Christer got back in town yesterday, so today we were celebrating father's day. He had to go to the states to give his passport to the Italian consulate in Chicago, and couldn't return to Italy until his passport was returned to him. Yes, it's as crazy and nonsensical as it sounds. Long story short, he's been in the states for the past 2 weeks, and today was his first full day back. We decided to celebrate by going in to Sacile and doing some shopping and going to Le Contrade for lunch. Roberto's wife, Lorena, and 2 1/2 year old daughter, Allegra, were eating lunch, so we got to meet them and Jameson got to meet his new future playmate. She is sooo cute and very very shy, but once they got acquainted Jameson was ready to play! For the past 2 weeks Jameson has been very listless and acting unusual for his normal, active, steam-roller self. He's been going down for his nap and for bed super early, and just been all-around cranky. Today, of course, he was a completely different child. Christer doesn't believe us because it was like Jameson went to bed and woke up a dream child. He sat through the ENTIRE meal at Le Crontrade, which is a first, ever, for any meal out, and then was such a sweetie when we were shopping afterwards. He was being so cute I had to take some pictures.
I've written about Sacile before, and how it's called "The Little Venice" because of all the bridges and water running through. It is also home to one of the best gelato stands in the world (I had the dark chocolate today, which is positively sinful), and 2 sights of ancient Roman ruins.
The first sight is located behind a church right down the road from Le Contrade, and was uncovered when they were building the church. The second sight is literally in between some stores and apartment buildings, and was uncovered in the same manner as the church. It's so unusual to be walking through this quaint Italian village and come across these ancient Roman ruins still in their same position and location as they were 1600 years ago. It's just crazy imaging what has happened throughout history in the same places we walk on a daily basis.
After lunch we, of course, stopped for gelato, and then did a little shopping. Christine had a gift certificate to Sisley, and then we stopped at her favorite shoe store for some authentic Italian shoes, where I officially began my love affair with Roberto Del Carlo's shoes. I mean, come on, when the lady says to us "These are the best shoes in all of Italy," how do you argue with that?? I tried on a pair of beautiful heels that felt like slipping my feet into pillow shoes, and I was instantly in love. Love, unfortunately, comes with a cost, and at €290,00, I just couldn't bring myself to spend an entire month's earnings on a single pair of shoes. My birthday is August 2nd, though, so if anyone would like to get me a gift, look no further! I kid, I kid. :) But seriously, these shoes are simply amazing. And just to add a little extra sweetness to them, imprinted on the bottom side of the shoe is "made in Italy."
Those are all the pictures I took today, so guess what? More Venice pictures! I should issue "Bonafide Venetian Expert" certificates for those of you who read every day, just for continuing to listen about the most amazing city in the world.
Venice at night was one of the most amazing, serene, and unreal experiences. Pictures are beautiful but simply don't do it justice, and any explaining or describing I do could never capture the essence or feeling of the change in the city when the sun goes down. Venice during daylight and Venice at night are 2 completely different cities, and you haven't truly experienced Venice until you've explored the city at night.
Jameson loved running around in the campo right next to Sergio's shop, and as long as he wasn't running into the church or any tourists, we let him go. His favorite thing to do?
Christine is convinced this, mixed with his mutual love for (and eating) dirt is why boys seem to have much stronger immune systems than girls. He had so much fun though, and he was the hit of the campo.
He loved the puddles...being confined in the water fountain? Not so much. He thought it was funny while he was hamming it up getting his picture taken, but when he realized he couldn't climb out on his own he started getting a little upset.
It rained quite a bit during our stay, and our last full day in the city was a full out disgusting, cold, rainy day. Sergio is a sweetheart and a godsend because he purchased us all umbrellas and sweatshirts so we didn't all go home with the sniffles. Kathy and Jessica went out on their own to do some shopping, and Christine and I were just shopped out, so we didn't accompany them. Christine said she'd keep Jameson entertained if I wanted to run out for a bit, so I put on my jeans, Converse, and Italia sweatshirt and headed out in the rain for Saint Mark's square. I just screamed "American," but I honestly didn't care a single bit. I was warm and that's all that mattered. Kathy and Jessica had been to Saint Mark's the day before and said the entire square was flooded with the platforms set out and everything, so surely all this rain would only increase the flooding in this famed piazza. A serious Venetian flood would just be the icing on the cake, so I was willing to brave the freezing cold rain for some once-in-a-lifetime photo-ops. Saint Mark's was quite a ways from our
mansion apartment, and I don't know all the side streets and back routes like Christine does, so I was having to make this trek with all the tourists. Let me tell you something. Venice during a rainstorm is a deadly place to be out in public. You've seen pictures of some of these alleys. They're wide enough for maybe 2 skinny Italians. Throw some umbrellas in there and you're looking for a disaster. Christine and I both were stabbed multiple times during our stay, including our hair getting caught and full on umbrella-noggin whacks with zero acknowledgement. Needless to say, by the time I made it to Saint Mark's, my pants were soaked, weighed 100 pounds, and needed to be pulled up every 5 seconds to avoid giving somebody the moon. My Converse were just puddles attached to my feet, and squished with every step I took, and my soaking wet socks were now riding around in my pocket (because there's nothing worse than socks falling down in your shoes, and because of the water, this was happening constantly). Woo hoo! Saint Mark's flood! I walked out into the middle of the piazza, and could not find a single puddle anywhere. I thought maybe they meant the piazzetta, closer to the water, so I wandered over there, and I honestly could have squeezed more water off of my body than I could find in this piazza. MAJOR BUST. I was so bummed. I just turned around and headed back to our apartment. I stopped in to say hi to Sergio on my way home, and he was very surprised to hear that I had gone all the way out in the rain to see the piazza flooded. Why? Because the rain doesn't have anything to do with Venetian floods. Sergio so kindly explained to me that high tide raises the water level in the late afternoon to evening, and when you combine high tide with winds from the south, it raises the water level even more, causing it to spill over the edges and onto the walkways. More often than not, these winds from the south are accompanied with rain, but the rain itself has nothing to do with the flooding. Since I was looking for a flood in the earlier part of the day, during low-tide, I found nothing but dry land. Later that evening, as was reported in the newspaper the next day, and then from Sergio to us, the high tide mixed with the all the rain and the winds from the south made for a pretty serious flood in Saint Mark's square around 7pm. And I missed it. Just because of the effort and dedication I put in to seeing the flood the first time, I'm not making it my mission to see and take pictures of the piazza flooded before I leave Italy.
On the brighter side, the trip wasn't a complete bust. I did get these two little gems of photos:
Now that's some serious Gondola ride dedication right there. 2 observations here: #1. Can someone please explain to me again what ponchos are for? I was pretty sure they were to keep you dry from the rain, which is also what an umbrella does, so I don't quite understand why everyone has both a poncho and an umbrella. To stay twice as dry? #2. The girl in the yellow poncho in the first picture is stylin' with her hair outside of her poncho. Ain't gonna let no rain cramp her style. Now, I understand that sometimes you just have to sacrifice for beauty, and obviously exposing her hair to the rain was a sacrifice she was willing to make, but I just don't understand why she would have 2/3 of her hair out, yet still keep the ever-so-stylish Big Bird hood on.
I was going to post a small nugget of a complaint about the music again (tonight it was Italian country, complete with Garth Brooks and Sammy Kershaw covers), but I guess I've stayed up late enough that the party has ended, so I can sleep in peace.
Today my favorite thing about Italy is: Italian shoes. They really are as beautiful and heavenly as you think.