Monthly Archives: March 2019

Venezia. . .It’s a Wrap. . .or is it?

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Despite what you might hear, “It’s always flooded,” “The water is so dirty,” “I hear it’s sinking,” the Venice I’ve come to know and love is a joy to behold.  The magic that hangs in the area is the mist of centuries of hard work, glamour, and indescribable beauty.   It is city at risk. . .from cruise ships and passengers, from AirBnB, from immense popularity, from foreign investors.

Now at home, although our luggage is not (expected today?? ), we are basking in the glow of a new love affair and the eagerness to make it last.  Before our trip, la mia amica Donna asked, “Will this become a yearly thing?” and at the time I think I answered something like, “No, we’re just going back because Don was so envious of me going last year.”

FAKE NEWS.  We will return.  Perhaps on the tail end of a trip to Croatia, perhaps post-Barcelona, perhaps any time we find ourselves on that side of the Atlantic.  We love it that much that we are willing to make a wide detour to visit.

So as I like to do at the end of a journey, on my final blog, is to include any “outtakes ” that didn’t fit elsewhere.  Here’s the collection. . .

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Tango on. . .

 

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La maschera called to me, but she is still in Venice.  Perhaps I’ll find her next time and bring her to Quakertown to live amongst the Coca-Cola girls in our house.

 

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Vaporetto views intrigue me.  Who lived here?  Did they have kids?  What was their life?  Who designed such intricate beauty? How long did it take to create that balcony?

 

An exquisitely yummy yarn shop. . .my purchases. . .and the dream of finishing a sweater which I’ll wear next time I visit. . .

 

 

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The floor of Maria del Salute.  WHO MAKES THIS STUFF UP?  I am continually baffled by the artisanship.

Masks, masks, more masks, each one a creative endeavor, each one made by an artisan.

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Venice from the rooftop.. . .What is the history of these buildings along the Grand Canal?  What international trade deals financed them?  Will current international trade deals place them in the hands of foreign investors?

We are often asked, and were asked on this trip by new friends Paolo and Katerina, “Where is your favorite place in the world?” and we always scratch our heads because each place we’ve visited holds a special memory, an energetic heart tug, and a smile. If you were to ask me my favorite CITY (but really, Venice is just a large, spread out village), I would immediately say, “Venice.”  I’m not an easy sell; it’s taken me three trips here to totally commit, but as a 50-year marriage can attest, once I’m in, I’m IN!!

Venezia, ti voglio bene!

And so, that’s the wrap for this trip.  Next up, China.  But there will be no blog and no Facebook; there’s spotty internet and Facebook is not allowed.  So we will #Enjoy Respect, just as Venice has taught us, indeed as all travel has taught us: to immerse ourselves, even if only for a short time, in the culture and expectations of that land.

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(Could this be our old VW bus??!!)

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ARRIVERDERCI!!

A Brief Answer to an Excellent Question

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So our friend Jan Tremer, after reading these blogs asked, ” Why all the costumes at Carnevale?” In thinking how to answer and incorporate what I know, which could be incomplete or incorrect, I came across what I consider to be a good, concise explanation-

http://magicofvenezia.com/venetian-carnival/

The origins of Carnevale pre-date Mardi Gras or the Rio Carnival. There’s lots of partying, no boob showing, little drunkenness, except by the few loud young Americans I saw. Costumes posers do not ask for or expect a tip, coins, or payment of any kind.

No cost is spared in the elaborate masks and costumes; people may spend 1-2 years creating them.

Here’s another great article from The Venice Insider.

https://www.theveniceinsider.com/diaries-first-time-carnevale-costume-venice/

So, friends, you now have a bit more education. Thanks for your question, Jan!!

The Posers, Part Two

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It was a paparazzi frenzy. Crowds gathered, cameras clicked. Friends beckoned friends. Groups posed.

Who?? What?? Where??

THIS IS US—

For well over an hour we brought smiles, laughter, and light hearts to all who passed by! They came, they saw, they posed with US!!! Family groups, children in costumes, smiling friends–everyone wanted to pose with us. From our vantage point we were just as astounded and surprised as everyone else who vied to have just a moment with us and have their photo taken. As soon as one group left, another, and another, and another took its place!

It seemed that everyone who passed by wanted to have a photo taken with these crazy people hanging out on two little balconies.

