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Oh, what a night it was…

24 Feb

I was asked to speak at Founders’ Day for the AOII Chapter at Jacksonville State University Chapter. I wasn’t their first choice. The past international president who had installed the chapter twenty-five years ago and the chapter’s first president were slated to speak. As these are two of my favorite ladies, I made reservations to attend. Then I got a call telling me the chapter’s first president wasn’t going to be able to come (from Michigan) due to the death of a close friend. They asked if I could fill in her spot on the program to talk about the chapter’s early history. Of course, I said, “yes.” I jokingly asked how long they wanted me to talk because I could talk off the top of my head about this subject for two minutes or two hours. I was told to aim for somewhere in between — like twenty minutes.

I started looking for my “colonization” box, but after six moves in twenty years, I couldn’t find it. I know I have it, but it’s hiding from me. I was going to have to go entirely off my memory. As I reviewed the events leading up to the colonization and the colonization period itself in my head, there were some gaps. So I picked up the phone, and called some of the members I’ve stayed in touch with. I asked some specific questions and guess what…they couldn’t remember either! Well, that made me feel better. As I continued to ponder this period, some of the events came to me (some didn’t), but I felt I’d recalled enough information to be an entertaining speaker.

Then…the past international president had to cancel due to a family emergency. The chapter member organizing Founders’ Day called to tell me. I asked if she was replacing her with another keynote speaker and she said they thought I could just do that too. Well, although I could, it’d kind-of sort-of reshape what I’d planned to say. No problem, if anything, I’m flexible.

The week prior to the banquet, I was ice/snow bound beginning on Monday. On Wednesday and Thursday nights we had subzero temperatures. I’d planned to go to Jacksonville (AL) on Friday, but by the time my husband slid home from work it was snowing and sleeting again. It was supposed to warm up overnight and change to rain, but there was a LOT of ice on the roads, and I was doubting our chances on getting out. When we went to bed Friday night, the windows were frozen. Saturday morning, the sleet had changed to rain and the temps were above freezing…slightly. There was still a lot of snow and ice on the ground, but if we could just get to the interstate, we’d be heading south…

I breathed a sigh of relief. I really didn’t want to make the call to the Chair of the event. She’d already had two speakers cancel. Plus she’d gotten food poisoning earlier in the week. Knowing we might not make it, I’d made a couple of contingency plans, but I really wanted to go.

Before we moved, we were only a few miles from the miles from the interstate. Now, we’re in the country with lots of country roads and no snow removal equipment. But Hubby is a great driver, has a level head, and if he felt we’d be safe (which he did) I was comfortable venturing out. We waited until about 10 a.m. to start the four hour trip to let the ground thaw a little more yet give us plenty of time to arrive and settle in before the 6 p.m. banquet.

When we got to the hotel, Hubby headed to the gym and I went to our room. I sent a text to the student in charge of the banquet to let her know we’d arrived. She asked if she could stop by the hotel and soon arrived with a massive gift basket with snacks, bottled water, hot chocolate, a gift card, journal, pens, and other goodies. It was like Christmas going through it. While she and I visited, the phone rang and seven of “my girls” (now in their mid-forties) said they’d popped open a bottle of champagne. I gave them my room number and invited them to move the party to my room. When Hubby returned from the gym, he found it filled with giggling “girls” reliving their college days. He hit the shower. When they were still there when he got out of the shower, he sweetly suggested WE might want to get ready for the banquet too.

We drove to the University and toured the new hall where the girls have suites. Four girls share a four bedroom, two bath suite with a sitting area and small kitchen. It was much different from twenty-five years ago. The banquet was actually going to be in the same building on a different floor, which made it easy to get there.

The room was beautifully decorated with wheat centerpieces. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of one. As a souvenir, they had a rose tree seed in a burlap pouch–very creative. The food was good, and the program was well-planned and executed perfectly. About two dozen of the founding and early chapter members were there…plus about two hundred other members of the sorority, parents, and guests. I got to visit with folks I haven’t seen in years and had a delightful time.

