weren’t supposed to take pictures (you know some people did because TOURISTS) but the five minute walk through was well worth it. The mosaic images depict various scenes from the bible and you can tell the different eras they were created as the artwork advances (from 2D essentially to art that has more depth and sophistication). The use of imagery was to help convey the written word of the bible as of course most people couldn’t read, so you had to invoke the fear of God into them somehow right!
Mark is of ‘Matthew, Mark, Luke and John’ fame (insert accurate religious depiction here), and his ‘assigned animal’ is the lion, so there are heaps of lions around Venice because his remains are actually in the cathedral. He was buried there, and then someone stole them and buried them in Alexandria, and then centuries later Venetians crept in and stole them back, hiding his bones under piles of pork meat because, as our tour guide said ‘Muslims.. they don’t like the pork. I know it is not politically correct to say, but there you go.’ LOL. So he now rests peacefully back in Venice. And, side note, when you see a person or a lion depicted with an open book in art or sculpture, that means hope (as opposed to a closed book which clearly conveys a ‘we’re done’ message).
I also learnt why it is called The Bridge of Sighs. It’s because it linked the courthouse to jail, so people would sigh as they crossed the bridge after being found guilty and sent to jail.
I am really missing the pram during days like these. I carried Hardy so much I don’t know if my back will ever recover. He didn’t complain by the way, I just knew he was tired so we just worked on a walking/being carried combination. I saw so many families just strolling along comfortably with their pram, some kids were sleeping in theirs. I wanted to mug them. Potentially not violently, just like a gypsy move using the art of distraction. I am duelling with Vueling (heh heh heh) who seem unable to comprehend the term ‘customer service’ in lieu of ONE FORM I didn’t fill out the day we landed and which can’t possibly be done electronically. I have no idea when I’ll be in a position to buy another pram, or if I should even bother.. but my body is aching!
We also wandered through Marco Polo’s neighbourhood (no one seems sure which building was his house, except for our gondolier who was like ‘that is where Marco Polo lived’). Rialto Bridge was lovely, and we dined in a beautiful restaurant on the Grand Canal, but instead of people watching it was boat watching. It’s like Cambodian tuk tuks but on water. Boats of all shapes and sizes just motoring along.
The only people watching involves vain arseholes forcing their poor husbands/boyfriends/friends into getting THE PERFECT Instagram photo. Look at me casually laughing in my straw hat on the streets of Venice with my perfect gelato! I would smash my phone and tip Hardy’s bottle of wee on it if it meant people would stop being so moronic. How about you just enjoy what you’re looking at, rather than working out how best it can make you look? URGH VOMIT.
Tomorrow we arrive in Split, Croatia, with zero plans. My initial thought was a taxi ride up to the Klis Fortress where they filmed some of the Game of Thrones episodes and I can play Khaleesi for a day. But that will surely involve more walking..
In other news I’ve never seen my skin so brown! Just look for the lady who looks like she’s spent her entire life on the Gold Coast when we arrive home. I promise I won’t have a toe ring though.