The Venice Experiment

I read this book about Venice called “The Venice experiment” by Barry Frangipane, an American whose mother is Italian and comes from a town close to Venice.

Him and his wife Deborah took a year of and moved to Venice.  It is a really good read and funny too especially if you like Italians or like to get to know them.

In his book he writes about some people he meet in Venice and friends he made and different cafes, markets and stores etc. We have found some of these people and stores and that has been a great and special experience. It has been really fun. Because of the book we have seen Venice with different eyes.

This is their Facebook page

Venice Exp 2Carlos in his Alaska Gelateria

Venice Exp 3The old Jewish quarter Venice Exp 4The Jewish Quarter in Cannaregio Venice Exp. 5 Venice Exp. 6 little jewish boy having lots of fun at the drinking fountain in the Jewish quarter

Venice Exp. 9Fishmarket every morning close to the Rialto Bridge

Venice Experiment 1Simone and Gloria from Art Murano Glass store in Cannareggio, Venice

Venice Accomodation – in Ca Savio

Arielle likes the place we are staying at called Camping Ca’ Savio too. I think her favorite parts of the holiday are the swimming pools, the warm weather, the beach and the gelato (ice-cream). In the first week there was still Kids animation which was great. Unfortunately they were only here one more week as the school holidays in all of Europe were over by then. In the evenings they had an hour of happy Kids disco and on the last night Arielle got us all up and dancing. That was fun!

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Venice Islands -Murano, Burano and Torcello

We also did a round trip to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello with the  “Marco Polo” Tour-company. They islands can also be reached easily by vaporetto. Murano is known for its glass blowing. About 70 glass blowers work on a small island.

Burano used to be only a fishing village but is so nice and colourful. We liked it a lot. It is definitely worth a visit. Torcello is very close to Burano and is super small. It has only one street from one end to the other along a canale. It is known for its two churches. One with a well known beautiful mosaic.


P1010223Murano Glass blower making a Vase


P1010239You find Glass art everywhere in Murano like this door bell

P1010302P1010273The only street through the little island of Torcello

P1010281small Church build in 1200 in Torcello

P1010288Stone seat in Torcello



There is a day pass for only 18 Euro called HelloVenetia that is really deal. You can use that on any bus (on lido or Punta Sabbioni), Vaporetto, ferry etc.


Arielle says: “I think Venice is a very pretty place!

I especially like it because everywhere you look there is water.

One thing you should know is that Venice has lots of tourists.

We have to go on a lot of boats but we didn’t get to go on a gondola because it costs too much. I like the special Venice masks a lot. They wear them at the Carnival festival ”


Jamila says: “Venice is so interesting because it is built on water. To build Venice they had to cut 3 million trees. There are no cars in the entire town. They have to park outside of the town and people just walk or take boats called vaporettos (like a Bus on water) as a mean of transport. Everybody also has a carello (little trailer to pull along). And the local mail service, courier etc. all gets delivered with a little trailer too.

P1010110 It is very busy with tourists in the main streets between main attractions of piazza San Marco (the biggest place) and Rialto Bridge. But it is nice to get of the main routes and walk the back streets (calles) and see where the locals live and find pizzerias and cafes that the locals use. Some of the calles are so narrow that you can’t even stretch out your arms to the side barely just being able to pass another person. It is good to have a map but nobody can get lost here because there are signs everywhere pointing you in the direction of Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco.


A good way to get around is really parts walking and parts taking the vaporettos (local boats). Once we took the vaporetto all down the grand canale from beginning to end (which passes 50 pallazi) that is from Piazza Roma all down to the end at Piazza San Marco (the most famous and popular place). Or the vaporetto 1 also continues all the way to the lido island. A beach just outside of Venice where locals like to go and that is a bit upmarket. International film festival is held here every year in September. ”

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More of Paris – (and our highlight)

  • Pantheon
  • Garden of Luxembourg
  • Going up to the top of the Eiffel Tower 

The Pantheon is an amazing building and looks a bit like the Pantheon in Rome. That must be why it was called the Pantheon because it wasn’t intended to be a copy of the Italian version but rather a church. Later the public renamed it.

