An Amazing Afternoon in Venice

IMG_1087We were intrigued by signs advertising “Homo Faber” everywhere. You couldn’t not see them. People were holding cards with the logo at vaporetto (water bus) stops, walls were covered with the sign, and our friends all raved. It was ending in a few days, there was no cost for admission, and a free shuttle would take you to its location at San Giorgio Maggiore Island. The subtitle was “Crafting a more human future.” We weren’t sure exactly what it was, but we knew we had to go, being lovers of crafts.

We made our way to the vaporetto stop and crowded onto the shuttle for the short ride across the Grand Canal. We all got off and headed for the main building. It was wonderful to see so many people interested in spending their day viewing and participating in crafts.

We noticed two exhibits in the program we wanted to be sure to see: “Poetry in Wood” and “Mesmerizing Embroidery.” At first, we didn’t know the exhibits were spread all over the whole island. We asked for these locations, but we didn’t understand the directions, so we just wandered, our usual style, and were rewarded.IMG_1056

One of the first rooms we came to was arranged like a museum. The exhibit that stood out for me was the wall of creepy, paper måché anti-smog masks. I think they were meant to be used; a scary image. They are made of various materials and contain active charcoal. They’re attached to a breathable fabric filter that covers the nose and mouth. Imagine seeing hordes of people, wearing these, and coming at you on the street!

IMG_4058We found “Poetry in Wood” and were impressed with their display: the tiny, polished pill boxes and the letters A, M, O, R, E, made of wood. They cleverly fit together and are inserted into a bigger box. We learned that this was originally a wedding gift. A unique treasure.

IMG_4087In the “Mesmerizing Embroidery” exhibit, two women were busily embroidering lace onto fabrics they were going to use to create beautiful dresses, like the ones shown. I was impressed by the intricate details and how engrossed they were in their work.

At one point we hunted for an elevator, because several exhibits were up a long flight of stairs, hard for us with my rollator walker. When we come to the many stairs over bridges, Gabriana lugs it over her shoulder, while I make my way, holding onto a railing and using my “stick.” Unfortunately, there were no signs for us to follow. A Red Cross worker heard us ask for directions, knew the elevator was not obvious, and came to our rescue. She opened one unmarked door, then another, to reveal our quest, surprising for a public exhibit.

IMG_4098When we got to the Mont Blanc booth, someone approached me and asked if I’d like to write something. I was a bit confused, but sat down. He handed me a succession of four different glorious pens, in increasing nib sizes, to try. The ink flowed beautifully. We later found out that my favorite, the largest, cost more than 6,000 Euros. Here is the page I wrote. As you can see, I got carried away.IMG_1224

We weren’t the only ones examining and enjoying the various pieces. I loved this profile of the woman and the blue vase.IMG_4107

Another of the rooms had interesting videos of artists, their stories, and works. You could either listen with headphones or read subtitles. We chose the quiet version. I watched six and noticed recurring themes. All had been influenced by parents or grandparents, who had introduced them to the joys of their art at early ages. All included them in their process and engaged their help. All grew up in nature, mostly forests. Their work today reflects this, often in workshops just like the ones they grew up in. It was heart-warming to see their continued enthusiasm.

IMG_1079And here is my very favorite: The feather fan guy. We walked up to his area and all these fans, made of peacock and other feathers, took my breath away. I think I surprised him with my exuberant reaction. He had some feathers he was working on, and he suddenly handed one to me. I was thrilled. When I looked for something to put it in, to carry home safely, he handed me a plastic envelope and added some more feathers. He showed us the four drawings he makes for a single fan. Each is a layer which allows you to see a beautiful design, whichever way you hold it. He uses the drawings to find the perfect feathers to create the pattern he intends. He works for a company in Paris, DUVELLEROY, that has made fans for queens since 1827. I could see why. Just being near those fans made me feel regal.IMG_4126

There were only two shuttles scheduled to go back, when we decided to leave, close to 7:00 p.m., so we rushed to try to catch one of them. Again, we were smashed in the waiting area. We looked around at our fellow captives and were surprised to see a familiar face, our new friend, Kris. We had met her a couple of nights before at the art cinema, when we were there with Elisa. She recognized her friend and came to join us. She had also rented Elisa’s apartment, the same one I did in 2010, and also became friends with her. We saw “Singing in the Rain,” with Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. Old classics are popular here.