It’d been a while since I’d spoken at a banquet. This time, I decided to speak from the heart, without notes…which means I have no idea what I said. It went over well, but me, ever the critic, failed to tell them one thing I’d planned to include. Because I was talking about the early chapter members and the foundation of the chapter, I’d meant to say what those members are doing now…but I left that out so I’ll include it now.

These early pioneers of this chapter are now doctors, lawyers and in other areas of the medical profession; teachers at all levels, including a full university professor; they are women who have risen up the corporate ladder and successful entrepreneurs; artists–an author who has published a series of books and an entertainer; one member is an organ donor (to a stranger) and a couple of weeks after the procedure she ran in a half marathon (I think)–it might have just been a 10k. There are top sales people, and there are some amazing mothers, including a couple who have special needs or seriously ill children. These are the women I had the honor of working with when they were collegians.

I was bemoaning the fact that I’d forgotten to include this in my remarks, and one of the women said their success shouldn’t come as a surprise. They were leaders in the sorority, on campus, and in the community…it’s what attracted them to AOII. It was only logical they’d continue as they entered different phases of their lives.

The following morning, I had breakfast with those staying at the same hotel as us. It was just like old times.

I wasn’t married to Hubby when I advised these women. He’d met several of them, but had never been around this many at once. He said I glowed when I was with them. No doubt. I felt like they were “mine” when they were in school…still do.

Here are a few pictures from the fun weekend…

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Champagne in our room prior to the banquet

THE BANQUET

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Banquet Chair

SOME OF “MY” GIRLS

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THE MORNING AFTER

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‘Til next time…

~ Kay

 
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Reentry to the posting world

24 Feb

It’s been a while. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to post, I’ve just not had time to write the posts. I’ve made a note of subject matter so I could write the posts later, and today I begin. However, I’ve decided to write them based on what feels right for not that day and not try to keep them in calendar order. Yep, I’m going to do something unorganized and out of sequence. I think it’ll be a growth experience for me.

So here goes…

~ Kay

 

 
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SISSY

02 Dec

My younger sister had the misfortune (according to her) of being born in December.

She figured out early in life she shared her birth month with Christmas, and it was really easy to “combine” birthday and Christmas presents, though I don’t know that this EVER happened to her. Regardless, when she was about five, she began a campaign to remind relatives her birthday was a distinctly different day from Christmas and under no circumstances whatsoever should the two be confused or combined. She did this by telling people (beginning around the end of summer), “Don’t forget December 2nd.”

Well, it’s December 2nd, and I haven’t forgotten. Happy birthday to my wonderful, brilliant, loving,  adorable baby sister. I love you!

 

DSCN0166 P1020065~Kay

 
 

Thanksgiving Greetings

27 Nov

When I was a child my aunt and uncle had a farm. I remember one year when I was 2 or 3, they brought a turkey to our house before Thanksgiving. I named it Gobble Gobble. I had no idea it was going to be Thanksgiving dinner. And they had no idea I was watching from the window as they killed it. I ran from the house to stop the execution, but I was too late. This is one of my earliest memories, by the way. I was an adult before I ate turkey. I preferred ham.

The same uncle would let my sister and me “pick” our favorite piglet when a sow had a litter of pigs. We’d watch them grow up. I remember when I learned he’d taken them to be slaughtered. I was furious and old enough to tell him so. He presented my sister and me each with a “piggy bank” filled with pennies (which I still have) and the proceeds from “our” pigs went into our bank accounts. Interestingly, I didn’t stop eating ham. I wonder what that says about me.

Today is Thanksgiving and, as always, I have lots to be thankful for: a loving husband whom I adore, a sister I not only love but also like, a beautiful grandchild, three step-sons who are good people and two have married lovely young women perfect for each of them, several godchildren, two nieces and a nephew, great in-laws, other family that loves me, a comfortable home and lifestyle, good health, and too many blessings to count. So, on this holiday, I am thankful for much.

