The Wheaten Princess departed Marseille and sailed for Italy. The sea was calm and the deepest blue. The sky was red as the sun went down, and our friends eagerly looked forward to their arrival in Naples, followed by the journey by air to Venice.

Killian, Tuckerotti and Brady travelled with them, but had to attend rehearsals in between touring with their friends. Killian was determined to miss nothing!

The first attraction, as you might imagine, was to sail down a canal in a Gondola. HOW ROMANTIC! 

But there were different types of boats to choose from. Some were the romantic, traditional kind, while others, which weren't really 'Gondolas', were fitted with outboard motors. Some of our friends preferred the modern boats, as they seemed more stable.

There was a rush for available ones and, as they couldn't carry a large number of passengers, many of our friends had to stand in line and wait! Brandi B and Teddy were the first in!

Some minor dramas were being acted out at this point. Bailey was nursing his hurt pride on learning that Katie T had accepted the invitation by Guinness N to go on a gondola. He decided to toss it off casually, and invited Katie S to accompany him.  Male pride! 

Tuckerotti was not pleased to learn that the Gondolier who owned the second boat was off on his lunch break!

Sister Ella was not confident that these slim contraptions were safe, and Scooch was suggesting to Rudy that they try elsewhere.
Fortunately there were vacant boats further down, and another group of passengers were heading for those.
Those who were in search of the traditional 'Gondolas' found exactly what they were looking for. However, they didn't appear too  secure for some, who feared either falling out, or meeting with some other mishap along the watery way! Buddy's heart-throb, Maeve, declined his invitation, so he asked Kansas, who was more than willing!
St Mark's Square was a popular place to visit, and the members of the Band were there, along with several other members of the crew. The ballerinas were in the company of Hurley, and they had attracted a press photographer who must have heard about their performance in Marseille. The Captain was taking good care of Bella Beachbunny, and Bailey Beachboy had plans for dinner, or so it seemed!

Our two 'dizzy blondes' also had plans - and it appeared that they included Doctor Charlie! Certainly Tess and Lexi had their big brown eyes on him - though he wasn't aware of it - YET!

Shadow was in a hurry to get somewhere, and it must have been something interesting to make him put on speed, except when at the piano!
There was such a lot to take in, in Venice. There was something for everyone, and even though some did not feel inclined to venture out in a boat, they were thrilled with the buildings, the history and - the food!
Meanwhile, Cooper hadn't completely given up on his 'private investigation' into the 'Elusive Miss Emma'! He had Murphy V on side, and the two of them 'tailed' her again when they noticed her carefully slipping away from the other passengers.

She got into a motor boat, so they hailed one also, with the 'James Bond' type command to the driver - "FOLLOW THAT BOAT!"

The boys had experienced the taxi drivers in Rome, and they had to admit that the boat drivers in Venice were definitely their equal! They sped down one canal after another (the boys were hanging on!) until they saw Emma's boat pulling up outside some shops and apartment blocks. They motioned their driver to let them off a bit further down, and they set off after Emma.

She seemed uncertain of where she was going, and stopped to ask directions a couple of times. Finally, she entered a building which had shops opposite. The boys couldn't see what it was, because they dared not get too close in case she saw them.

They waited around outside, looking in shop windows, for what seemed ages. Then Emma emerged in the company of a lady, and Murphy V recognized some of the words exchanged as Russian!

Well and truly hooked, now, they continued to follow.

A happy little group found a classy restaurant and bar. The aroma of the food was more than they could resist and they went inside, hoping there was room for them all.

Finnegan G had asked Sweetie to have lunch with him. He had always admired her swimming abilities and had watched her on the TV during the recent championships. He was quite delighted when she agreed.

Keeleigh was with Murphy M, and Buddy had finally caught up with Maeve, after his unsuccessful attempt to get her to go on a gondola with him earlier. (Remember though, he had found another 'willing lady'!) 

Dasher arrived late, but not too late! 
After they left the boats and gondolas, there were other things to see and several of our friends were keen to explore other parts of the city.

Teddy and Brandi B, Scooch and Rudy, Griffin and Sydney, and Killian, with Sister Ella, Tuckerotti and Brady came across the bridge and joined together to do some sight seeing on Terra firma! They were joined later by Bailey and Katie S.

Then, there was an interesting development!  Bailey's heart jumped into his throat as Katie T and Guinness N walked casually up to them. The two Katies said 'hi' to each other, and Guinness N, who turned out to be the perfect diplomat, eased any tension there might have been by making a thoughtful and flattering comment.
Everyone was getting hungry, and several set out to find a good place to eat in comfort.

Lexi and Tess were successful in getting an invitation to lunch out of Dr Charlie. Also, as might have been expected (going by his track record), Hurley was there with the three lovely Ballerinas.