At the shuttle stop, she squeezed over to us in the waiting area, and we inched onto the boat together. After we arrived on the other side of the canal, we all decided to stop for a spritz, one of my favorite customs here. As we navigated the narrow streets to Café Alla Bragora, where we used to go every day, we saw hundreds of others, sitting at outdoor tables at cafes along the way, socializing over appetizers, enjoying life in Venice.

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Signs in Venice?

We’re staying in an apartment in Venice, and our miniature refrigerator means we need to buy groceries regularly. Food shopping is an adventure here. Our restauranteur friend, Jonny, swears by the green grocer around the corner, for his produce. My favorites there were the crisp, green grapes and the round, tasty figs. He pointed out other small shops too, usually run by families, tucked into tiny, irregular spaces. The shopping area is a ghost town at night, since signs for the shops are inside the closed doors. Most are closed with shutters or roll-down steel doors.

IMG_1007Sometimes, even during the day, it’s hard to recognize the store you’re looking for. Gabriana and I were making our way behind a an important-looking building, situated on a concrete platform, with regal columns. It looked official to me. She casually mentioned that this was the Punto Simply grocery market we went to five years ago. I was taken aback. We’d entered from a different direction, and this was totally unfamiliar. You can only tell it is a supermarket by the walking traffic with market carts, and a peek at the produce when the doors briefly open for a customer. Another clue is the name of the store, nearly hidden behind bars in the sign above the door.

I remember from a previous trip being surprised by the signage announcing the opening of a supermarket. A scribbled message was handwritten in pencil on a wall on a main walkway, with an arrow pointing to the alley around the corner where the market was located. It also mentioned it was open on Sundays. Word-of-mouth seemed to be the best advertisement, because the market was filled with contented shoppers, including me, and pleasant clerks.

IMG_0962One day we were having gelato at our friend Davide’s shop, Mela Verde, and we needed to find a restroom. He didn’t have one, but he pointed out a little café down the street that did. Out in front was a propped-up sign, advertising gluten-free dishes. I recalled the disgusted customer at our local farmers’ market in California, walking off in a huff from the baker we were chatting with, because he didn’t have gluten-free cookies. I guess there are enough people around with her requirements to explain a sign like this.

IMG_0837Burger King is everywhere, in case you are worried. This sign amused me when we passed it. The incongruity. I remember one time in London more than 20 years ago when we were searching for a restroom (again). We asked an old woman selling something on the street, and she told us the “King’s Boiger,” right over there, has one. We still call it that.

IMG_3473And last, just for fun, is a treat we bought on our first day: Essei cookies and tiramisu. As you can see, we’re enjoying the food in Venice, especially the gelato and various sweets.

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Great to be back in Venice

img_0705This was my first view of Venice after traveling two days. It’s all reduced to a “T.” Venice is the horizontal top, and the highway and train tracks from the mainland, Mestre, are the vertical.

Arriving by train gives the most immediate feeling. The train pulls up, you step out, and are filled with fresh air and the wide open space of the Grand Canal. Arriving by air, this breathtaking view is less immediate, but gives you this exciting picture you can never see any other way.

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We are staying in an apartment of a former palace over a canal. That sounds fancier than it is. The front door of the building is on a bridge. The water door, with blue striped poles on either side, is the boat entrance, which leads into our kitchen. We were supposed to arrive there the first night, but the tide was too low, and no motor boats could enter the canal.

We can sit in our kitchen with the water door open and watch locals going by on their speedboats. So far we’ve seen only one gondola. I never realized how lovely and quiet they are. The open-air speed boats, and their shared music, remind me of traffic on our street at home.

Our sleeping room window is on the other side of the water door, above the white-covered boat. Luckily it’s screened, so we can leave the it open. This helps with the muggy heat wave unexpectedly hitting Venice now.

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This is the view from inside our sleeping room, looking out onto the canal. The window with the greenery on the right is the kitchen of Trattoria Da Jonny, a restaurant highly recommended by the friends who found us this apartment. We went there the second night to introduce ourselves and to try his tiramisu. He was so welcoming that Gabriana went back to ask him for neighborhood tips, and where to shop. While she was there, she called my name from across the canal. Jonny was so kind. He not only showed her where the shopping street is and where to buy the things we need, but did some research and got forms for us to apply for Venezia Unica cards. Now we have unlimited vaporetto (water bus) rides for the whole time we are here.

