Travel flashback – I rather like the smooches of Italy ……. 2007

Posted: July 11, 2012 in divorce, italian men, Italy, photo journalism, pictures, Travel, travel journey, Uncategorized
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my mom, kelly, me , and Kelly’s mom

This 2007 trip to Italy saved me.  Here’s my story how I got my groove back.  I haven’t looked back since. 

After ten million hours of research, I come up with this, …………….and a Mom,  background on us – two friends , we are in our 40’s, both just experienced a nasty split with our significant others, (pure coincidence ) during our deep suffering we decide we need a trip, a big one, it will help our new found freedom, see amazing sights and to live it up a bit, so I told my momma about the plan, was ready to book it the next day, so what does she say? I want to go too !! , it’s something I should see before I die, DON’T YOU THINK??

I love Mom I do – but I didn’t expect to take her plus she is very frightened of planes, so she has to be drugged and she’s a slow walker, she’s 62— young still… but walks in that “stroll” mode, me— i’m like road runner, one mile ahead of her, so she puts the guilt on me and i have to take her plus call my friend tell her my mom’s joining , if she doesn’t mind?  I call Kelly and well she laughs hysterically , not the reaction I anticipated low & behold she tells me, i didn’t know how to tell you this but my mom wants to go too, so we are off in September, us and the momma’s.

Rome – Day One

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September 19, Thursday, arrive Friday 20th to Rome

Baltimore to Atlanta flight

I make it to the airport last, my mom, Kelly and her mom are already there, they come outside and tell me my 21” bag is going to have to be checked, they already had to check their’s , I say “bullcrap” I am not checking my bag, my tote-bag is not packed for extra clothes, I am afraid they will lose it so I am bound and determined the suitcase is going with me !!

I tell them all “be quiet” when I go up to the counter, let me try, at the counter the lady does tell me it has to be checked, I said no no no please!!! she said can you get it in that slot? I said sure I can, okay… I have a hell of a time trying to stuff it in the slot, I knock the thing over, Kelly is laughing and I am going to kill her…..finally I get it down and can’t get it out, I start unzipping compartments and am literally handing out to Kelly and the mom’s undergarments, pajamas, socks — whispering take this, take this, …… whatever was packed in the outside zippers compartments, after the distribution, my suitcase comes out of the holder (still with a struggle ) but waaaalaaaaaaaaaa, I did it !! the check-in counter people even clapped ! told ya I was determined I’m not checking it !!!! I meet a nice Delta lady at the counter, her dream is Morocco and she’s going Nov 1st ! I told her , mine is now !!

At 1:14  the plane is ready to take off, 2:20 we descend to Atlanta early.  Kelly and I find the smoke room, in there are soldiers.  They have been home 18 days from Iraq or Afghanistan  and now have to go back.  Looking at them makes me want to cry, so I go up and shake all their hands and say thank you, I can’t say much more to them or I am going to start crying hard…. I’m not for this war…. but no matter, their young lives are on the line, I take a few pics of them, so young……I’m going to Italy and their going back to war……..and it’s killing me inside! I say a silent prayer for their safety and happiness in life.

My mom is loaded up on her medications ( she has claustrophobia ) and I will have to keep my eye on her that she does not keep taking med’s forgetting what she’s had already.

Atlanta to Rome

Good flight , warm beer, flight staff is great, they are putting my beer on ice, sweet flight attendant originally from Venice, she is married to an American, she will visit her family in Venice, we talk about getting together there for a drink,

okay… I’m trying to settle down in my seat and I remember , WHERE IS MY BLACK BOOK,? My travel book, I have copied and pasted into for six months !! my home-made bible? … all my notes, schedules, confirmations, restaurants, maps ETC???? I cannot remember seeing it, this starts worrying the hell out of me, I tell the Mom’s and Kelly, I don’t recall seeing it in the 21” nor in the tote bag?? I have carried this book everyday to work for six months???? so I have to squeeze by the drugged Mom, look in the compartment at least in my tote, IT’S NOT THERE!!! All I can do is pray, it’s in the 21”, well that does not sit well with me, so I fidget in my seat worrying about that book, finally I tell myself: shut up !!! are u going to let a lost book ruin your time? Answer to me : No, so than I try to relax, a movie is on with Jane Fonda, I take a “mild” sedative so I can sleep, I’m not a fan of flying at all, I have cold beer , they feed us grilled chicken breast, mashed sweet potatoes, etc, I fall asleep….. and on the guy next to me, he will later become a friend of sorts, he is from Rome.

