Last week we went to Venice. After all, what was the point of schlepping 5,000 miles to live in Europe if we don't get out and see it occasionally? We found some cheap (like less than 50 bucks) round trip tickets from Liverpool airport to Venice and spent the week soaking in the sights and food of Italy.
Of course, the cheap tickets do come with a couple of catches - you don't actually land at the main Venice airport - instead, you end up out at a field that's just a little closer to Venice than, say, Vienna, and is staffed by one man and his crippled dog - whose sole job is to point you to the bus which takes you to Venice. Or at least, to the outskirts. Once we made it to the Venice bus depot, we realized that we had, between us, done zero research on Venice. We had the name of our hotel, and a vague sense that it was at about the furthest point away from the city from our current location, but that was about the extent of our knowledge of getting around. (I blame the Critter. It was her turn to do the planning.) We picked out a random water-taxi and took the scenic (read: '20 euros extra') route to the hotel.
Anyway, below are a few of the pictures of the trip - the best value for the money was by far and away feeding the pigeons in Piazza San Marco - 1 euro for a bag full of (contraceptive laced) bird food and a square full of begging beaks. I trimmed out the pictures where the Critter was shrieking in terror at the pigeon on her head. I'm sure that will cost in therapy later on.
For the full list of pictures click here. (there's a silly amount of pictures. Have patience.)
In other news, we also got some free livestock. The day after we got back, we took delivery of an 8 year old thoroughbred gelding. Over the past couple of months, we've been hunting half of England for a horse that would suit my bride and yet be big enough that my toes didn't dig tracks in the dirt while riding. In the end, we found the perfect candidate within 20 miles of our house. The sweet part of the deal is that 'Buzz' (the horse's registered name is "Tip of the Bottle", but the most recent owner didn't care for this and changed it to "Infinity and Beyond" - which led to his nickname - this tickles the Critter to death, considering she's got a talking plastic Buzz Lightyear on her bedside shelf. To top it off, Buzz's stable mate is named "Nemo") didn't cost us anything. He's 'on loan' for a couple of years, as his owner wants to start a family. All tack & gear included. So we just have to pay for a stall and pasture space - sounds good, right?
Of course, a horse eats the equivalent of a Ford Escort in feed every 48 hours, and we have to pay for that too. Oh, and Buzz is allergic to dust. So he eats a special hay called 'haylage.' (Turns out this hay 'allergy' is one of the latest trends in the equine world. The secret of a trend is having a catchy name.) Haylage is - you guessed it - more expensive than your regular hay. And to top it off, his first day in the pasture he threw a shoe. So he's got to be carted into the ferrier this week for a new one. Oh yeah, we don't have a horse trailer, so we have to hire one of those too.
Man, free horses are great.
Still, we both got to take him out for a hack in the countryside (before the shoe-throwing). It was drizzling and cold, but it's already made the hassle worth-while.