We had a great tour of St. Mark’s and the Doge’s Palace this morning before being set free to wander the streets of Venice. Gus and I headed the opposite direction of the tourist traffic and found a lovely spot for lunch and then leisurely walked back to the meeting point through side streets and alleys, which would open up suddenly to hidden vistas and architectural wonders. Though Venice was completely packed with cruise traffic, we could find little corners all to ourselves. On the way to the concert venue tonight, we were at a standstill on the road for about an hour and a half. A fuel tanker was on fire about half a mile in front of us. People made the most of their unplanned stop–they got out of their cars to talk to one another and share water and snacks. I could not have imagined anything of the like happening in the US. There were no horns and no foot stomping in indignant protest. There’s something to be said for the Italian attitude toward whatever comes. At any rate, there was no time for a rehearsal, so we went to dinner and then the venue. The kids had 30 minutes to warm up, as they were still setting up the stage when we finally arrived. The venue was lovely, but the stage much too small for a 40 piece wind symphony. Gus’ piano bench was so close to the edge of the stage, I worried about whether he might tumble off. The group rose to the occasion and delivered an amazing concert. A local music critic was there and pronounced the show, “one of the best things she’s ever heard” (loosely translated). We got back to the hotel around 12:30 am and promptly crashed. It’s off to Florence this morning for our next tours and concert. We are having a wonderful time. Happy 4th of July. Incidentally, the favorite piece of the night was “Stars and Stripes Forever” the Italian audience clapped along and gave us a rousing congratulations on our Independence Day. Lovely audience and people.