Cody was with Morgan, and Guinny with Keeva, but the big surprise of the day was to see Shadow entering with Kelsie! 

Kelsie, as always, was up for some fun and she commented on Hurley's 'harem'! But he and 'his girls' had a ready answer for her!
While most were eating, a small group was still exploring historical buildings. Boomer, our learned Egyptologist, was naturally interested in the carvings and architecture. He wanted to get a closer look at some statues, and climbed up to a window ledge to make a closer examination.

There were some interesting comments!

At least Maggie, and Cassie, one of his students, didn't think he was nuts!
Our romantic couples split off from the other groups in search of romantic places where they could be alone for a while. Captain Guiness and Bella Beachbunny found a pretty hotel with an outdoor restaurant, and it was the ideal place to be alone and talk of future plans.

They soon discovered that they weren't the only ones to get the same idea. It wasn't long before they were joined by other couples from the Wheaten Princess. The atmosphere still remained private, however, as they were each absorbed in their own 'tender moments'!

To add to the atmosphere, somewhere, someone at a piano was playing the very beautiful song, 'Summertime In Venice'.  How very appropriate!
Click on the pause button of first tune to stop play. Then click on the white arrow below to start playing the second tune.
   (you might need to turn volume up!)
Cooper and Murphy V were continuing to tail Emma and the unknown lady she had visited. They seemed to be making for a particular restaurant, no doubt to have lunch, so the boys followed at what they thought was a safe distance.

To their surprise, when they turned a corner into a courtyard, there was no sign of the girls! That is, not until Emma suddenly appeared and angrily confronted them!
Both boys were lost for words and, very  embarrassed! They were like two naughty little boys caught with their paws in the cookie jar!

Murphy V explained as best he could about how they had been intrigued by her mysterious behaviour and, well, they just couldn't resist a mystery!

Emma looked at them with narrowed eyes as she summed the two of them up.  She remembered how Murphy V had saved them from the bomb that the terrorists had set, and how Cooper had also helped to save them all. Her gaze softened, and she gestured for them to follow her and her 'cousin' - as it turned out - into the restaurant where they could discuss the situation over lunch.

Once they were seated and had placed their orders, Emma took a sip of her wine and began to tell them an amazing story.

It began many years ago during the Russian Revolution. There had been an aristocratic family related to the Romanovs who had fled from mother Russia, and were exiled in France.

Over the years their members had married other 'royal exiles' and though they remained loyal White Russians, they never did return to their native homeland, not even after Communist Rule ended. Emma's canine relatives had belonged to these Russian Royals. Some had made the USA their home, and Emma's parents came from one such family.

While they tucked in to their delicious Italian salad, the boys listened as the mystery unfolded.

Emma had gone in search of her relatives in France, and the last resting place of their human owners who had escaped from the Bolsheviks. She found their graves in that Paris cemetary.

She then employed a PI to find her living relatives, and this was how she had found her cousin in Venice.

"So there, you have it," she said with a smile. "My life story!"

Murphy V was full of admiration for this remarkable lady who was, in fact, a Russian Princess!

Cooper was thinking what a scoop this story would be, but he respected Emma, and would not print a word without her permission.

After the meal, the boys split the bill and graciously left the two cousins to themselves. They would intrude upon their privacy no longer.

In another part of Venice, Abby and Bailey Beachboy were looking for somewhere special to have a quiet, private lunch. Bailey BB found just the place. A secluded hotel with a very classy restaurant. He hoped no one else had found it before him, because he wanted to be alone with Abby.

Once inside, it proved to be all he hoped for, and the food was wonderful!
The day began to draw to a close, and Tobey had taken Miss Reilly to a beautiful restaurant for dinner. He was thrilled to see that she was wearing the diamond studded collar that he had given to her on their Engagement.

It had a magnificent view, and the sun was setting in a radiant pink sky. They dined by candle light and Tobey, being a romantic lad, expressed his thoughts and feelings in quite a poetic way - much to Miss Reilly's delight!
So the day came to an end and another day dawned. This was the morning of the very special day when Killian would make her debut in Puccini's Opera, TOSCA.  What an exciting experience that would be. Everyone was looking forward to this event.

Back at their hotel, Morgan and Cody were having breakfast together and dreaming of their future.
The day passed quickly and everyone was getting ready to leave for the Opera House. The Captain and Lt.Abby had been informed about Emma's Royal title, and they had elected to escort the lady to the Opera, and to the Royal Box.

To read all about the NIGHT AT THE OPERA, please click on the link below.
Copyright - A P - 2009 -2010
I wish to thank JUDY G  for providing me with most of the beautiful pictures of Venice that I have used in this chapter.

Thanks Judy! I hope you enjoy it.