Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Beware the Fondle Police

Today was super hot so we just hung out around the house and took it easy.  Christer was able to come home again for lunch today, and it's so unbelievably adorable to see how Jameson lights up when he's around.  They were just sitting across the table eating lunch and making faces at each other and Jameson was laughing up a storm.  Christine and I have to work 10 times as hard to get him to laugh...normally we're sweating our butts off playing chase and tickle, and all Christer has to do is cross his eyes!  Either way, Jameson is still a momma's boy through and through.  Here he is last week in Venice, clinging to Chrstine while she talks to Sergio, on our favorite campo after enjoying a prosecco together.

Jameson absolutely loves the water and has so little fear it's almost scary.  He would just jump right in if Christine wasn't standing there, which is part of the reason why we're going to Treviso in 2 weeks, and then Lake Como in August.  We were trying to plan a beach trip, but it's high season right now, and we didn't want to be squished in on the beach, staying in a hotel Daytona Beach style.  Not quite the family vacation we were looking for.  Treviso is close enough that Christer can still drive to work, and the agriturismo we're staying at has a pool, so Christine and I will be sitting poolside with Jameson all week.  Lake Como will obviously be a lovely vacation on one of Italy's most famous bodies of water, and it would be even better if we could get a George Clooney sighting while we're there.

I didn't take any pictures today, so these were all taken in Venice.  In the lower picture, I was actually having to keep Jameson from walking right down the steps into the water.  He is like a fish out of water.

When Jessica and I went on our Gondola ride, Christine had given us a map and told us exactly where to go to catch the gondola that would take us across the water directly to Saint Mark's Square to meet up with her and Kathy.  The Gondola station where Christine had sent us happened to be closed, but since we had walked all the way, we decided to just keep going and go out to the Dogana di Mare, or the old customs house, which is now a modern art museum.  It is at the very tip of the Dorsodoro peninsula, and looks out directly across to Saint Mark's Square and then to the open expanse of water where the ships would enter Venice.  At the very VERY tip of the peninsula, we happened across this beauty of a statue:

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you.  That is none other than an 8 foot tall naked "boy" holding a frog by one of its hind legs.  "Boy With Frog" was created by the American artist Charles Ray and presented to Venice in 2009 as part of the opening ceremonies for the modern art museum.  You see the little boy polizia standing behind the big boy?  His sole job was to prevent any inappropriate touching or fondling of the statue, which was created out of steel and polyurethane.  Of course, never one to pass up a photo op or a chance to publicly humiliate myself, I just HAD to get some sort of picture with the statue.  Being less than 6 feet from water on 3 sides, and speaking almost zero Italian, I didn't want to press my luck (we still had to get that Gondola ride in too, so I didn't want to be banned from the island), so this is the pose I chose:

I did get quite a few laughs, including from the police officer, so I'm not so sure he would have actually stopped me.  I guess we'll never know.

The Santa Maria della Salute church is also out near the peninsula, so Jessica and I stopped for a few photos.  I have yet to actually go inside the church, but Christine and I stopped by on our way back from the Guggenheim and saw a couple taking pictures out front, right after their wedding!  The bride was one of the most beautiful, classic, elegant brides I have ever seen in real life or in print.  She was absolutely stunning, and the church as the backdrop just made it all the more perfect. 

Can you spot me in the picture above?  This is the church the Venetians built as a tribute to Mary for delivering them from the plague, and every year they line the gondolas up and create a makeshift bridge form Saint Mark's Square to the church so everyone can pay homage.

This next picture was taken on the side of La Salute.  In the picture above, it's off to the right, which is where the bridge is leading to the church.  To the left (in the picture) is the peninsula, so there is only one way to walk to and from this particular area.

That entire structure is covered in vine; One of the coolest, most unexpected buildings.

Tonight Christine made risotto with fresh zucchini from the garden (which was fantastic), and last night we had green beans from the garden that were so fresh and delicious.  Elia brought over a giant green bucket and handed it to Christine saying "Here.  Beans.  You must eat today.  Tomorrow, no good.  You can take the beans but give me back my bucket.  You understand?"  Elia reminds me a lot of my grandpa.  Your stereotypical grouchy old man, but he really does have a kind heart and is a sweetheart at times. He gets so frustrated when we don't understand him that I've seen him roll his eyes, throw his hands in the air, and turn and walk away in frustration multiple times now.  Ida, on the other hand, is the sweetest thing ever and just keeps on chatting away, even though most of the time it's more of a workout for her because she's having to use charades to go along with everything she's saying.

Today my favorite thing about Italy is:  Being able to walk across the street to get fresh bread or cheese.  It really is a staple that accompanies pasta at every meal.

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