Finally we land, Stefano’s guy is there , right on time ! it’s 8:30 a.m. we get money from the ATM and roll out — but first , I had to open the 21” and see if my book is there, it’s not, now I realize I have somehow left it home or in my daughter’s car?

We head out with quite a bit of traffic, we finally pull up to our hotel Domus Sessoriana (Santa Croce of Gerusalemme Church) and I am LOVING IT !! www.domussessoriana.it/index.php…

We get to our room’s, fantastic!!! the window is floor length, (tho Kelly’s window was smaller) and we have a balcony ! yessssssssss… than we run to explore the rooftop terrace ( I was already in love with it just from the pics on their website) so I had to see it, wowwwwwwwwwww, it was huge and had spectacular views, especially of San Giovanni basilica.  We freshen up than go walking trying to find a place for lunch, lots of walking and exhausted mom’s .. who are getting snappy !!

We backtrack to a place we saw with outside tables, have lunch at (La Vecchia Conca)and walk back to our hotel, did a no no, slept, the plan was not to sleep but we did, got up , showered and dressed and head for the Spanish steps ( cab 8 euro) good guy, he tells of two good places for dancing, we didn’t go but here they are in case you are interested, Gilda (near Spanish steps) and Testaccio.

We are driving and all the sudden we see the Colosseum, huge wowwwwwwwwwwwww for us, I take pics from the cab, I cannot believe the things I see !

We are supposed to be there at 6, we arrive too late ! I miss my appointment with Angel tours, (this will become a theme, missed tours) lots of people there, have our look ….. so I decide well, I will do the nighttime tour myself, we find our way to Trevi fountain, what a beauty that is… but crowded, too crowded, we do our coin toss, admire the fountain than start walking and see the statue man, ( who is painted and supposed to be still ) he is NOT — I’m getting my pic with him and he starts massaging my head, I’m yelling “Kelly take the pictureeeeeeeeee, HURRYYY he is molesting me !” she is laughing so hard, there is a crowd around watching…. and he goes right for my chest ! I keep a sense of humor about this — what a job this man has getting all those feels in and gets paid for it !!

ext we find the Pantheon and wowwwwwwwwww, it just stuns you, it was dark, glowing but I got that pic, I just stand there——- staring at it, amazed, …I cannot believe the things I see…..which will happen often thru this trip.

Next….. set out to find Piazza Navona, we decide we must have drinks there, extremely funny waiter, we nicknamed him—— Luke (off the Thornbirds movie) he’s a pistol, we meet a whole table of guys from England and they are humorous too, they were playing a game with pig dice? and you have to drink a pint kind of drinking game, one of them is a true character!   I see they are getting huge glasses of draft beer and I tell Luke, I want one ( I had beer in a bottle) well Luke tells me you cannot drink that, my table proceeds to tell him OH YES SHE CAN so he gets me one.  Kelly has the best white Russian I have ever tasted in my life.  Since we are having such a good time, we decide to stay there for dinner, 212 euro for 4 of us but we ate and drank and how often will I be sitting at Piazza Navona? ohhhh and let me add this little bit, my friend Kelly, has forgotten to take some money out of her money belt, so it’s time to pay, and she is very discreetly trying to remove cash from under her dress, Luke must have radar, because all the sudden he is there and tells Kelly “Nice Bank” her jaw drops .

We find a cab home, ask the price, he says 8 euro, we say okay , hop in, get to the hotel, the fare jumps to 21?????? this old guy tries to rip us off, we get in an argument about it, my mom is the last one in the car and he yells at my mom, fungoli yourself !!! and throws the money, or some word like that, well we are stunned, shocked, mad and later in hysterics laughing, who would of thought that at the end of your first night in Rome , you would be parked in front of a beautiful church…. with monks in there —- where u are staying….. a holy place ! there are Jesus relics in there, and this old man—- the cab driver is telling you right there in front of God and everything……. fungoli yourself ??? (which I know must mean F.Y). after he is the one who lied??? and throwing your money at you??? like you’re the criminal?? MIND BLOWING !! Mom told him , fongoli yourself !!! and I said MOM not in front of the church !!!!