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This is the shared garden from all the apartments in our building. The double door in the center leads to a foyer with, of all things, a library. This lovely grassy spot is where Paisley insists to be taken, day or night. Especially in the middle of the night.

img_3531I’m learning how to negotiate steps over bridges with my rollator walker. Gabriana coached me with when to brake and when to step. Some kind people have offered to help, we thank them, and tell them we’re practicing. In this picture I’m happy to have found a ramp. We have come across a few and are grateful.

After we got our Venezia Unica cards yesterday, we did our usual wandering in the direction of the vaporetto, on the very narrow walking street, when we heard an American couple talking about their GPS and how it had JUST told them they arrived, after they had been searching for five minutes themselves, looking for the name of the restaurant where they had reservations. The only sign they found was on a faded doormat outside. We stopped to laugh and commiserate. We noticed the costume museum across the way and told them all about it. Angelina Jolie’s famous dress from “The Tourist” is on display inside.

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As we were talking, my friend, Elisa, passed us on her way home after seeing a film. This was a major coincidence. We were far away from our neighborhood. She asked us all to stop for a spritz. Don and Robin, the couple who turned out to be from California, decided they needed a walk before dinner.

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We went in the restaurant with Elisa and I had my favorite, an aperol spritz. It was nice to see her again. Don and Robin came in later and asked to join us. After a while, Elisa needed a walk, so the rest of us sat and chatted. It turns out they live in Campbell, California. We mentioned we used to go to the Kaiser Medical office there. Of all the doctors there, the four of us had the same two doctors. Another coincidence. Here is a picture of our happy, unplanned foursome. We closed down the restaurant, and vowed to see them in California.

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We finally got on a vaporetto around 10:35 p.m. I was comforted to see my favorite sign here, listing each stop, so you could follow the trip. We went from San Stae to Arsenale. By the way, few seats were left on the vaporetto, and when we arrived at our stop, the streets were full of people walking. This is my kind of city!

Read more about our Venetian adventures on my daughter Gabriana’s “Nosy Parker” blog, where she writes about good things each day!

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We’re going back to Venice!

I’m so excited. We just confirmed our lodgings — a studio apartment with a garden in Castello, near our old neighborhood. At the edge of the garden is a water door, opening onto a small canal, the same one bordering the home of my former landlady and friend, Elisa. She has just written, kindly offering to shop for any food we need to have there when we arrive.

We got our flights about the same time. We’re using miles, so we have to wait until the seats we want are available. My daughter, Gabriana, checked online often. The morning she came into my room with big smiles, I knew she had scored the tickets we wanted. We’re flying from San Francisco to Los Angeles, then to Zurich, and finally to Venice.

Gabriana will also be sharing stories of our Venetian adventures on her Nosy Parker blog, where she’s been writing about One Good Thing every day for the last few years. We’ll be celebrating her 1,000th entry while we’re in Venice.

If you are new to my blog, you are probably wondering why I love Venice so much.  If you have followed along before, you already know. From the first moment, I felt like I had finally come home. Everything suited me. The relaxed lifestyle. The small scale of the city. The vivacious people. The charming buildings. The winding canals. The fresh, delicious food. Especially the food. People were always out walking, at all times of the day and night. No cars. I loved getting lost and trying to find my way back. There was always something interesting to see. I was constantly inspired to draw and paint. I couldn’t stop smiling. Venice is in my blood. So I feel very lucky to be able to visit once again.

Part of the fun of this trip is the preparation. I didn’t want to leave you out, so I’m including some of the things we are doing to get ready.

When you think of Venice, you think of endless walking. Wonderful and exciting, but endless. I’m too slow with my “stick,” so my daughter found a rollator walker, which sets me free. I can walk much faster, and sit down on the seat when I get tired. We blinged it out, so it is an object of beauty and whimsy, not the avoidance or pity it first elicited. It has a cup holder and a light, and the seat opens for storage, perfect for my watercolors. The blinged version is on the right, photo-bombed by Paisley, our sweet Boston Terrier.

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The other way we are getting ready is by scouring the book, Clued In Venice, The Concise and Opinionated Guide to the City — with photos, by Dean Dalton and Andie Easton.  Between the hilarious recommendations from this guide, and the mouth-watering “Somebody Feed Phil” in Venice episode on Netflix, we have underlined a map with the places we want to go, and highlighted (color-coding, of course) the eating establishments nearby. We are going to plan our days around this map, besides our usual wandering and discovering. I’ll share the interesting things we find. With my rollator, I can easily stop and take pictures.

I will see you when we’re there and settled.

 

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Secret passages we’ve found

I brought my stool to draw the church, but got distracted by this door!

