8 März 2022

Well I am on day 1 1/2 of semi bachelor hood this week.  Julie has meetings all week with all the executives around the world.  They decided to hold the meetings in Zürich.  She decided that with how late the meetings would go it made more sense to just stay at the hotel.  So I am on day two of eating fondue for dinner!  I will probably gain 20 pounds while she is gone, because I am eating all the stuff she won't let me eat very often when she is here! 

Just like people in the US are complaining about rising prices we have the same problems here.  Gas is about $9 per gallon, but thank goodness for great public transportation we do not have to drive that often.  We were shocked at how quickly the prices have gone up though.  We were going to visit Vienna, Austria next weekend, but decided to cancel the trip.  On Saturday, I was looking at air fare, and it was going to cost us about $150 each for flights.  I did not book, because Julie had not heard if she could have the day off.  I checked yesterday afternoon, and the flights had more than doubled to about $360 per ticket.  Now that Covid restrictions are being lifted, we thought we would be able to travel again, but it looks like war in Europe will put a damper on that one!

I know this is going to seem strange, and you would think I would already know this.  Europe is a lot bigger than we think about in the US.  The reality is that Europe is BIGGER than the US.  Since the US is one of the largest countries and Europe is one of the smaller continents, it tends to mess up our minds.  For the last two years we have not been able to really even think about planning trips outside of Switzerland, and now that we can I keep forgetting the size.  There are still a lot of amazing places we can go on a three day weekend. Basically we are limited to Eastern France, Southern Germany, Northern Italy, and Western Austria.  For example Vienna is 1.5 hours by plane, but 8 hours by car. Close enough to drive, but not on a three day weekend!   

Speaking of war.  I had an interesting online talk with a friend back in the US. He made a comment about getting out of here and heading back to the US. Honestly, I do not know any more than anyone else, but my feeling on this is that if the fighting expands enough where I need to feel worried here in Switzerland, then all my friends in the US need to feel worried as well. My feeling is that if the war spreads beyond Ukraine, it will be so much bigger that location may not matter.  

Venice Part 2

One of the most fascinating sites in all of Venice is St Mark’s Basilica. St Mark’s was started in 828 AD. History says the remains of Saint Mark (The Evangelist) were brought to the city from Alexandria. The original church is long gone. The church had at least three iterations before the current church was started in 1063. It took about 30 years for the church to be consecrated.

The domes and upper walls of the church have been covered with 91,000 square feet of gold mosiacs. One of the most impressive things to see is the Pala d’Oro (translated as Golden Cloth). This altarpiece was originally started in 976 AD. In 1345 the piece was redone. The altar piece is 3 meteres by 2 meters and is made with gold, silver, and many jewels. There are 526 pearls, 330 garnets, 320 emeralds, 255 sapphires, 183 amethysts, 175 agates, 75 rubies, 34 topazes, 16 carnelians, and 13 jaspers.

Pala d’Oro

The top section has St Mark in the center, and the images on each side are images depicting the life of Christ. The bottom section tells the life of St Mark. I wish my picture did it justice. It was one of the most amazing things I have seen in Europe.

The Basilica is not as impressive in regards to size as some of the other big churches we have seen, but in some ways to me it was even more impressive than St Peters in Rome. The amazing thing is that the church is still standing. The plaza in front of St Mark’s is the lowest place in the city; so it floods regularly. All around the sides of the church, you can see where they are trying to shore up the foundation.

So that about covers Venice. I am really glad we got the chance to go. Hopefully Kaylee will be able to visit us after the Holidays this year, because I know she would enjoy the museums in the city!

Below is a video of our gondola ride. I left the original sound so you could hear both how quiet and loud the gondola ride was.

This last video was made walking back from our dinner the first night to our hotel. You get a really good idea of what the streets in Venice are like. There is almost no such thing as a straight line. At one point, I was trying to get us to the Rialto Bridge from our hotel room. I looked at the map and thought I had it down. We wound up over 1/2 a mile from where I wanted to be! It was really frustrating.

Most of the pictures below are from St Mark’s.
As always, I hope you enjoy the pictures, and if you like the blog, please subscribe.

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