End of Day 1, midnight , now I can’t believe what I have “heard” 🙂

Day 2, Friday September 20

Okay I am up 6:30 a.m., they are sleeping, it’s getting light out but no sun yet, I get myself dressed quietly and go to the breakfast room and get coffee and take it to the rooftop terrace, hung out there , watched the sun come up and took pics. Went back to my room and sorted my luggage, went to have breakfast and write in my spiral notebook. They are not waking up early so we won’t make the open bus tour before the 12:30 vatican tour with Angel’s,

We take the metro and get on heading the wrong way, get off to what we think is the Vatican stop and it’s not, it’s some kind of parking lot, mom is trying to buy scratch off’s, I am ready to choke her because a man offered to walk us to the right train, he gives me directions and we wait for Mom and her scratch off, find the right train and guess what? We arrive too late and MISS the angel’s tour (AGAIN) so we decide we will do St. Peter’s on our own and save the Vatican for another day. The site of Michelangelo’s Pieta, just beautiful, it’s one of those moments again where I am saying to myself, I cannot believe the things I see ! We roam all around and get lost from each other but I am confident we will find each other and I go on exploring in awe.

We do find each other eventually and start to leave but I decided I will talk to the Scavi office , I explained the situation that I had emailed them lots and showed them some copies, they inform me that — they gave me an appointment in July ! I said What??? I did not get the email I have looked for it for months which was 100% the truth, so he gave me an appointment for Monday like I had asked. 9:30 am

I am feeling very happy about this because I truly was begging since March. It was just that something—- I really really wanted to do, this tour my Mom won’t take ( too small of a space ) and her phobia. (keep this in mind for later) We leave St. Peter’s feeling happy. We go walking and walking and walking , I’m looking for Dino and Tony’s which I know is near the Vatican. I can’t find it (it’s all in my missing book) and the mom’s are tired and getting snappy again !!! I don’t know what or how but we wind up and Campo de Fiori, we sit down at a cafe next to Cinema Farnese ( does someone know the name?) I get a beautiful sangria, the wonderful waitress, (originally from England but her dad is Roman) is so nice and pleasant, she brings us nachos and salsa than we have lunch, good prices here btw, I don’t want to eat too much because I am saving myself for DaFrancesco’s and meeting some TA members, our waitress ( and i don’t remember her name ) gives us directions to get the bus back to San Giovanni, than the walk from San Giovanni to Santa Croce of G, not that far, but feels like alot when you are tired from the walking, we get a nap, than wake to dress for our nightout , I have already decided we are taking a cab for DaFrancesco’s because I have been late for everything and I cannot be late for meeting my TA friends, the cabbie drops us off and we are still not by it? ask around and find our way, and darn it , we are late, go in the front door and I am looking at the crowd inside thinking— how am I going find them? A waiter comes up to me and says come with him and he takes us outside right to our TA friends !!! I am so happy we did this and it was a highlight of our trip, Christine and Joy are so very nice, so funny and we stay for hours eating drinking talking and laughing. The tables behind us with locals and some quite humorous people who are very into everything that happens at our table of six ladies, we talk and have introductions with some of them , (and jokes) one group took delight in offering to take our photos and than proceeded to act like he was running away with my camera, smart a** but funny !

Okay so u may remember , me and kelly went on this trip due to horrific breakups with our X’s — so are we open-minded to new experiences?

Two guys are walking in and all six of us think ( or say ) to each other, wowwwwwwwwww he’s cute, they smile and go in to dinner, later come back out and of course we are eye-balling them again, my mom gets an ideal to take the pic of them with Kelly , so that she can put it on a my space and make sure her cheating , lying X, sees it !!!! we start chatting and taking pics and they stay there with us, I think at this point, Christine and Joy are leaving soon, the chatting is not easy but we have the book !! we all decide to buy some wine and they will come with us to our rooftop terrace, the mom’s are tired want to go to bed, we go up have our wine, beautiful view of Rome etc, and walk them out about 3:30 or 4 a.m. than head for the stairs to go to our room’s and hear excuse me Madam, and we get…… ( okay Kelly gets ) a huge lecture about “no guests” , once he started talking I hid behind the wall — watching Kelly’s face and listening to him go on and on ( priceless ) listening to her apologize over and over, so sorry…so sorry, yes,,, so sorry… yes, so sorry, now her eyes are starting to water , so sorry.. and he finally stops the lecture, we get to our rooms, EXHAUSTED !!! ohhh what a night !

