England 40 Years Ago — April 18, 1982

I expected Venice to smell, but I didn’t think it would almost knock me over. The problem was this. We’d walked and walked on empty stomachs, and the tangy spiciness of pizza and the aroma of freshly ground coffee was terribly tantalizing. Venice smelled heavenly!!

$ wanted to run, so John ran with him through the crowded streets. $ stopped to get his breath, put up his arms to be picked up, nestled into his dad’s arms and said, “Run!!”

Venice has a perpetual carnival atmosphere, because everyone walks (no cars allowed), stalls and shops glitter with cheap glass souvenirs, tourists in high spirits surge through narrow passages, and restaurants lure people in for gastronomic treats.

We liked the large trolleys that porters use. Large wheels are toward the middle and small ones on the end so they can be levered and rolled over the steps spanning the canals.

We saw a demonstration of glass blowing on the island of Murano. At first the glass was a red-hot blob, then vase-shaped, reheated and put in a mold, blown again, heated, shaped, then flattened into a plate! The children loved taking the water taxi there.

Kate looked back

Tourists were so thick once in San Marco plaza that we could hardly move. St. Mark’s was also thronged with tourists. The mosaic floors were so uneven that we thought we’d get sea sick if we walked on them long enough. The marble pillars, balustrades, and mosaics were second only to the gold mosaics in all the domes. Still, the basilica has an intimate style, and you could see how the antiphonal choirs used by Monteverdi would be purely delightful.

Though we’d not drunk any water in Italy, $ got diarrhea in San Marco. I had supplies with me, John found a secluded alley, and we changed the mess on someone’s doorstep, carefully removing our debris afterwards. Lisa spotted a sign that said, “Do not abandon any litter.” We didn’t.

The Ducal Palace beside St. Mark’s was full of precious paintings and Baroque golden ceilings. Those rooms were as sumptuous as any at Windsor Castle or Hampton Court. The tour ended with a long walk doubling back on itself through seemingly endless dungeons.

Bus service is by big boat, either regular or express. John grasped the idea of the system and could get us from one place to another easily.

Rialto Bridge with bus going under it

I liked the road signs in Venice – international symbols posted for boats on the canals. It was odd to see “no entrance” signs on bridges, “no turn” signs at corners, and traffic lights over the water at blind junctions! I had wondered why motorboats sometimes passed on the left and other times on the right. It’s because gondolas are paddled on only one side and must be given room to maneuver. Two powered boats pass port to port; a gondola passes a motorboat starboard to starboard.

Easter Sunday at St. Mark’s in Venice!! John agreed with my statement that for him it was a pilgrimage. We saw the bishop in his golden finery, pointy hat, and huge gold shepherd’s crook. To hear Monteverdi’s music in his home church was an uplifting experience. We laughed that John took $ duty for the service, and people insisted he have a seat with the toddler. In another part of the church, the girls and I had to stand up for the entire service, and men pinched Lise’s bottom! The hotel had also spruced up its restaurant for Easter with a huge decorated egg and lots of real ones. They were featuring lamb and fish. The children were given pieces of chocolate to eat and an egg with a face, hat and stand to take away.

We spent a long time in the railroad station satisfying certain menfolk. Lisa and I sat watching people stream by and discovered a man with a neat way of supplying the loos. He was cleaning cars and carrying a broom with toilet paper rolls stacked on the handle.

Almost as soon as we left Venice, we were in mountains. We’ve seen beautiful scenery in every country, but this was something else again. At every bend there was a new vista that you’d like to photograph and hang on the wall.

$ loved our special train ride. Because of the heights, the road ends at one town where we drove on a train of flat cars covered with wire cage-like things to travel ten minutes in a tunnel under the mountain. We drove off at the other end. It was in total darkness, darkness you could almost feel as in one of the plagues of Egypt!

On the other side of the mountains we saw a ski lift carrying people higher than we could see and many people clonking around in ski boots toting skis. Then we noticed fresh snow on the evergreen trees further up.

The Italian mountains were dry; as soon as we hit Austria, clear mountain streams were gushing down.

What contrasts in weather we had! We slept with open windows in Venice and drove through snow storms in the Alps.

