December 12
We Ran Away to Italy!

That's right -- I'm going to impose another Gomberg Family Travelog Slideshow on you!! And there isn't a single kite in the whole thing!!

Birthday in Venice

Regular readers know that each December, I reach into our bank of frequent flier miles and whisk Susie away someplace exotic for her birthday. It's a crazy time to travel, but then when isn't?? We've done about thirty shows this year and already have three bookings for February. The holidays are upon us and the Trade Show is looming. So I'm sure there are days when Susie would prefer to just stay home, turn off the phones and computers, and build a cozy fire.

But there is a huge, exciting world out there full of beauty, history, and adventure. The hard part is choosing where to go! And besides -- it is important to force nice things on your wife!! So this year, we packed our coats, gloves, and fashionable scarves and few off to romantic Venice! The result?? Just look at that smile!

Birthday in Venice Birthday in Venice Birthday in Venice

We flew direct from Portland to Frankfurt and then connected to Marco Polo Airport, arriving in the early evening. From there, the shuttle boat took forty minutes to deliver us to the edge of Saint Mark's Square.

Our destination was the Caveletto-Doge Orseolo Hotel. I'd purposely chosen an older classic inn, centered in the city, and called ahead to plead for a special room. We found ourselves in a second floor suite that looked out over the canal and footbridge. At first light, we were in the breakfast room sipping chocolate and watching the drama unfold at the neighboring gondola port.

Caveletto Hotel Caveletto Hotel Caveletto Hotel Caveletto Hotel

We never did take a gondola ride. Maybe it was a hesitance to be too touristy. Maybe it was more fun to watch. Or maybe it was the $90 price for 40 minutes. I'm not cheap -- but I do like value for my money. Besides, the inexpensive shuttle boats were nearly empty, the city was enjoyable to walk, and the fast water taxis to the glass factories were free. We threw ourselves into the art, architecture, culture and history of Venice.

City Tour City Tour City Tour

The floating metropolis, build on marshes and pilings, was not a simple medieval city. They were a powerful, progressive and proactive force that dominated the Mediterranean both economically and militarily. In the 800's, city fathers literally stole the body of their patron saint from Alexandria and brought it to the Basilica. In the 1200's the Doge organized a fourth crusade which conquered and then pillaged Constantinople (Istanbul). The result not only brought the riches of Bizantium to Venice, but also eliminated their only major economic rival in the region.

City Tour City Tour City Tour

So the vast mosaics, glowing structures, and wonderful paintings all need a context. The romantic Bridge of Sighs was an elevated passage from the courts to prison where the condemned glimpsed the outside world one last time through small windows. The magnificent guilded horses above the city square were taken from Constantinople. And the claustrophobic Jewish quarter was the world's first ghetto. Our visit on December 9 was the 60th anniversary of the Nazi deportations in 1944.

City Tour City Tour City Tour

After three perfect days in Venice, we boated back to the mainland and our flights home. We found Oregon as we had left it -- blustery and damp. But in our short absence two large deliveries had arrived from the Factory. So we are now in a packing frenzy, working to make sure all of these custom designs are properly delivered on holiday schedule.

We have another big box arriving tomorrow and one final shipment next week. If you want something special, there is still time to have it made, shipped in, and delivered to you. And that, friends, is more amazing than even Venice was!!

Fun Octo

Need a last minute stocking stuffer -- or better yet, a well-deserved gift for yourself?? How about one of our "Fun Size" Mini Octopus??

We've got purple, red, black, yellow, and orange in stock. Each kite is 12 feet long, and enhanced with extended suckers for stability and bubble-eyes for appearance.

Normal pricing is $70 each. But what the heck -- it's the holidays!! So how about $55 while colors last.

Call soon!!

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