Next day……..low and behold, they take her keys away from her, she has to give the keys to them each time she leaves and she is HORRIFIED and embarrassed— she won’t go to the desk now… I have to go ….and I got to keep my keys and she is letting me have it !! lol

September 21, day trip to Tivoli, Day 3

Rome cabs, Maurizio is picking up up at the hotel at 11 a.m. we get up , dressed and I AM DEAD TIRED, i did not sleep well and partied it up too much and today is payback time, we’re in the van and I get car sick which i have not had since I was a child, by the time we reach Tivoli I am green around the gills, we sit and i take something , what i don’t know, but finally start feeling better, and we explore Villa d’ Este, amazing place, i have a thing for fountains and gardens, so i am in my glory, we stayed there quite awhile, Maurizio takes us to lunch at Hotel Adriano Ristorante? the food is wonderful and it’s beautiful sitting outside with the warm breeze. we decide not to go to Hadrians villa and we head back, I sit up front with Maurizio to try and avoid the car sickness, this did help, I highly recommend Maurizio, he’s a very nice man. we all liked him ! He’s an absolute gentlemen and personable. 39 3394508624 is his number.

evening – We take bus 85 to Campo de Fori and have dinner at one of the cafe’s , La Romanesca ( my receipt says ) good food, it’s getting crowded, lots of young people, it’s okay , not really my cup of tea there but okay, I believe we took the #30 bus back,

Sunday Sept 23rd, Day Four

I am truly exhausted and have learned from Kelly (at some point) that , Max and Max are picking us up on Sunday for a date, 8 pm, ( double tomorrow as they explained it 🙂 ) we’re going to dinner and i am really not wanting to go, it was fun the first time we met them yes………no doubt…. but i had the Scavi tour monday morning early , and i know without a doubt, we are going to be out very late with them, and I don’t know it yet—— but I am about to get sick with a cold , so that’s another reason why i was feeling blahhh about going, but kelly likes her Max and doesn’t want to go alone….. and my max, cute as anything, 100% a player, nice as can be, i’m not taking anything away from him, he’s great, i just was so darn tired, I tell Kelly okay I’ll do it, so during the day, we go to the flea market by San Giovanni and than head for the Colosseum, the streets are closed and it is magnificent, a huge I can’t believe what my eyes are seeing day, we had the Roma Pass ( which i had purchased at our hotel ) avoided the line and explored, truly amazing, after we go to a cafe nearby and get lunch, i had the hot dog pictured, because they were not serving food yet, and we were so hungry, i truly recommend seeing the Colosseum on a Sunday, thanks to TA for that advise, 🙂

We get home and get ready for our “dates” mom’s are going out to dinner somewhere local, i’m still not feeling 100% but I am trying to make the best of it, they live on the outskirts of Rome and arrive about 20 minutes late, we are going to dinner some place outside the center and I do not know the place but we drove a lot on expressway’s and they drive soooooooooooooo fast !! we get to the restaurant and i think they picked it because this waitress they know — knows English, everything we don’t understand we talk thru her and she becomes our translator and she clarified some things, ( that we misunderstood ) i thought my Max was a fisherman who lived on a boat, come to find out,,, he does not live on a boat and likes to fish and fishes twice a week for a hobby, it was funny clearing up our misunderstandings, the waitress was a sweetheart, like i said, i knew we were going to be out late, and sure of enough we are leaving to go back 2:30 or 3 a.m. and I have to tell you of one neat experience, unique for us.  On the drive back, the radio is on, we are driving thru all kind of hills and god knows where we are , there’s a warm breeze coming thru the window and i am in the backseat with my max and he starts singing, he sang every Italian song on that radio, and sang so beautifully, at one point, it was a song they both liked, and they both started singing it to the top of their lungs, don’t know what song it was but I can tell you it was a precious moment in time rolling thru those hills , listening to max sing those Italian songs with such passion.  We get back to our hotel, see them off, and decide to sit out front because well…. we wanted to talk , about the Maxes (Max and Max2) and can’t do it in the hotel rooms , cuz the mom’s are sleeping , so we sit on the concrete bench talking, talking and a car pulls up, not too far away, lights are on for awhile…. but we are paying no attention to who or what’s in there because we are talking away and all the sudden Kelly says’s to me, “Jeannette tell me that guy in the car is wearing shorts”? I look up see one bare leg , than another comes out of the car and he is facing us, ………… than the shock of all SHOCKS—- he is very busy——with himself !!!!!!!!! ahhhhhhhhhh it’s so embarrassing writing this…… but it happened !!! kelly yells: oh my Goddddddddddddd and runs !!! i stand up and out from my mouth– i am yelling NO NO STOP THAT! Right now !!!!! This insane fellow actually waves his hands in a way to say, “wait !!stayyyyyyyyy don’t go !! ” now I am running too, well there is a huge iron door/gate that has been locked, we can’t get in and start buzzing the buzzer like crazy people, the guy in the car starts the engine and leaves, meanwhile we still have not been let in !!!! and we are both muttering to each other, can you believe that? can u believe that? oh my god can u believe that? and than Kelly says……… and I will never forget this as long as I live, with a big ole smile ( of course…… said after he is gone ) “IS THIS BEST VACATION EVER ?????