I hope you have pleasant Thanksgiving memories and that today will provide you with even more. From my family to yours:

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

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~Kay

 
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Strategy for Cyber Monday

24 Nov

I have friends and relatives who wouldn’t miss the after Thanksgiving sales. Not me. I don’t even want to drive in the traffic. I’ve found I can get as good (or better) deals online probably anytime but certainly on Cyber Monday.

I’ve been collecting catalogs and have started perusing them for things I might want to order as Christmas gifts.

I’ve learned through the years to always check to see if there are discount coupons or coupon codes I can use. If the website doesn’t show one, google the store name and ‘discount coupon’ to double check.

Another trick I use is e-bates. I don’t remember how I discovered this, but I’ve been doing it since 2007 — when I remember. You sign in to e-bates, then go to the store where you want to shop to see if there are any e-bates and they’ll take you right to the website. If you’ve already done your shopping and then remember you can go to ebates, sign-in, go to the store and it will pick up your shopping cart, so you’ll get the rebates.

The cool thing is it’s for places I want to shop: Amazon, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Macy’s, QVC, Best Buy, Sears, Macy’s, ToysRUs…over 1700 stores. I have my Amazon account tied to a charity and it doesn’t mess with that. It just sends me a rebate when I’ve accumulated a few dollars in my account. Yesterday, I deposited a check for $16.37 that arrived out of the blue. It was forwarded from our old address, because I hadn’t remembered to change our address with them. (I’ve done it now!) Since 2007, I’ve received small checks like this totaling a couple hundred of dollars. Not a fortune, but these little checks spend. And, I’ve forgotten to use e-bates most of the time, although I think they have a feature now to remind you when you go to a store tied to them–not sure how that works. I just downloaded the app today.

Right now they are doing a membership drive. For every new member recruited, I get $5 plus bonuses at certain levels. For example, if I really worked it (which I’m not going to do — I’m writing a book after all) and recruited 1000 members, they’d pay $25k. Now, that’s not chicken change.

I sent a few (40 or so) e-mails out recently and if those people sign up, I’ll get paid. I’ll put the link to sign up below — I’m not sure if I’ll get credit if you sign up from it or not, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important, is you can start getting these rebates and the next time they offer a membership drive, if you want to work it, you can make some big bucks.

If you know me personally, you know I’m not gullible (ok, maybe I am–a little), but I’m also smart, and I’ve been doing this for seven years. These checks spend and, just as importantly, they don’t send me spam (which is probably why I forget to sign in before shopping every time).

Here’s the link:

http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=3AmnRjZ9JTB0SQ3IoEXpPQ%3D%3D&eeid=

If you already have any e-bate experiences, I’d love to hear about them. Or, if after signing up, you do a lot of shopping and love your rebates, let me know.

~ Kay

 

 
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Missing Daddy

20 Nov

It’s been a year since the death of my dad.

 

Maybe because he was the last of our parents to die, it was particularly difficult for me. I did some individual grief counseling with a Hospice Counselor here and then a five-day intensive workshop on grief as well. While the therapy helped, I’ve concluded, it takes time and sunshine to overcome the profound sense of loss after the death of a loved one. My mom’s been gone twenty-two years, and I still miss her.

 

Daddy died late in the evening of November 20th, but Hospice didn’t arrive to pronounce him until early morning on the 21st. Therefore his DOD was officially the 21st–or so I thought. I found out earlier this week that his local family made the decision to use the 20th instead of the 21st as the date at his gravesite. I have no objection to which date they used–one day doesn’t make any difference. It certainly isn’t going to bring him back. I guess I would have just liked to have been included in the decision or at least the thought process.

Oh well…

 

Here are a few photos of Daddy from through the years:

 

When it was just me:

Joel holding Baby Beratta Daddy and Kay

 

With my sister and me:

Easter Sunday BJ Dad Kay Nashville 1999

 

 

With Hubby and me — what’s with the Hawaiian shirts:

Daddy Kay and Greg May 2004

It was a theme party!!!