We’ve been keeping our eyes open and exploring sottoportegos along our paths. These are covered passages between buildings, which we have found lead us to surprising places.

The first one I remember was several years ago when I ducked out of the rain at Campo Santa Margherita and met PeggySue, from Massachusetts, who was also seeking shelter. We connected and became Facebook friends and even had a visit from her in California recently.

The mysterious tower that is always closed to the public, but advertises its hours in case it is open!

I can’t take credit for discovering this interesting tower, through a sottoportego, off Campo Manin. A friend showed it to me in 2010 and then another friend showed it to me last year, and when we were wandering with friends this year, we remembered and took them in to see it. It is the scala Contarini del Bovolo, a cylindrical brick tower with five floors of spiral staircases faced with white marble banisters, built in 1499. Here is a picture. Tour guides have discovered it too, so we were lucky to get there between groups. Perhaps you saw it featured in one of Gabriana’s videos from our trip recently?

Near our apartment is Campo Bandiera e Moro o de la Bragora where we recently enjoyed an outdoor evening celebration of the autumnal equinox. See Gabriana’s blog Nosy Parker for beautiful videos of that celebration. There are two ways to get to our street from the campo. We can either walk the long way around or sneak through a sottoportego and end up almost next door to where we live! The drawing I made of a door that I liked in the campo is at the top of this post.

A window over the sottoportego with a flower box. What could this room look like?

We were pleased with ourselves when we followed another sottoportego and found a shortcut to the vaporetto Arsenale. We had been walking a more complicated route to the stop at San Marco. This new way even has ramps instead of stairs to cross the bridge! When we get on the waterbus there, it is less crowded and we can more easily get seats. Yesterday on the way home, I looked up and found a charming window garden ON the sottoportego. If you look closely, you can see flowers. I stopped to take this photo, and caught Gabriana enjoying her gelato.

We were in the alley after the sottoportego.

And I just remembered, to get to the taverna and our campiello (little campo, or courtyard) by land last year, you had to go through a sottoportego and and alley. Here is a picture of Gabriana, Abby and me sharing an umbrella one day there last year.

During that trip last year, we met Severine and Marcel, who worked at our favorite taverna, Taverna al Remer. We became Facebook friends and have kept in touch. They took us out for dinner at a bar that Marcel had just discovered… at the end of a sottoportego. Here are some pictures. It was very charming inside, with bottles lining the walls and expensive cologne in the “toilette.” I especially liked the hanging laundry over the doorway to the bar. You can see more details if you click on this photo collage I created below.

Several views of this lovely hidden bar

Several views of this lovely hidden bar

Please also check out Gabriana’s blog “Nosy Parker” to read more about our travel adventures in Venice and join in the fun with some short videos she’s created!

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Old ladies love us!

We seem to have an affinity for old ladies and they for us. We opened our front door one day and greeted an old Venetian woman walking by with her shopping cart with “Buongiorno.” She stopped, surprised, and asked us in Italian if she knew us. We said no, that we were just friendly. She smiled and came over to talk to us. She was born in Venice and had children and grandchildren here. We chatted awhile. She seemed very happy for the encounter. We’ll probably see her again in the neighborhood. Perhaps she’ll stop by for another chat. There is a small “supermarket” across the street where she was headed. I put this in quotes because I was introduced to a real supermarket just around the corner that we will probably use for purchases other than produce.

We were at a concert with our friend Bruno and an old woman was sitting next to him. She engaged us in conversation before and at the end and was just delightful. She was very interested in Abby. During the concert was was a man singing whose voice sounded like a woman’s. I kept watching him and pairing the sound with the movement of his mouth. At first I thought it must be a duet and I just couldn’t see the woman from where I was sitting. We were in pews at the side of the church. We didn’t know you needed a reservation, but we were able to convince them to let us in. (Gabriana is good that way.) The woman told us that a man singing with a woman’s voice was a special thing here and that it took a lot of muscles in your neck and chest. When she said goodbye, she called Gabriana “cara,” which we remember fondly. We walked out together and expressed our delight with each other, kissing on both cheeks, the charming custom here.

We met two Australian women at SoSu gelato and when they seemed confused by the variety, we helped them decide which gelato to order. We told them our favorites. They thanked us outside where we were leaning against the building enjoying our treat. We never make it too far away! They were going to get on a cruise, but were sopping up as much culture as they could before leaving, unlike their cruise mates who they complained only wanted to shop. They told us about the opera nearby they were going to see. We went by afterwards to check on it for ourselves. They also loved Abby and said they missed their dogs at home.

