Thursday, May 9, 2013



This has been on my bucket list for a long time. I was afraid I’d be disappointed because I’d built it up too much in my mind. In some ways I guess that is true . . . for example I have seen the buildings at the water’s edge in a lot of movies. I have seen gondoliers taking guests for a ride.
However, now I’ve seen massive thousand year old palaces of some of the wealthiest merchants of the ancient world. Castles groaning under the weight of marble floors, pillars, and facades. Like elderly dignitaries leaning on each other while the young look on. The famous Rialto Bridge looks both tired and bored with its job.

I’ve received a wink from a handsome Italian man as he dips his oar in the silky water. The striped shirt and cheeky grin is the standard uniform of the gondolier. Occasionally you’ll see one chatting on his cell phone. A group of young Italians may go by too fast in their boat causing a wake. The gondolier will steady the gondola with his oar while glaring at the rowdy kids. At the main loading docks by the Duomo, the crowds of Japanese tourists will nimbly trot down the steps and jump into the gondola when beckoned by the gondolier.

The days are equally split up between walking, shopping, eating, and of course drinking. Now wait a minute . . . I know what you are thinking! We drink other things besides wine. About every two hours we stop for a quick shot of espresso called café, or café with steamed milk called macchiato. About every three hours we stop for a beer and a glass of Italian wine (lighter in alcohol). Late afternoons are spent on our patio sipping good wine, and eating cheese and salami from the little grocery store. We opened a bottle of Modus Operandi from home (2009 Petite Syrah). The landlady came out on the patio to say hello and stayed for an hour sipping our wine. I learned a new Italian word, “Fuertisimo!”, very strongJ
Egle and I were sitting out here the other day when we heard a man begin to sing a traditional love song. His voice was amazing. We leaned over the balcony to see who was singing and saw a waiter beneath us. He sang while he set the tables for the evening. When he finished, Egle and I called out, “Bravo!!” and clapped our hands. He was startled to say the least. His coworkers came out and looked up. They laughed, patted his back and went back to work.

Last night we all walked to the other side of the island and found a pizzeria Gianluca had heard about. It was worth it, but it brings me to an interesting subject. Pizza. Firstly, I was told at home pizza didn’t come from Italy. Here, I have been firmly told that pizza originated in Naples. Secondly, at a snack bar you can get a piece of pizza, but at a restaurant you get the whole pizza. Let me clarify, each person gets a whole pizza. What we would call a medium pizza is a single serving here. Thirdly, the American pizza is disgusting! One has red sauce and a pile of french-fries on it, and the other has those floppy pink hot dogs sliced up on it.
We’ve heard about the regular flooding of San Marcus Piazza, and I have to admit I kinda wanted to see it, without the inconvenience of course. Well yesterday I got my wish. The high tide forced the water up through the ancient cisterns creating giant puddles. It was just enough to give you an idea of the flood without having to wade through knee deep water.

We escorted Gianluca and Egle half-way to the train station via twenty bridges and a taxi-gondola, and waved goodbye. We are now on our own. We eventually found our way back to the B&B. Tomorrow night we must find the train station and hopefully get on the right one to take us back to Milan.


  1. Heidi, I am enjoying your trip vicariously. This blog is especially enjoyable and well written!! Keep it up.
    Congrats on such a milestone year! Wow, surely you can't be 50?????
    Love, Aunt Judy (Senter)

  2. I cannot wait to see all your pictures and hear all your stories!!! Hope you both are having an amazing time. The Shetlers

  3. Thank you! I am glad you are enjoying the photos :)