It was a theme party!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Near the End:

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How I’ll Remember Him:

DadJoel Gomillion  *  1/1/33-11/20/13

 

RIP Daddy. I love and miss you.

~ Kay

 
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Italy — Final post — What would I have done differently?

19 Nov

Hindsight is 20/20. Don’t get me wrong; our trip was great, but there are a few things I’d do differently if doing it over or if making recommendations for someone else. Therefore, I decided to make a list in case I have the opportunity to go back or if someone wants to use our trip as a guide for his or her own.

  • I would have postponed the trip until after my dad’s death. Of course. we didn’t realize it was imminent. We had cancelled it the prior year due to the illness and eventual death of Hubby’s mom. Looking back, I think I would have been happier had we postponed it again. But be careful with this one, because there’s always something, some reason you can find not to go. I’m talking life and death.
  • I liked the method of travel we chose with a travel company booking hotels, trains, and transfers. However, if we go back, I think I’d want a car to drive between cities to explore the countryside.
  • Six days in Rome was too much (for me). I would have done another out of town excursion.
  • I loved northern Italy and with three weeks, you really have to either choose northern or southern — you can’t do it all. I would, however like to see the Amalfi Coast and Sicily. We have access to a house in Sicily. How cool would it be to go there for a month or so? Maybe when we retire.
  • I love all of the movies set in Rome and saw many of the settings while there. I’d like to see more.
  • I would have packed less, but that’s true of almost every trip I’ve ever taken. When will I learn?
  • I think I might have kept a journal. I’m not good at journaling (odd for a writer) but I find a year later I’m fuzzy on a lot of the facts. Did this happen in Florence or Venice? What was the name of the place where such and such was? You probably picked up that I offered little history about specific sites and not even that many specific sites for that matter. We saw plenty, but your can get that information from a guidebook. You can’t get our impressions from a guidebook.
  • Maybe I’d make an effort to learn a little more of the language (though it was easy enough to communicate without knowing any). It would be a good growth opportunity for me.
  • Although I’d been told Rome wasn’t safe, I felt safe, certainly as safe or safer than in large American cities. I wouldn’t have been so concerned about this.
  • We didn’t have a problem but, you don’t want to get involved with the police in Italy, especially Rome. If you do, try to get the embassy engaged immediately. It’s best to stay out of trouble.
  • I would have catalogued my photos better, stayed in touch with the amazing people we met, written my blog posts soon after returning so I’d have a more accurate travelog of our trip
  • I would have gotten a phone/text plan so I wouldn’t have felt so isolated from home. I know that’s the purpose of a vacation, but in the world today we are so accustomed to being connected. I wouldn’t have to take every call. I’d just have access should I need it.
  • Start planning the next trip — oh, I think I did that!  :-)

~ Kay

 

 

 
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Day trip to Switzerland

17 Nov

We took a day trip to Switzerland and, except that the driver drove 80 mph in the middle of curvy mountain roads, it was one of most fun days of the trip.

The trip was set up by Kate, our local host for Stresa. We split the cost with the other two couples left in our “group” and got a private vehicle and driver. We called him Mario. He knew the roads well, but his driving scared the living daylights out of all of us.

He drove us across the border. Then we took a train so we could catch another train to go up the Matterhorn Railway to a peak where we could almost see the Matterhorn. We needed Swiss clock accuracy to make all of our connections. If it’d been just a little less cloudy…

It didn’t matter, the trip up the mountain afforded us awesome views and once we got to the top it was as though we were on top of the world.