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From our new front door to our old… or you CAN go home again!

One day as we were opening our front door to head out we were immediately stopped by a guy who said he owned one of the three Boston Terriers in Venice.  He asked right away if he could breed his dog with Abby, but the answer was no because she has been fixed. At least he was asking about the dog. We were thrilled to know there were more Bostons in Venice, since we didn’t see any last year. He and his friend were interesting and funny musicians who played at various churches. They will let us know the next time they are playing. Here is a picture of our musician friend with Abby and Gabriana.

IMG_0850Next we came upon the coke bottle shoes that I saw in 2009 and was so fascinated by. Still am. This time I have more pictures and the name of the artist, Luigi Bona. We also saw several of his pieces in a gallery a few days later, with more of a picture and story about the artist. Here are some of my favorites.  And here is a link to see more of his work.

IMG_0862As I was crossing a bridge I noticed something I see here often over an alley, but not over a canal. Someone hung her laundry. I hope it dried and that she was adept. I put mine outside today, but no luck at all. I guess I needed a canal nearby.

As we were walking to our old campiello (courtyard) and taverna, we ran into Severine, our fabulous server from last year who was walking to work. It was nice because we had a chance to visit with her before she went to work. Last year Gabriana noticed that our friends who work there, Vincenzo, Severine, and her boyfriend, Marcel, were always arguing over who had the lighter. So before we left, she bought enough packages of lighters for each of them to have to last their lifetimes. I hope they quit smoking before then. Sev said they tried, using electronic cigarettes, but returned to the vice. It seems to be the new thing here since it is more healthy.

IMG_0872While in the bar I noticed this beautiful espresso machine. It seems hard to believe that they actually use it. But the bartender said that he does. They serve what feels like a whole dinner to us at their happy hour, so we ate there that night. It was so wonderful to be at our old campiello again. As we were walking by our old apartment, the door opened and we met the nicest couple from England who were renting it to be in Venice for their wedding. Their whole family is coming and will rent all the apartments that look out onto the campiello. We ran into them again at the taverna and had a lovely evening with them.

IMG_0876Here is one of my favorite views from the campiello, looking at the Rialto Bridge. I swear the bird wasn’t posing! This view had everything in it—a vaporetto (water bus) the famous bridge, and a tower. I’m sure my friend Bert will chime in with what tower that is! Then my eye rested on a door that pleased my eyes. It looked so natural here, but I can’t really picture it at home.

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Here’s a link to read Gabriana’s blog “Nosy Parker” and check out the short videos she’s created so you can join along our adventures!

 

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Our delightful first days

DSC_0355_3We’ve been here for a few days. Abby is a big hit, putting it mildly. Every few steps we take, someone stops us and comments on the dog. Fellow travelers or Venetians, it doesn’t matter. Many tell us they have Bostons at home or have grown up with them. Many tell us about their dogs, and even share photos. Everyone wants to pet her! The first night this repeated so often while we’d actually been looking for a place to eat that Gabriana laughed and commented that we might starve out of friendliness! But we really didn’t mind. Abby is so loveable and it’s nice to see that we aren’t the only ones who think so.

Just as we were getting home, we ran into Mario, a Venetian guy we had seen earlier who’d asked us about Abby’s breed, a rarity in Venice. We hadn’t realized that he is our neighbor. He said he lives in our same building, but faces the street behind us. This time he was with the Cavalier King Charles cocker spaniel he had told us about. We talked about getting together again, and he will call us when he returns from a 10-day trip to Paris.

Gabriana and John looking out the window

We met a nice couple also from the San Francisco Bay Area. They were staying at the Hilton Hotel on the island of Giudecca, a short boat ride away. They told us about their dogs and how they missed them and about a great happy hour at the hotel every day and suggested we join them sometime. When we got home, we already had an email from them, inviting us to join them the next day.

After several adventures, including rushing to catch the shuttle boat they were going to meet, getting in a ragged line with people crowding ahead, having the guy letting people on the boat put his arm down right in front me, saying “fini” (the next boat was leaving in an hour), rushing to find a vaporetto (water bus) and fighting for the last seat in the outside section after being literally SHOVED aside by an extremely rude young woman. We finally found them and the happy hour. After lots of laughs and fun conversations, we were the last to leave.  Then they showed us the beautiful Grand Canal view from their room. We hadn’t seen Venice from such a high point of view before. We were all spellbound for a while. Here is a picture of Gabriana and John hanging out their window enjoying the view.

