Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Quattro Luglio!

Christine and I normally sit out front with Levi and drink our coffee and chat/try to wake up in the mornings.  Friday I walk outside and Christine is already out with her coffee, watching the cars go by.  She says to me "Good morning!  Just as a warning, the rabbits got it this morning so they're hanging on the line to dry."  Umm...what?  You must not have fully woken up yet, or I'm hearing you wrong, because I'm pretty sure you just said the rabbits are hanging on the line to dry.  Why yes, indeed, the rabbits were beheaded (by Elia), and were hanging by their feet on the clothes line to drip dry before being brought inside.  And sure enough, 3 hours later the doorbell rings, and we open to see Elia standing there with a big grin on his face and a serving platter with a raw, headless, skinless rabbit (that was alive just a few hours before).  Christine graciously accepted the gift, saying "bello! bello!" (beautiful), and brought ole' thumper inside.  We were leaving for Venice in a few hours, so there was no time to cook or eat (Christer's a vegetarian), so we wrapped him up in aluminum foil and he's still hanging out in the freezer, waiting to become dinner.

That was a lovely start to the day, but I don't think anything could prepare us for what we saw later that night in Venice.  We were able to get to Venice early enough to do some exploring before it was time for dinner.  Sergio closed his shop and met us on his way home for a prosecco.  It would have been my third prosecco of the day, so I decided, with a little of Sergio's persuasion, to try a spritz instead.  It is the popular drink in Venice, and really anywhere in Italy, and I hadn't tried it yet, so Sergio ordered me an 'aperol spritz.'  The drink is made with aperol (fruit/herb mixture that the Italians consider "sweet"),  a dry, white wine, and soda water.  I've got to say, it wasn't the best tasting thing in the world, and I had the "sweet" version, as opposed to the "bitter" spritz.  It was almost like drinking a watery juice of sorts, but the aftertaste was really horrible and bitter.  Sergio said even most Italians don't like them at first..."you have to drink many before you acquire the taste."  Nevertheless, I can say I've tried it, and I have a picture to prove it.

We were headed in the same direction as Sergio, so we continued to walk together until we had to part ways.  He took us through a campo in the accademia area, where our hotel was the second night, and showed us where we would be staying.  As we were walking through the campo, Christine and I both watched a seagull swoop down, grab a pigeon in its mouth, and then fly off.  Let me tell you, this was one of the most disturbing things I've ever witnessed.  Seagulls eat pigeons?!?!  Aren't they on the same playing field?  And seagulls are only just a little bit bigger than the pigeons.  That would be like a turkey eating a chicken!  It's not like there isn't a plethora of food available on the streets of Venice  Between the trash set out at night, the fruit and vegetable stands, and the tourists who insist on throwing bread and all sorts of other food for the birds to eat, this seagull surely had an array of options for his dinner.  Christine is currently reading a book on Venice, and she had just recently read that more pigeons die by seagulls than any other way.  The author said you will occasionally see pigeons dive into the water and die that way, but most of the time they're eaten by the seagulls, much like the way we witnessed on our walk.

The next night, on our way to the hotel after dinner, Christine and I spotted this floating in the water:

Oh. My. Goodness.  A real Venetian rat.  Dead, thank goodness, but right there, floating in the canal nonetheless.  Hopefully this isn't a sign that the plague is making a comeback.

Today Christine and I were spared the grossness and it was Christer who received the lovely little surprise from his best boy.  He said he walked in to Jameson's bedroom this morning to find Jameson standing in his crib with his diaper hanging halfway off, full of poop.  Upon further investigation, both of Jameson's hands were covered in poop, as well as his body, his bed, and his sheets.  It was like he grabbed handfuls of feces and was working on his very own Jackson Pollock.  Poor Christer had to grab Jameson and throw him in the shower whilst trying to avoid getting covered in poo, and then clean up his entire bedroom.  Jameson normally gets his bath/shower at night before he goes to bed, so Christer said he was quite confused this morning when he got a shower first thing.  He didn't really know what to make of the situation.

All of this morbidity needs a positive ending.  Whenever we visit Venice, we always make Sergio's shop our first stop of the day, and we always check in with him when we arrive.  When we arrived in Venice on Friday, it was no different.  Sergio knew we were coming and was almost as happy to see us as we were him.  He had this beautiful mask hanging behind his little workstation, and he picked it up off of the hook and handed it to me.  "For you," he said.  This has got to be the most beautiful mask I have ever seen.  Christine had told him the style I liked and that I liked the blending of all the colors, so he specially made this mask just for me, and wrote on the inside:

 "Per Kindra, in ricardo di un' estate a Venezia."  (For Kindra, in remembrance of your summer in Venice.)

I forget what the name is, but it has something to do with wind because of the way the hat looks like it's blowing in the wind.  He is probably one of the most beautiful things I own and will always cherish because of the meaning and story behind the beautiful gift.  I am a very lucky girl.

Today my favorite thing about Italy is:  Gardens in Venice.  Our hotel last night had an actual yard/garden, and we sat outside and enjoyed the lawn while we ate our breakfast this morning.  Such a different feeling than sitting on a campo, but beautiful each in their own way.

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