Venice is refreshed….

A balcomy overlooking the Rialto.

It is Wednesday in Venice and when I awoke at 7:30 I could hear the sprinkling of rain on the window.  The Hotel Monaco provides a continental breakfast like none in the US.  The tray was delivered with my selection of cappuccino,  a basket of breads, including fresh croissants, two type of muffins and small rolls, plus four different jellies,butter, and cappuccino in a white coffee cup with a lid to keep it warm accompanied by a pitcher with additional warm milk and froth. Am I dreaming?  I ate, showered and walked out into the narrow street with the umbrella provided by the hotel to browse the shops along the portico of St. Marks square.

It was raining too hard to walk across the square so I slowly made my way around the circumference which took about an hour.  I was searching for just a few more gifts for my list.  I wanted to get the best price and the best items.  After making the round once, I returned to the shops that had my favorite choices.  I made my purchases and decided to sit for a minute and listen to the violin, clarinet and accordion at the Florian Restaurant and Tea Room.
I had decided to find an appropriate gift for Tom.  In 26 years of marriage, I have rarely found a gift he truly loves. He does not like anyone to purchase clothing for him.  He likes work out clothes and some sports related items, but that is about it.  There is, however, one piece of jewelry that he likes. Not rings or bracelets, but he does love watches.  He has in then past either received the watches as awards, or has purchased the watch after much investigation.  I have been looking at watches throughout the trip and I think this is what I would like to do for him.
I enter several shops looking for a legitimate authorized dealer of brand name watches.  After several stops and much haggling, I decide on ” the one” and make my purchase.  It qualifies for duty free paperwork and I complete he appropriate papers and walk out of the store with a beautiful bag with a box and the information and catalog .  I am happy because I feel Tom will love my choice as much as I do.
One more tip about purchasing items in Europe.  If you exceed 150 euros, you are entitled to a refund of tax..duty free..that equates to around the amount of the exchange rate in American dollars.  So, it can mean from $25  up.  You must have the store complete the paperwork, you add your name, address and passport number signature and the original is given to you with a receipt.  When you are at the airport, you need to have the paperwork completed before you get on the plane.  The refund will be made in cash or as a credit on your card.  Very important for large purchases.
My dream vacation is about to come to an end.  The feeling is bittersweet as I miss my family and home, yet I truly love Italy and feel certain to return soon.  After discovering so many wonderful things, I want to share it all with those I love.
I return to my suite at the beautiful Hotel Monaco and repack my suitcase for the final journey home just as the afternoon sun peers through the sky and dries up the rain on the stone walks.  Venice is refreshed and soon the streets will be filled with people searching for a wonderful Venetian meal.

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