Monday, June 21, 2010

I'll Be Back

(in my best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice) I'm baaaaaaaaAAAAAAAck!!!  We just didn't get enough of Venice the first time so we went back for another 5 days, and, unfortunately, were completely without internet connection (gasp! These places still exist?).  Si, seniora, they do.  (and yes, that's pretty much how my Italian works.  I know a select few words, and the rest is just English)

Kathy and Jessica are still here visiting from Idaho, and they had originally planned to go to Croatia and Slovenia all week, which is why we did our weekend in Venice last weekend.  Well Kathy found out the day before she flew out here that she has a fractured tibia, and is supposed to be as immobile as possible.  Hah!! Yeah right!  She told the doctors she was leaving for Italy in less than 24 hours, so they gave her a cane and told her to walk as little as possible and to be very careful.  After all of our walking in Venice over the weekend, she started second guessing the trip to Croatia and Slovenia.  Christine informed her that there are lots of hills and steps, and the stone they use in Croatia for the sidewalks and steps is kind of marble-like and very slippery.  So Kathy and Jessica came up with a plan B (the week in Venice), and EVERYONE was super excited about it.  Christine found us a last minute apartment, we took Levi to the kennel, returned Kathy's rented car, and we were on our way!

Before I get ahead of myself, here are some pictures I took before we left.  Jameson got a haircut the night before we left for Venice, and boy was that an ordeal.  Poor guy screamed bloody murder the entire time.  Christine said it's the last time she ever cuts his hair again.  From now on she'll leave that to the pros.

Up is Jameson's favorite movie, and balloons might be one of his favorite toys.  When we were gone last weekend Christer bought him balloons and a Magna-Doodle, both of which have been MEGA hits.  The Magna-Doodle deserves an award or actually holds Jameson's 18 month old attention!

Pre and post haircut difference is huge!  Doesn't he look so much older with his buzz cut?

We were getting things ready and getting the car packed up for the trip, and Maddie must have known Levi had gone to the kennel because this is where she parked it the entire time we were getting ready:
And on a side note: If anyone is planning on taking a trip to Venice, there is absolutely NO need for a stroller.  DON'T DO IT!  We used the stroller to wheel it to the apartment and there it sat the entire week.  It's nearly impossible and more work than it's worth to lug the stroller up and down all the steps over the bridges, and there's so man people and some of the alleys are so skinny that it's just no use.

I officially crown Christine Master of Reservations and Last Minute Planning.  Girl can deliver!  We had plans to meet up with a lady at the vaporetto (water bus) stop and walk us to our apartment, because we might have been lost otherwise.  I'm going to try to paint a picture because I don't have any real pictures.  Our building was less than 2 blocks from the vaporetto stop, and about 4 blocks from Rialto bridge.  Perfect location.  It was quiet, not packed full of tourists, and we were in an apartment as opposed to a hotel.  So we go down one of those mini alleys that looks to be about 1 1/2 persons wide, and go in through this enormous 500 pound green wooden door.  The thing was enormous and heavy, like it was constructed in the 13th century, which it probably was.  We walk through this enormously heavy door, and you'd expect to be inside, but instead we're in an open foyer of sorts.  It had the same stone tiles as the stairs, but it was open to the outside, and half of it was covered in green algae from the rain and general moistness of the area.  There were windows and doors, and people had potted plants sitting outside.  We walk through the open outdoor area to the staircase, which is indoors but outdoors.  It's basically just covered, and has no air conditioning or anything, which is not uncommon for Italy.  We go up 2 intense flights of stairs, through another solid wood but smaller and less heavy door.  (Also, these stairs were super steep and super small, like the people that built them had mini-feet. Pretty intense when you've got 3 suitcases, a stroller, and a toddler.)  We walk in through the smaller solid wood door and we're in a super wide hallway with 2 doors, both leading to different apartments.  Ours was at the very end, and it was absolutely amazing inside.  It had these beautiful 16 foot tall walls with all the intricate molding and designs on the ceilings.  The kitchen was this enormous, open floor plan, and was decorated completely in white.  From the white marble table to the white french-esque cabinets to the white walls, ceiling, tile, and china.  It was beautiful.  The only thing this very Venetian apartment was lacking was style.  It had these tacky mauve Murano glass chandeliers that looked to be at least 100 years old, and everything was upholstered in some shade of mauve or maroon.  The building itself was so beautiful and had the potential of being the apartment you could only ever dream of having that you see in Design or Dwell magazine.  Here's a picture of our bedroom just to give you a slight idea.

And here's the view from our bedroom, out the open window you see there:

Like I said.  Christine rocks at finding apartments/houses/hotels.

I was going to post all about Sergio tonight but it's late and I have a headache and I want to give him the time for an appropriate post, so I will work on that, along with my other Venice pictures, tomorrow.  For now, remember the eggs in the nest outside my window?  Here's the baby birds being fed the day before we left:

And when we got home, I thought the nest had been taken over.

They're huge!!  And really quite ugly still.  I wonder when birds start old?  As teenagers?  Do they have to wait longer since we're in Italy?  (driving age here is 18, while drinking is 16)

Tomorrow I will devote the day to Sergio and as much Venice amazingness I can muster up.  Let me just leave you with this.  As the vaporetto was pulling away from the stand and we were blowing kisses to Sergio, who had left the preparations for his friends memorial service to walk us out, I was so emotional at leaving Venice that I couldn't hold back the tears.  Venice is such a beautiful place and has so much soul and energy, and I was so sad to leave, even though I know we'll be back.  Christine sees me standing on the boat with tears in my eyes and she starts crying, and next thing we know, Kathy's sitting there zooming in on us to take pictures.  Awesome.  I'm sure those will be family photo album worthy!

Today my favorite thing about Italy is: Sergio.  I could only wish that everyone could have the same privilege and honor to know such a beautiful man.  His wise soul and artists roots truly reflect the city he loves so much, and it has been nothing but a joy getting to know him.  His passion and love for his home spreads to everyone he shares it with, and he brings depth and meaning to the beautiful city.  Venice truly would not be the same without him, in many many ways.

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