Manic Monday, September 24 Day Five,

We get up super early because it’s going to take alot to be at the scavi office by 9 am, and I screw up badly, from being too tired ( now I am coughing and have the sinus ) a full blown cold is coming on, I have had next to nothing in sleep for 4 days and did take Emergency C packets ( 35 of them— per Eternal1’s packing list ) and I had been using them and that probably saved me those first four days but it was catching up with me, no one else realizes we are going to the wrong place either, WE GO TO THE VATICAN !!! talk to the guard who says go to St. Peter’s , we start rushing, and LOSE MY MOMMMMMMMMMMM !!! I mean lose her big time ! we station ourselves at different street corners and wait and watch all these thousands of faces looking for my mom, now here’s the doozy………. remember what i told u earlier? she wasn’t even going on the Scavi tour !! why the heck she had to come with us I don’t know? after a long time, we finally find my mom,. and guess what? we have missed our tour , it’s already gone.

Well i am heavy- hearted about this, than that sweet man at the Scavi office , says to me, why don’t u come back at 12 and if someone doesn’t show up, you can go, well I am elated with this opportunity , we go off to a cafe and eat, kill time till its 12, get back to St. Peter’s , I have to get to the Swiss Guard to get to the Scavi and I don’t know why but they have the barricades and won’t let anyone go up, they are saying exit only, if i don’t get thru there, i am going to miss #3 opportunity, there are police who are not letting you up there, so Kelly ……… bless her heart says, when they are not looking , slip by him, and go up, so me and kelly’s mom do just that and get thru, on Kelly’s turn , she gets caught, she tries again, gets caught again, no dice.

I get to the scavi office, just me and kelly’s mom, and we wait for the appts to show, at the desk he tells me sorry……… they all are here we cannot go, i am so disappointed, in the course of that morning i have lost my mother, i have dodged policemen, hung around three hours, am getting sick and have had no sleep,

I accept defeat and tell him , thank you very much for all your help and at least giving me the opportunity to try.  Me and kelly’s mom leave and start walking outside, than my miracle happened, I hear his voice and he is calling me back !!! i rush back in the office , he makes a phone call and WE CAN GO !! they are squeezing us in ! i’m so happy i could kiss the man and what an amazing tour, it’s informative………it’s spiritual ………it’s worth every bit of persistence……..i had tears at St. Peter’s tomb………i cannot explain this feeling to you—- but if you can……….please go to this, experience it, u must !!

now to the Vatican Museum –

Elated from the Scavi and it being later in the day decide to head for the Vatican Museum and hopefully less crowds, it’s a huge line, we but it’s moving pretty fast no problem, we ask the Mom’s, ” you want anything to drink? go to the restroom? answer was no, so kelly and I leave them in line, go to a store and get some Corona and sit on a bench drinking it and having that conversation of wow, can you believe we are here? is this amazing? i’m so happy kind of talk, i think we are gone 15 minutes, we get back to the mom’s who are po’dddddddddddd at us for being gone, we asked them if they wanted to get out of line? wanted a drink etc etc,? and the answer was no, oh and btw, prior to entering the Vatican museum door, i say to each of them, if anybody get’s lost, this is meeting point, just come here, keep that in mind for later.

Kelly’s mom has decided ( i’m always way ahead of them, i walk fast , can’t help it, ) she’s tailing me ….and bless her heart she does a darn good job, my mom and kelly are together in the back somewhere, we make our way , finally reach the Sistine chapel which is so important to me, I read so much on Michelangelo, i’m truly enchanted with the man, tho I know he was a temperamental bugger and it makes me love him all the more.

All those people in there were getting on my nerves, i wanted the place to myself, selfish thought i know—– but i thought it,

I look look and look trying to soak it all in, it was an absolute bigger than huge, ” I can’t believe what my eyes are seeing ” moment.  I lose kelly’s mom in the Sistine chapel, can’t find her…. nor her me, so I continue on and explore the rest of museum, i’m cool with it because i have designated a meeting spot.