Impressions:

  • Switzerland might be right next to Italy as the crow flies, but the roads don’t go like crows. They are curvy, mountainous, and scary. The trip took a couple of hours.
  • While Italians were very welcoming and polite, the Swiss were downright rude.
  • It was difficult to find a place to eat because things closed during midday then opened later — we ended up eating at a McDonalds. This was true of shops too. We also found some of this in Italy, especially in the more rural areas. Wouldn’t you think they’d stay open during peak times to attract tourists? Oh well, that’s just my logic.
  • Switzerland was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen
  • We hadn’t planned this outing, so we layered pretty much all the clothes we’d taken for warmth. We found a shop in Stresa for scarves, gloves and hats, which we didn’t need. There was snow and it was cold, but it didn’t feel cold. Maybe it was the excitement.
  • Switzerland is very expensive

 

At the top:

That's the Matterhorn you can almost see in the background

That’s the Matterhorn you can almost see in the background

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Kate, our host and guide

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Other Pictures

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About the only place open for lunch was McDonalds. It cost almost $40 US for three of us. This is the whole crew except Kate, the guide who took the picture…actually she took about 30 because my iPad didn’t “click”.

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After a hair-raising drive back to our hotel, our 12-hour field trip concluded. The pictures don’t do it justice. Switzerland was breathtakingly beautiful.

Recommendations:

  • Buy some Swiss Army knives (when in Rome…) It was one of the most popular souvenirs we purchased. Tip: be sure to pack in your luggage as you can’t carry though customs.
  • If you think you might go to Switzerland, pack some warm socks, gloves, and a scarf. You can layer other clothes to get by for a day.

 

 Final views from our room:

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Canceling Milan and staying a few extra days in Stresa gave us the opportunity to visit Switzerland and have some real down time before returning home. The perfect end to our almost three weeks in Italy. In my next and final post in this series, I’ll tell you what I would’ve done differently.

~Kay

 
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Lake Maggiore in Stresa

14 Nov

Leaving Venice was sad for several reasons. It was my favorite city for one thing, but we also had to say goodbye to our new friends, John and Beth who were returning to home. I think I remember they were taking a water taxi to the airport, but I could be wrong. If not, how cool is that? We had a great time with them, and really thought we’d stay in touch. Greg and John have e-mailed a few times, but I dropped out of the communication world when I returned home to find Daddy so ill and never reestablished the relationships I meant to keep from the trip. I offer amends to them and to our travel partners for the rest of the trip.

The group dwindled after Venice and there were only three couples left. The other two were traveling together. It was a brother and sister (a little older than us) and their spouses. They’d traveled together a lot and had their routine down, but we jumped in the middle of it, and they were very welcoming.

From Venice we went to Milan then transferred to Stresa near Baveno, small villages in the uppermost tip of Italy on Lake Maggiore. I’d heard of Lake Como, but not Lake Maggiore, but I can’t imagine a more beautiful and relaxing place, and it was just what I needed. It was where I discovered how ill Daddy was and that he was having surgery. We’d planned to return to Milan for our final three days, but Milan is a big city and after relaxing at Lake Maggiore, we decided we didn’t want to return to the hustle bustle of a large city even though we had non refundable tickets to see the Lord’s Supper painting.

Lake Maggiore is the second largest lake in Italy. It is in the north west part of the country across the border from Switzerland. The lake was formed by two glaciers and is surrounded by pictorial hills. The pink granite from Baveno has been used in structures from Paris to Bangkok. Around the lake, Mediterranean species such as lemon, olive and bay will survive and the many gardens flourish with flowers like camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons and trees like magnolias. The lake holds a number of freshwater fish including perch, pike, freshwater cod,, whitefish, and eels (uck).

Strata was known for tourism in the early 1900’s and built several luxury hotels. It is close enough to ski areas to also be a draw for that sport. After World War II, Stresa hosted the first ever Miss Italia contest in 1946 at the Hotel Regina Palace and hosted the Miss Universe Italian final in 2002. With the addition of three more grand four star hotels, Stresa’s is known as a world class resort town. However, when we were there, it wasn’t crowded. In fact, the hotel where we were booked closed “for the season” so we were moved to another 4-star hotel and to compensate us for our inconvenience, we our rooms were upgraded. We had balconies with magnificent views.

