Today was bittersweet. Two friends left Venice.
This afternoon I met Karen at Gelati Nico on the Zattere for a farewell visit. She and her husband Mike are moving from Venice. They have been with me from the beginning of my Venetian journey. In 2008, my first visit and when I fell head over heels in love with the City of My Dreams I had booked a last minute photo tour with a company called The Venice Experience. A nearly four hour private photo tour with Mike Henderson. He showed me how to see Venice differently…not just through a series of snapshots like most tourists take home. About halfway through he said “you really should meet my wife.” I didn’t actually meet Karen until I returned to Venice in March 2010.
I’d like to let Karen tell you why they are leaving in her own words. She posted this blog late last night.
I’m waiting for Karen and taking photos as usual. Not much call for gelato at this time of the year but it’s nice to sit in the sun.
What Karen had:
What I had:
All too soon she had to go and we hugged goodbye. Not really goodbye…arrivederci. Our paths will cross again. In bocca del lupo, Karen and Mike. I look forward to your new adventures.
I had a bit of time to meander until I was meeting my Latvian friend for dinner at La Calcina so of course my camera decided what it liked. The day had turned grey and very cool…no gorgeous sunset tonight. Maybe mourning the loss of Karen and Mike. Maybe that was just me.
Per i cani….for the dogs
I wandered along a little shopping street….it deserves a post of it’s own as it had some “interesting” shops. At the end was a canal (what else). Here’s what I got but I also plan to come back on a blue sky day.
I was getting a little cold so I wandered through this Sotoportego.
A handsomely decorated pisotta. Don’t know what this is? Well, they were developed a long time ago to discourage “gentlemen” from peeing in the corners.
I gatti…above the exit.
A grey evening….no spectacular sunset tonight.
The entrance to the hotel.
At the desk I explained that I was meeting a friend there for dinner and did they have someplace I could wait. He directed me to this lovely room.
I’m in heaven. A tiny, beautiful room. I was wishing I had done my head-wrap with my leopard print scarf so I could look more like an “international woman of mystery”.
I could sit and watch the world go by.
I decided this would be the perfect hotel for a honeymoon (maybe it was the canoodling couple who came in and sat on the sofa taking selfies with their smart phones) or perhaps (and it looks so sexy in Italian) una relazione clandestina….a clandestine affair.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of a magazine article I read years ago about women traveling solo. She said that when you come to a new place put yourself up at the best place you can afford. They will think you are a whore anyway so you might as well look like a successful one. Excellent advice.
I craved something hot to drink and ordered a cioccolata calda (hot chocolate for you non Italian speakers).
Thick and rich and had no need of the extra sugar provided.
Oh, did you notice the fireplace? Not real but gives a nice ambiance. No open fires allowed in Venice for obvious reasons.
My Latvian friend texted that she had just read my email and was running for the vaporetto. I texted back that there was no rush and I was perfectly happy and content where I was. She arrived a little while later and we sat and talked for a while and then checked about dinner. We never thought for a moment that we would need a reservation at 6:30 pm on a Tuesday in mid-March but it seems they were fully booked (mostly by a very large party of locals) but they found us a charming table in a back corner.
We ordered two of the chef’s recommendations of the day from the menu. I finally had Spaghetti alla Buscara and it is now my favorite Venetian dish.
She had pizza alla Ruskin (John Ruskin was a frequent visitor to Venice and with his wife wrote “The Stones of Venice”….this hotel is sometimes referred to as Ruskin’s House).
I finished with my favorite dessert…tiramisu.
All too soon the evening was ending. Okay, it had been an Italian restaurant meal meaning we lingered for three hours. But she had to pack and had a flight to catch back to Latvia in the morning.
Here is the front of the building where you can sit and dine in nice weather. They even have a floating dining area directly on the water. Maybe later this month.
We paused to take some pictures, hugged goodbye. A wonderful visit for two women who had never met face to face before. I looked across and momentarily considered getting the Hilton shuttle….which was right there…but decided to get the No. 2 vaporetto home. And walk across my bridge.
So I’m on my own again till my friends from London arrive the end of next week and then Yosemite Sam will arrive for my final week. I’m already making plans to keep him entertained. It’s hard to believe I’ve reached the halfway point in what I have decided is a spiritual journey. Of course it’s not “half over”. I’m too optimistic for that…I always see the glass as half full so this journey has only just begun. Won’t you continue along with me?