From here we had a short walk to the garden of Luxembourg. What a nice garden with so many flowers. There are a lot of great gardens and parks and wide Boulevards in Paris. We heard that the garden at Versailles castle is the best but unfortunately we didn’t get there. In the garden of Luxembourg were a lot of people doing exercise like jogging, walking, Yoga, Tai Chi etc. I thought to myself – What a great place to exercise!

We wanted to go up to the top of the Eiffel tower so on the 4th day we got up early to try and beat the crowd at the tower. We got there half an hour before the lifts open and there was already a queue but not too bad. So after only one hour of waiting we were in the lift moving up. That was a bit scary as it is a very open lift going through this open structure of the tower. We all agree that this was our highlight of Paris. The view was out of this world and we were lucky to have had a very fine day. It is difficult to put this experience into words. It was just amazing!

Paris is called the city of lights and love and now we know why. When we went out in the evenings to see Paris by night it was a great sight. There is something about Paris, a feeling that I can’t describe.

We found the French in Paris to be really friendly and helpful. When we only tried to use our little French that we know than they wouldn’t mind speaking to us with the bit of English they knew. We visited the same small Pizzeria “Girasole” two nights in a row because the food was so good and they were extremely friendly. On the second night they made a Pizza for Arielle in a heart shape. That just summed it all up “We Love Paris!”  (Jamila)

Good reads that I liked on Paris:

–          Blog with travelling tips on Paris by Alex Wagner –

–          “Bonjour 40” by Karen A. Chase-  A book which is like a Paris Travel Log

–          “Hidden in Paris” by Corine Gantz – A Novel

P1000722 P1000733 The PantheonP1000775 P1000740 Garden of Luxembourg P1000812 Lift up to the EifeltowerP1000821 P1000825 P1000832 Photo of building the Eiffel tower P1000823 The red spot is the lift P1000843 P1000851 Heart Pizza P1000869 Paris by nightP1000874 P1000894P1000790P1000800

Paris – Day 2

Day 2

We took the Metro to Pont Marie and walked to an old cathedral called Notre Dame.

This is a special year because Notre Dame is turning 850 years old. We went inside the cathedral and there was some holy water in a huge bowl standing there. The water was blessed by the priest and you could mark your forehead with it. In the church I lit a candle for my granddad who is 93 and lives in New Zealand.

There is a story about Notre Dame: “There was a man with a hunched back who was called Quasi-modo. He was left at the cathedral when he was a baby and the church took him in. Every day he rang the church bells. He fell in love with this beautiful gypsy woman called Esmeralda. There was another man who liked her too and asked if she would marry him but she said no. So to get his revenge he accused her of being a witch knowing that she would then be burnt. When she was about to be burnt, Quasi-modo swung down from the tower of Notre Dame. He rescued her by taking her up to the tower of the church. “

From there we went to the Louvre Museum and saw the big glass pyramids at the entrance. We didn’t go in though because there was such a long queue and it would have taken hours.

That night we went to Montmatre to see the Sacre cour church and the old town.  The view was beautiful. We saw some people eating snails, YUK!!!!!!! After that we went looking around for an artist that could do a portrait of me. There were lots of different artist and it was hard to choose one. Then we finally found an artist. We let him draw a picture of me and I had to sit still for an hour. My neck really hurt afterwards but it was worse it in the end because he did such a brilliant job!!!!! I was really tired after that and we went back to the hotel for a long sleep. (Arielle)

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Paris Day 1

We got to Paris by train it was a long and exciting ride.

And guess what we went on one of the fastest train in the world the only way you can go faster is on a plane. The train is called Thalys.

When we got there we took a Metro to our hotel.

After we had checked into our hotel we took another Metro to the Eiffel Tower.

When we got out of the Metro we went around the corner and there was the Eiffel Tower.


Then we went for a little walk around Paris.