Our hotel was huge, though it didn’t have a big feel because it wasn’t a high-rise–it just sprawled over several acres. We witnessed a wedding. There was both a fabulous indoor pool and outdoor pool (and I mean fabulous) and the spa area was to die for. We got massages while we were there and except for the three mile hike (yes, a slight exaggeration), it was heavenly. The restaurants were small and quaint and this is something I don’t think I’ve mentioned before about Italian restaurants. Unlike American restaurants, they don’t rush you to turn tables. In fact, that wait for you to signal them to ask for a menu, to order, to bring your check — they don’t seem to care if you stay there all night. At first it was a bit frustrating…the waiting. But once we got with the flow and understood that was the culture (and learned to relax into their system, it was pretty nice. So be prepared when you go out to eat. If you want a quick meal, go to McDonald’s. If you go to a real restaurant, it will most likely take a while, but will be worth it.

I think we were in Strata when Greg asked what something on the menu was (after he’d ordered and eaten it). We were in a small local restaurant and waitress didn’t speak English. She pantomimed pouring watering into a large pot, adding the ingredient and constantly stirring. The best we could figure it was the Italian version of grits. We weren’t getting it, so she went to the kitchen and brought out the large box and it was indeed something similar to grits. It was experiences like that which were priceless.

I wish I could explain how beautiful Lake Maggiore and this region is, but words fail me. It is opulent but not ostentatious. You are away from the city so the people are a different breed. The pace was slower and along with Hana (Hawaii) and Banff (Canada) it ranks as one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited. Maybe some photos can give you an idea of why it was pretty close to Heaven.

 

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View from our room

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Another angle

 

Our room

 

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These pictures are from an opulent summer home off the cost of Stresa. We could see it from our room and take a ferry there.

Out to visit the summer home on an island just off the coast

Summer home – WOW

The gardens were fabulous

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Hubby really got into posing like status

Hubby really got into posing like status

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One of my favorite photos from entire trip — in Stresa looking over Lake Maggiore. Note tennis shoes!

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We found out Daddy’s cancer was back while in this heavenly place a world away from the trauma of what he was facing. As I said earlier, we decided to forgo our trip to Milan and spend the rest of our vacation here where we could relax and meditate and be in a more spiritual place. I was able to Skype with my aunt to keep up with what was going on and even say hello to Daddy, though he was out of it for the most part.

While here we took a day trip with the other two couples and our guide to Switzerland. It was a great diversion, and I had to add it to my most beautiful places I’ve been list. That’s the next post.

Til then

~Kay

 
 

Venice — Where beauty and culture meet

12 Nov

Of all the major cities we visited during our trip, Venice was my favorite. We only missed George Clooney’s wedding by a year.

Venice is a city of over 100 small islands, 150 canals or channels and over 400 bridges — which means there is lots of water. In fact, Venice uses the many canals as streets.

There aren’t motorized vehicles in the historical district, not even delivery trucks. Deliveries arrive by barge on the canal. People walk or use water taxis, or Vaporetto (public water buses), or Traghetto (public gondola to cross the Grand Canal between bridges) or Gondolas, which are really just tourist traps and very overpriced and overrated. OK, yes we did one and the guy didn’t even sing. Hubby did (of course) to the delight of all the other gondola passengers in the vicinity.

The Grand Canal splits the City and if you don’t have to cross it, you probably won’t get too lost, but our hotel was on one side of it and most of the things we wanted to do were on the other side. It wasn’t far, but there are a limited number of bridges which cross the Grand Canal. Finding them was a challenge. We walked miles (yes, on cobblestone) looking for a bridge to get us back to our hotel our first night there. The bummer was there was no way to admit we were lost (as in other cities), hail a cab, and take the easy way out. We were following our new friend John who’d been there once thirty years ago and thought he knew where we were going. We were ready to kill him when we finally got back to the hotel.

On the flip side, we saw lots of alleys and places we probably would not have explored otherwise.

