My version of window shopping. 

My version of window shopping. 

Dear Diary,  

The breakfast here consists of freshly baked croissants, pastries, macchiatos, and little packages of Nutella that have soft edges so when you lick them you don't cut your tongue.  It's awful.  It's not like the breakfast I'm used to at home.  This is going to take some getting used to.  

Love, Your Buddy,

Sticky Fingers

 

Get in my mouth now!! 

Get in my mouth now!! 

Up at 4:30am like it's time to start my day!!!  With a 7 hour time difference between my home in Grand Cayman and Venice, I was all over the place.   My intention is to just torture myself with no sleep until I'm on a regular schedule.  Pretend like jet-lag doesn't exist.  That'll work.

Side note: I wonder how many macchiatos I can drink before my heart explodes? 

The travel group I'm with, Pink Pangea, has joined forces with a yoga retreat that consists of a handful of gray haired ladies and one granddaughter.  Our tour guide, Ken, tell us, "There are ten things you're supposed to see in Venice, and I chose seven for us."  Great Ken!!!  You rock!  

First stop: The Guggenheim!  

(*insert side eye here*)  

Really Ken?  I thought we'd be doing more Italian-y things: a stroll along the canals, showing me where someone famous lived, a gondola ride.  Not a museum.  

Ken said he'd see us in 90 minutes, the time it would take for us to get through the exhibit.  

I was done in 20.

Call me uncultured, uneducated, a snob, or just a badass that would rather see history in architectural form.  I prefer photographs of people, a sociological perspective.  The history of people, looking into their lives through a lens.  I prefer stories, buildings, how things were made.  I've never been a fan of art museums, ever since a girlfriend of mine in college tried to tell me the toilet I was looking at in the San Francisco MOMA was art.  No.  Just.  No.  

However, I did recognize two artists, Salvador Dali and Jackson Pollock.   Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take any pictures of the artwork by Pollock, but I snagged these of Dali.

Salvador Dali (1904-1989) Birth of Liquid Desires, 1931-1932.  Oil and collage on canvas. 

Salvador Dali (1904-1989) Birth of Liquid Desires, 1931-1932.  Oil and collage on canvas. 

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...In other words to be fully awake to everything about you & the more you learn, the more you can appreciate and get a full measure of joy and happiness out of life.
— Letter from LeRoy Pollock to his sons, 1928. And there sat the actual letter that was written. To me, THAT is art. That is what moves me, what makes me think and stirs up emotion. All the things art is supposed to do.

We finished with the fancy artwork and took a vaporetto to San Marco Plaza.  

NOW WE'RE TALKING!!! 

A vaporetto ride in Venice, Italy. June 14, 2015.  I love that you can hear the Italian kids and their mom speaking in the background.  I will never get sick of this view. Venice is the most wonderful place on Earth.  

The architecture.  The gondolas.  Truly the best.  The Grand Canal of Venice, Italy.  June 2015

The architecture.  The gondolas.  Truly the best.  The Grand Canal of Venice, Italy.  June 2015

Santa Maria della Salute in Dorsoduro, Venice, Italy.  June 14, 2015.  One of my favorite parts of traveling is taking pictures that look just like what you've seen on the internet.  My favorite part? Food.

Santa Maria della Salute in Dorsoduro, Venice, Italy.  June 14, 2015.  One of my favorite parts of traveling is taking pictures that look just like what you've seen on the internet.  My favorite part? Food.

We had the afternoon to ourselves to explore, get lost and find food.  When given the choice between wandering around with other rookie tourists or hanging out with an adorably plump Venetian Veteran, well...you know the answer.  Sandy took control, waving us over to this little walkway and away from the massive crowds. She wound us around corners and through alleys, and knew exactly where to go to get the best panini, $4,50 caprese sandwiches that make your eyes roll into the back of your head.  "Let's find some gelato, shall we?"  

Did we just become best friends???

Sandy became my buddy for the next three days.  

The Doors of Venice.

We criss-crossed through streets, up this way, down that way.  I would never be able to get back to where I was on purpose.  There are no street names most times and alleys are unmarked.  The scents of panini, croissants, and freshly baked breads filled the air.  Carnivale masks, Venetian glass shops with countless rows of hand blown jewelry and art work clutter the windows.  

The quintessential Venetian scene, complete with an opera singer.  (And also a good reminder to hold your phone sideways when filming scenes for your blog.)

Punta Della Salute.  June 2015

Uh oh.  I'm only on Day 3 and we're taking Food Baby pictures already?  This is going to be a great trip!!

We made our way back to the hotel for a travel writing workshop, where we were given prompts to get our creative juices flowing.  There's something to be said for being surrounded by like-minded women, who are together with you on this path as a traveler and writing about her experiences.  And, being in one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the world doesn't hurt either.  It felt so good to start getting ideas out of my head and onto some paper, or in my case, my new iPad mini. (Best purchase before this trip, hands down.)

I recalled a time when I had witnessed or experienced an Act of Kindness.  

"You can live with me, rent free, until you get on your feet."  

Thirteen words that completely changed the course of my life.  I didn't know it at the time, as we usually don't, but my life was about to change drastically, with that one act of kindness bestowed upon me by my then friend, now boyfriend.  I got on my feet, we fell in love and I never moved out.  More about that story here...

Once we finished with the workshop for the day, it was more free time to find dinner and relax.  What I love love love about Italy is that you can sit down to dinner at 9pm and you're allowed to enjoy your food, no hurrying, no trying to turn the table.  It's an American servers nightmare, and an everyday occurrence in Italy.  

We headed to Bar da Gino's on Calle Nuova S. Agnese, near the Academia Bridge.  Apparently it's inappropriate to order a macchiato when everyone else at the table is ordering Aperol Spritzers.  This is the hard part of a being sober traveler and going to a country where alcohol is consumed more than water.  It was a delicious macchiato, even though I was made fun of by the waiter the entire two hours we were there.  It was all in spirit, the Italians just don't understand people who don't drink.  

The first dish was a massive platter of prosciutto with fresh buffalo mozzarella. Bread.  Olive oil.  Balsamic vinagrette.  Easily my favorite appetizer in Italy.  

Six hungry women gobbled this up.  So thankful none of my food sensitivities act up on Europe. It would have been torture to see this and not be able to partake.  

Risotto with mushrooms.  And more bread, of course.  

I was the only one who got dessert.  I was on a mission to eat as much as gelato as I could put in my belly, so I needed to get in my quota.  Cioccolato mente.  

Back to the hotel to pick out names for my Food Baby.  



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