Jude loves Mela Verde gelatoLater that night Cindy said she wanted gelato. So, even though we had already had some during the day, we all took the boat back to Venice and set out to find a good place that was open. We are very fussy about where to get “good” gelato. Along the way we all admired the beautiful Piazza San Marco. We stood for a while staring up at the intricately carved sculptures and marveled at the years it must have taken to create and build. We also enjoyed the several dueling orchestras playing to diners at the outdoor tables. The piazza (square) is much less crowded at night and so much more enjoyable. We were not disappointed at Fantasy gelato! I’ll write more later about our gelato standards with some recommendations.

Also, please check out my daughter Gabriana’s blog on our adventures, including some short videos from our trip!

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Returning to Venice!

On our way into Venice from the airport!  I'm kinda happy.

On our way into Venice from the airport! I’m kinda happy.

Well hello again,

I did so well on my trip to Venice last year that we are going again. In fact, I was rejuvenated. After several MRIs this past summer to check on a bothersome growth, the last one showed no change, and I don’t have to have another MRI this month! We were approved, and actually encouraged, to travel again. No question where I wanted to go. So we are in the final stages of departure.

Again we are taking Abby, our medical service dog. Gabriana is busy doing all the paperwork to take her, including driving to San Francisco to bring some papers. I’m glad we live relatively close. I think this office serves  lot of cities.

I packed what I thought I would take. Now I’m being ruthless and trying to eliminate as much as I can. I keep thinking of what it feels like to have too much stuff there. I’m branching out into brighter colors and that feels good. I’ve hidden away my purples and turquoise for too long.

I would like to do some sketching, but travelers are discouraged from sitting anywhere. There are crudely handwritten warning signs posted over tempting seats. I found at a 3-legged stool to stick in my bag or sling over my shoulder. I saw some artists last year who could sit ANYWHERE they liked and that idea stayed with me.

I’m also taking it easy packing. Last year I did too much at one time and did too much lifting to try out the weight. It’s no wonder that I had terrible pains in my side during the trip.

Now I’m working on my “amazements.” This is the word my daughter, Gabriana, used when she was a little girl and was packing her amusements for a trip. It was so cute, I didn’t have the heart to correct her. Now we laugh, but we still use that expression.

What will I want to do for a month when I have down time? And what is easy to carry? I have some books I want to read, but they are hard cover. I can just hear you saying, “What about a Kindle?” But that just seems like one more gadget to bring and I can get Kindle on my laptop and my iPhone. The flight attendant last year was appalled when she saw me reading on my iPhone and INSISTED that it was not good for my eyes and shamed me into stopping. ] I love to do extreme Sudoku, so I plan to print up a bunch for the month. I just have to force myself not to start them now. I’ve already packed my watercolor art supplies, so that is covered.

Since I haven’t finished my Pimsleur Italian lessons, I will probably do that and then try out the conversations the next day. I have a bone to pick with the authors. When “Mr. and Mrs.” Smith and all other couples have a conversation about what they are going to buy, the wife ALWAYS asks the husband for money and he always comment on whether what she wants to buy seems too expensive. Then he throws in the kicker and tells her to buy only un capello (hat), no due (two!) I continue my lesson after I have done some screaming.

Update: we arrived yesterday and are in our glory! Gabriana has written a post about our arrival on her blog, Nosy Parker, along with a short video of the water taxi ride into the city. More to come, after we have had some gelato! This time we are in Castello, a different neighborhood than all of my trips before, so we have new places to explore. It’s fun to hear Italian conversations outside our window. We are right on the street.

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I OPEN SOME TIME

When I was in Venice in 2010 I saw a sign on a shop window that delighted me:

When I was there in 2012 I wanted to go back to the same store to show Gabriana and Diane the funny sign. I guess they had had too many complaints. But they still needed to put in a little twist. What stores open at 12:20? This is what we found:

And this is completely ignoring the Venetian custom of closing during the midday for lunch. Diane had her own ideas about what kind of store this was. I thought they either looked like great Burning Man attire or clothes that an old friend from The Well, Howard Rheingold, would wear. Here are some pictures I took of the inside in 2010. You can make your own guess about the clientele.

I took the 2010 pictures and the 2012 pictures were taken by Gabriana Marks and Diane Rauchwerger. I thank them for their good eyes and fresh viewing of Venice!

PLease follow Gabriana’s blog

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