How do you take photos of people posing with you?! With cell phone in hand, I managed to snap a few photos from my perspective.

Our coup de grazê was this guy approaching. Strapped with multiple lenses, we knew something was up.

Wedding photos ensued!!!!

OMG, we NEVER had so much fun on any adventure anywhere!

A conservative estimate is 1,000 photos of us spreading around the globe.

“Did you see the people in the windows?!”

“Are they still out?”

I even noticed one guy snapping a photo of me after I came back inside and was just standing by the window.

Posing is hard work. We rewarded ourselves with a sumptuous Sunday lunch.

We kept looking at each other and giggling.

“Can you believe we did that?!”

” Our kids would probably be glad we had masks on!”

“Was that the most fun EVER??!!”

Venezia, you make our hearts sing!

The Posers, Part One

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There are lots of costumed masqueraders posing around Venice these days. Many stand outside the church at San Zaccaria because the background is so beautifully clean yet muted.

Walking on any calle, campo, or area of Venice during Carnevale you’ll see all manner of costumes!

I happened to be following this beauty down the street.

Posing can also include an unexpected connection with a new gondolier friend of Marie and Roberto’s whom we met at lunch st La Rivetta,

Dog Posers??

Honestly, the huge amount of costumes is overwhelming and at some point almost becomes eyewash. We were totally overcome by costume after mask after headdress after creative expression!

Aaahhh Venezia–ti voglio bene!!

Tango, Our Passport

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A few nights ago La Serenissima flummoxed us with her mysterious calli, fondamenti, and campi. We got wind of another Milonga so Saturday afternoon I did my due diligence to locate the space.

“follow those people with the shoe bag, ” we both said when we alighted from the vaporetto. We were rewarded when I led us to the spot I had found and saw a welcoming sign:

A year and a half ago we would have felt in a foreign country, but now the music, the line of dance, the steps we recognize, the food table, the clothes, and of course, the shoes all felt familiar. It was time to stamp our tango passport here in the Cannaregio section of Venice.

This Carnevale Milonga reflected the general population of Venice these days; some costumed dancers, some elegantly outfitted tangueri, and some like us in just simple attire.

We danced reasonably well for a few hours. Yes, Pierre, we stayed in our lane, didn’t trip anyone else or each other, had no collisions, and, get this–no arguments! By 10 pm we decided we’d had enough and given our history of “getting tired =major meltdown ” we decided to leave.

Just at that moment I spied Michele daFina, a handbag designer whom Savannah snd I met last year after the infamous Milonga. She recognized him as we strolled by his shop one day, so we went in to chat and both ended up buying purses.

I reintroduced myself, and he remembered both me and Savannah!! We ended the evening with a new Venetian tango friend who promised to send me exact directions to the Tuesday night Milonga the next time we return!

So, tango passport stamped—Buenos Aires, Lisbon, Madrid, Edinburgh, Savannah, Philadelphia, Allentown, and now Venezia!! 🎭💃🏻

Blame It On the Moon

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 Outer space seems the antithesis of Palazzo Vendramin Calergi, described on their website as:

A perfect example of a renaissance style stately home, once the residence of the doges and Richard Wagner’s last dwelling place, it is one of the most elegant buildings overlooking the Grand Canal.

Yes, indeedy, it was the perfect Venetian space, the things I picture when I dream of Venice. . .abounding beauty, murano chandeliers, elegant sculpture.

And now it was invaded by space creatures and all manner of frivolity.

It was an overload for the senses at every turn. . .

Guests dressed for the occasion, from the outrageous to elegant cocktail attire.

Entertainment focused on the absurd, the obscene, and the other-worldly. . .

It was the party of parties, an extravaganza for sure. Somewhere in there we were served delectable food, wine aplenty, and the surprise extra-celestial pizza delivery!

We danced, boy did we dance.

The evening was all we hoped it would be! It glittered, and so did we!

It had to come to an end at some point, and we were probably among the first to leave past 1 am.

The courtyard outside afforded a wonderful photo op.

Whisked away on the vaporetto, masks discarded, eyes tired, we agreed that it was truly one magical night to be always remembered. . .

Signs around town

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A collection of signs posted in various locations—–

Pre-bingo …..

Always look for these signs to authenticate that you’re buying the real deal.

“The history of Venetian tramezzino started here!”

And the most important—-