I can’t find my notes from the tour packet, so I’m going entirely on memory here.

Impressions:

  • Wow! Beautiful! Romantic!
  • You really, really need good shoes here because you’ll walk for miles. The pace is slower and there are a lot of sidewalk cafes to stop and have coffee or gelato or some of the delicious pastries that adorn many of the storefronts.
  • Venice is beautiful and very romantic with its bridges, water and old buildings. Some of the pictures we took with our iPhone (our camera had broken by then) looked like postcards
  • Venice is small in comparison to Rome and Florence so it is feasible to walk everywhere–if you can just remember your route back. If not, retracing your steps is frustrating and tiring.
  • The signs are actually pretty good, once you learn the signage system
  • The culture of Florence extends to Venice in the architecture and art
  • Because of the water and the challenge of getting goods to stores, things are done on a smaller scale
  • You can find fabulous Murano glass or Burano lace. Good buys on jewelry.
  • Venice is a fun city — think extended Carnevale (Mardi gras)

 

They took us to a glass blowing demonstration and to the island Burano where lace is made. We ran into our friend from North Carolina on the trip to Burano and had lunch with her.

Boat to island

Boat to island

Our friend from NC who we kept seeing in Italy

Our friend Nancy from NC who we kept seeing in Italy

 

 

 

 

 

 

At dinner that night, we were eating with our new pals near our hotel. Our table was near the window and, I swear, Nancy popped up in the window like a puppet. I was beginning to think she was like Endora from Bewitched. We loved having her around, but she showed up when we least expected her.  Our itineraries split the next day so we didn’t see her again until after we returned home.

We’d been told to look for a violinist in Venice. We knew he played on a sidewalk in front of a restaurant on the main square and that he was bald. We found him one night, but my phone had no charge to make a picture. The next day I snapped this one from afar. If you get out your magnifying glass you might see his bald head.

Believe it or not -- the violist. I'd have gotten closer, but my feet, even in tennis shoes were killing me!

Believe it or not — the violist. I’d have gotten closer, but my feet, even in tennis shoes were killing me!

We would have completely missed visiting a quaint section of the city had it not been for Beth. She is Jewish (John’s Catholic) and she wanted to go the Jewish Ghetto. It wasn’t far from our hotel. We found some amazing souvenirs in this historic area.

Beth and me

Kay and Beth at the waterfront

Greg and John -- two peas in a pod

Greg and John — two peas in a pod

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Nashville friend, Erica was just getting her business, Pastry Babies off the ground so it seemed appropriate to stop and send her a photo of exceptional bakery displays. If they happened to have samples, we certainly accepted–research for Erica, of course. BTW, Erica (and hubby Dale) now have displays that are similar to these in places like Whole Foods. So proud of them!

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Recommendations:

  • I can’t say it enough — good walking shoes. By now you might need band-aids or mole skin.
  • Go to the island of Burano where they make burono lace. It’s a short boat ride away and a nice place for lunch.
  • If time permits, visit the Murano glass factory. If not, see if you can find a glass blowing demonstration. At a minimum, BUY some Murano glass. You can find inexpensive pieces that are the real thing.
  • OK, Go for a gondola ride–you’re a tourist after all. But be aware, the price is negotiable.
  • Find the bald violinist at the restaurant on the edge of the big square at the waterfront. He’s at the upscale restaurant across from the big clock. Someone told us to look for him. It was so vague I thought we’d never find him, but it was worth the search. He was amazing
  • Venice is on the water, so keep a jacket handy even if it seems to be warm
  • Take lots of pictures — this place is such a photo op waiting to happen
  • Take an evening stroll with your honey (but drop bread crumbs, so you can find your way back)
  • Now with GPS, the whole getting lost thing, might not be an issue, but I wasn’t using my data plan, so I did’t have access to my GPS. Another reason to check that out with your mobile provider!

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So sad to say goodbye to Venice.

~ Kay

 
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