I'm going to have some amazing pictures to share once I get my mitts on some real internet. It's staggeringly beautiful here.
Venice is such a study in contradictions. The buildings are old, yet one sees graffiti everywhere. Men motor 25 foot skiffs loaded with engine parts, construction supplies, etc. through the tiny canals. A man in a suit on a razor scooter and his two kids on skateboards glide through a campo next to a church dating to sometime in the 1500's. The little streets are charming, but also secretive. Le monsieur put it brilliantly I thought, "a mixture of romantic and sinister." There are centuries of flirtations and betrayals written in the stones.
We did a bit of exploratory walking in the area around our hotel, and yes, did get lost several times. Yesterday afternoon going from bright sunlight into a dark church I didn't see a step and fell hard on my right knee on the stone floor. I'll probably be limping for the rest of the trip. But I'm eager to get out and explore some more after breakfast.
We really haven't done a lot of shopping on this trip, or at least I haven't. Le monsieur picked up a couple of lightweight shirts in Florence to help him cope with the heat, and other than little souvenir-y gifts for folks back home, I just haven't been inspired, plus our schedule has been so packed there really hasn't been time for anything more than cursory browsing. We've been warned that most of the "local" glass and lace shown in the shops here is actually made in China. It's all just as well, as the exchange rate is still abysmal, though has improved slightly in recent days.
One of my plans for today is a foray over to Harry's Bar for a Spritz (pronounced "spreetz"). It's a drink with either Prosecco or white wine and bitter Campari. Another contradiction: bitter yet somehow quite refreshing.