We walked over the river Seine up a big street called the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triumph. It was a very nice start to our Paris adventure.

(by Arielle)

We have been in Paris and came back late Saturday evening. We stayed there for 4 nights and really loved it. Paris is such an amazing city with so much to see and do. We walked around a lot and used the a lot Metro as well. It was nice to hear Arielle’s reaction when on the first day we turned around the corner and there was the first sight of the Eiffel tower. She stood there with eyes and mouth wide open and said “Wow!” That was so nice to see. (Jamila)

P1000535First sight of the Eiffel tower. Arielle just said “Wow”!

P1000538Eiffel tower

P1000546Rue de Cler

P1000559Pont Alexander 3rd (Bridge)

P1000561P1000564Pont Alexandre with view onto Museum

P1000574 P1000572Champs Elysee Street going up to the Arc de Triumph

P1000583Arc de Triumph

Alzey (South-west of Mainz)

We visited Alzey, which is south of Mainz. Even though Alzey is not that far from my home town or village Ohlenberg (only 2 hours on a train) I have never been to Alzey until a friend of mine moved there.

I was quite surprised to see how large and pretty Alzey is and that it has a nice old castle. Seeing all these castles here in Germany is something that you just take for granted when you live here. But because I have lived abroad and come to visit the country again I come to realize how special it is and to appreciate to have such a lot of old history and culture here in Germany at our doorstep. Quite different to New Zealand. (Jamila)

Wikipedia says:

Alzey (German pronunciation: [ˈaltsaɪ] ( listen)) is a Verband-free town – one belonging to no Verbandsgemeinde – in the Alzey-Worms district inRhineland-PalatinateGermany. It is the fourth-largest town in Rhenish Hesse, after MainzWorms, and Bingen.

The earliest traces of settlement in the Alzey area go back as far as the Neolithic. Alzey was founded as a vicus (village) in the Roman province ofGermania Superior in the lands surrounding Mogontiacum (Mainz).[2]

On a Nymphenstein (“nymph stone” – a kind of Roman altar stone).[3] Alzey had its first documentary mention in 223 as Vicani Altiaienses (“Villagers of Alzey”).

More here

Alzey #1

Arielle pushing over the statue. Didn’t know she was so strong.

Alzey mit Kimi #2

Alzey #5Alzey #8



Alzey Castle Alzey - Castle #2Alzey - Castle #1Alzey Castle #5Alzey Castle #10Alzey Castle #4

Beautiful Heidelberg

A few days ago we visited the beautiful town of Heidelberg. We went to see the Heidelberg castle and because the castle was so high up on the hill we had to take a special train up the hill to get there. We got to go inside a small part of the castle. It was nice inside. I liked it. (by Arielle) Gate into Heidelberg Castle P1000396   P1000399   P1000415

Open Air Stage for evening show of  “The Three Musketeers” P1000418     P1000419

P1000406View from Castle to the famous Old Bridge also called Karl-Theodor Bruecke. One of the famous icons of Heidelberg. Karl- Theodor Bruecke (Bridge) P1000380 P1000386   P1000388Neckar River

More Photos of Heidelberg. P1000369P1000366P1000433 P1000359P1000362P1000391P1000367

Bonn in Germany



Last Friday we visited Bonn. Beethoven was born in Bonn. This photo at the Beethoven statue on Muensterplatz was taken just before I got stung by a Bee my very first time. Ouch! That hurt.



This is me in front of the House where Beethoven was born in 1770. It is a small house not far from the Market place in the city center. Now there is a Beethoven museum inside the old house.



(In this House Ludwig van Beethoven was born on the 17th Dezember 1770)



Bonn’s Marketplace with Rathouse



You might have heard of the famous company Haribo, who makes the yummy german Gummi bears and other nice sweet treats. Haribo comes from Bonn too, just like Beethoven. They are yummy!

Some more photos of Bonn:





it was so hot that the city council gave everybody free water. I liked the sparkling water best.

(by Jamila and Arielle)