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.
Filed under travel, Venice
We’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.
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.
Later 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!