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Venice and gondolas go together like pasta and meatballs, pepperoni and pizza, monkeys and bananas.  You get the idea.  You can’t really have one without the other and these fascinating boats are irresistible.  It is estimated that in the 19th century there were more than 10,000 of these flat bottomed boats plying the canals of Venice.  Today there are about 500 and most of these are used to haul tourists like Kongo around.

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_MG_9379After four magical days in Venice, the monkey’s ship came in and they sailed off into the Ionian Sea.  On the last day, Kongo took a guided walking tour through a part of the city he hadn’t seen before.

_MG_9157On the monkey’s third day in Italy, he and Mrs. Kongo took a water taxi across the water to the little island of Murano to check out a glass factory and see the sights.  In the image above, rods to hold the glass being worked are being heated in the oven.  Murano is about half a mile north of Venice, accessible only by water.  Hundreds of years ago city fathers moved all glass making activity to this little island in order to prevent fires in Venice and to ensure the proprietary glass-making process developed in Venice was kept away from the prying eyes of competitors.

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With all deference to Shakespeare, this monkey is not the Merchant of Venice.  The little simian is not a money lender and has no ships at sea carrying expensive cargos soon to kiss the bottom of the ocean.  Instead, the monkey is set on keeping Mrs. Kongo from meeting any of the real merchants of Venice who peddle expensive shoes, hand bags, and fashionable clothes.  The monkey’s plan to keep Mrs. Kongo away from the real merchants is to keep her walking along the canals and through the narrow streets and that’s exactly what he did yesterday on his second day in Italy.

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So the monkey finally climbed down from his treehouse, found the airport and headed back to Europe to check some more spots off his bucket list.  Yesterday morning, after an all night flight from ATL, Mrs. Kongo and the Monkey arrived in Venice after a brief layover in Milan to get gas and wait for the fog in Venice to clear.  Wow!  What an amazing city.