When we last left our heroes, they had spent a short and uncharacteristically disastrous time in Venice. We now pick up the story a week later after the hillbillies have visited northern Italy, confirmed that V is for both vendetta and Venice, and returned to the London fog. Let's watch!

After leaving Venice, our vacation started taking a turn more in line with our expectations. It was a three hour drive, mostly through mountains, to our ultimate destination but it was worth it. Among the hotel's better amenities: a separate room for Syd (with a bunk bed no less), a spa, and a zip line, which is a playground device designed for maximum speed/fun (i.e. minimum safety).

Our companions for the week were the Donaldsons who were amazingly gracious hosts, especially since they don't live in Italy either. And there is still a good eighty to eight-five percent chance I would still say that even if I didn't know they read this blog. At the very least, they are more diligent at putting up pictures than I am.

Activities ranged from a family bike ride to a nearby town followed by a parents-only bike ride back to the hotel. Sam and Ana, the younger Donaldsons, made the trip while hardly breaking a sweat. Syd did too mostly because she spent it in a child side on my bike. (The Bahamas is hardly what you would call "bike-friendly".)

Also went hiking in the Alps (not the Swiss Alps, mind you, but impressive nonetheless) and visited a local castle, of which there are many. Seems building a castle was the medieval version of "pissing for distance" given how many of them spot the landscape.

The missus and I also celebrated nine years together during our trip. And as you all know, the ninth is the "atomic diarrhea" anniversary and I celebrated in grand style! (And judging from the port-o-potty I almost used in a nearby town, someone else also observed nine years.) I swear it was from a stomach bug but some have argued that it was psychosomatic.

We returned to Venice for a night, which was just long enough for Syd to get food poisoning, leading her to conclude that our family was allergic to Venice. Luckily, it subsided before we had to board the plane to London although she did get airsick just for good measure. When we politely asked the flight attendant if we could get a fast pass for British customs, not only did she refuse, we were admonished for bringing a sick child on the plane. My response: Can you repeat that? I can't hear you over the hacking from the other flight attendant.

So we landed in what I thought was a dense fog but I later discovered it was the whole of London taking one last puff before the country went smoke-free the next day. As luck would have it, we landed on the same day Picadilly Circus was being defused. But despite my wish to barricade myself in the hotel, the girls wanted one last night out in London.

And thank God for women's intuition. We left the hotel and followed the sound of music to Trafalgar Square. Syd was the first to figure out what was going on: DADDY! THEY'RE CELEBRATING CANADA DAY!

And there was much merriment going on. We wandered through the booths, acquiring much red and white memorabilia. Syd got a "Canadian Girls Rock" tattoo which lasted several days. There was live music by several bands I didn't recognize plus Sam Roberts, who I still don't recognize but I was in the minority. Compared to the bands before him, he was a little generic for my tastes. Syd was very patriotic, though, and showed it by screaming a lot.

Alas, all good things. Syd and I made our way to Calgary for the summer and Liza back home to Nassau. We are left with fond memories supported by pictures (because we all know what my memory is like). And many, many thanks to Scott, Alex, Sam, and Ana for what Syd has described as our best vacation ever.

Except for Venice.