37 thoughts on “England 40 Years Ago — April 18, 1982

  1. Wow! Your visit to Venice sounds amazing. I have yet to see this place. All booked and ready to go and the pandemic hit. I guess it was better than if we had gone and got stuck there, or worse, sick.


  2. This has to be one of my favorite visits! (I know, I say that about a lot of them.) I think Venice would be my choice if I were to go, and when I was researching the souvenir tray from Venezia, I saw a lot of pictures of these places. This was my personal tour, though.
    I have an antique photograph in a frame of this area along the Ducal Palace. I acquired it many years ago in a small shop in my hometown in Graham, Texas, and fell in love with it. The frame was naturally distressed by age, before that became a thing!


  3. How lucky and blessed you were to have had these wonderful memories and experiences! Your story and photos were amazing, and yes, understand how fast the weather changes in the mountains. 🤗


    1. It’s odd, but this is the first time I’ve put the photos and the words together. I wrote a letter once a week to our mothers without knowing if any of the photos had turned out well. Digital photography is so much easier!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. what a wonderful tour of Venice! I’ve never been there, so it’s a treat. Your memories of your time spent in Europe are fascinating. Was your trip to Venice, etc. side trips from where you lived in England, or were they made at other times?


    1. The European jaunts were side trips from our base south of London. We were traveling a lot at the end, because John was taking weeks of vacation that he hadn’t taken before. This was our last chance to see everything we wanted to see.


      1. I wish I would have done more traveling when in Germany back in the day. I wasn’t really into photography then. I do have a few of black n whites in my albums, though, come to think of it. As a very young wife (early 20s) my interests ran more to baking and cooking, and playing games with my friends when the husbands were out on army maneuvers. No children then.


          1. yes. I used to sign on for field trip chaperone, it was a challenge with eight different interests…one girl would cooperate with any of the others’ wishes as long as she was guaranteed adequate time in the gift shop. (That was an 8th grade group trip to Greenfield Village. I met a man from another school district who asked me if we had to bring back the same eight kids, or if any eight would do. That was a fun trip, others that I had were not so much.


            1. I laughed aloud with the question about bringing back the same eight kids. I think the gift shop girl was brilliant. She learned a life skill early in life to cooperate with others so that everyone’s needs would be met.


    1. I think the water system has changed so that Venice isn’t flooded often, as it used to be. John said there is a flood gate that is raised when a very high tide is expected. The city is still flushed out by the tide all other days. I have no way of knowing what might have changed, but the things we went to see are still there.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi
    What a lucky and you were have had these remembered memories, experience! Your story and photos were so beautiful. I like. Wonderful place. Nice mountain weather.🙏Candice is a city name


    1. My husband saved the letters I wrote to our parents, letters I would have just thrown away. I saved the 35mm slides, and it took me five years to scan them into the computer. The process was very slow. Of course, I’m thrilled to have them all now. This is the first time the photos have been put together with the letters.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi
        So nice you have to save it’s latter & photos in computer. Iam so glad. I inspired to u. How old that’s time?I will enjoyed reading.
        Thank you so much . Can u use whats’Aap📲
        How much time there now?


        1. I think What’s App works for me, but I don’t have time today. Neighbor Logan is spending the night with us, and I must clean the room thoroughly. It hasn’t been cleaned since our son moved, and there is lots of dog hair in the carpet.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. What adventures! I am amazed by all that you did with children in tow. I am intrigued by your impression of Venice. I wonder how you’d feel about it today if you went on a pilgrimage there. Happy Easter, a few days late.


  7. Beautiful pictures of Venice Anne. I enjoyed looking on them. Italy and France, as you know, will always be on my bucket list, but the quaint aspect of the gondola ride does intrigue me. Kate and Lise look so happy on that boat ride.


  8. I never made it to Venice so it was lovely to imagine it through your words, Anne.
    I did see the mountains in Italy and Austria and they are magnificent.
    What a wonderful memory and glad you found a solutto the tricky bowel situation. I have always feared that when travelling.


  9. I can just picture $ running through the streets of Venice with Dad in hot pursuit. The turn of the moment was a tired little boy picked-up, then telling his (more-than-likely-just-as-tired) Dad, RUN! Parenting ain’t for sissies!


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