I finish the museum and come out right next to where we came in, okay no biggie, i’ll sit on the curb and wait for them, people watch and enjoy some alone time, ( thoughts on the museum – coming late i missed so much, i want to come back one day and take my time, days if i have to—– and i imagine it could be months or a lifetime of trips and still there would be more and more to see there )

okay so i’m on the curb, blue sky, i’m right with the world and marveling in my experience seeing the Sistine chapel, and i wait………and i wait……… and wait more…………and i scan every face coming out of the door, no Mom, no Kelly, no Kelly’s mom, I am getting a headache looking all the faces, my eyeballs are going into overtime, I get up and I go to the exit door, there is a well-dressed man there and I ask him “English” ??? he says yes, I said are there still more people in there? he said yes, i feel a wee bit of relief go back to my curb, later he comes up to me at the curb and says, “everyone is out now” i said WHATTTT?, you’re kidding, where are they ? i tell him i lost my mom and friends, and now i am in a shock where the heck are they ?? and why if they did get lost why are they not at the meeting spot? i’m thirsty , i’m hungry and could use the restroom but i didn’t want to leave the spot because i thought i might miss them.  The well-dressed man, asks me if I would like to go have a “coffee” I explain to him again, i have lost my mother and friends i have to stay here, he acts like he doesn’t understand what i am saying, so i said ” English? he said yes “little , go slow ” so I say it slow but i don’t think he understands what I am saying and he says ” NO COFFEE, NO COFFEE WITH ME” ?? i said a plain “no coffee”, he walks off and he’s looks mad at me, no ciao or nothing !

I resume my position on the curb, now the place is getting empty , hardly no one is sitting around, i leave, i go to a cafe, i’m starved– thirsty etc, so i thought well this can be my first alone , cafe experience i’ll grab a quick bite and beer, than make decision about what to do, i had a pizza with mushroom, darnnnnnnnnnnnn good i tell u and two drafts, after the nourishment i decide i am going back to the hotel, i don’t know where the metro stop is but i know it’s somewhere close and i start asking my way, ( and gosh how nice are the people of Italy? with the amount of questions they get from tourists, most all them do anything to help ) I admire that greatly. It’s got to become a pain?

I get there take the metro all by myself, get off at at san giovanni , walk to the hotel, no mom , no kelly, so i wait…………smoke……… wait , it’s dark, i’m getting worried, and finally they show up, and my mom has the attitude “where were you”?????? with a face on , i’m saying excuse me , WHERE WERE YOU??? she said we sat and waited for you, u didn’t come, ask them ( meaning kelly and the mom ) i say sat where? i finished the whole museum, and looked at every face that came out , and u were not there !!!!!!!!!!! i march right to kelly’s door, i’m getting a look from kelly’s mother and i ask Kelly “what happened” she explains to me , that “my mom” didn’t want to stay in the sistine and that exit everyone here talks about that gets you to St. Peter’s , they took that thinking………. they finished the Vatican museum… which they did not ! and the meeting spot, they didn’t think to go there, okay no big deal but it’s funny how my mom never mentioned any of that to me?

We are all pooped, decide to have dinner in the area where our hotel is,   it was very nice food, a pretty place and I cannot find the receipt, I can tell you if you cross the street in front of Santa Croce of G, go left than to a small street, make a right go up ( and there will be tables outside on the left ) you’ve found it, it’s a little pricey but worth it, we wanted something special for our last night in Rome, it was decorated nicely, good food, very efficient waiter. I hope to find the name of it. We keep it light tonight because we have to pack for the train to Florence in the morning. All the troubles earlier in the day have vanished, we visit the terrace and say goodbye to Rome and I know without a doubt I am going to miss this place. I’ve got five coins in that Trevi and I hope that gives me five more trips at least? 🙂

Mom drove me nuts at times, yes she did and Kelly will say the same about her’s, I am sure they could say the same about us  but I wouldn’t change them coming for anything in the world.   There were moments on my mom’s face that were priceless.  She had the time of her life.  I’ll always remember that.

After five nights in Rome we are off to Florence the beautiful !!!

We will be staying five nights, everything goes smooth getting to the train station, Kelly’s mom has packed too much and she’s about to regret it , she has three suitcases and a handle on one is about to break, we get on the train, the right car but I didn’t realize it was assigned seats, we find that out than try to make our way to the correct seats, no easy task with the amount of people and suitcases wedged in the aisles, a british fellow, ( bless his heart ) winds up helping us lift all the cases, I told him I owe you a beer or whatever you like to drink ! now in my hand is the slip, our train tickets , somewhere , somehow, i lose it on the way to my seat, we looked all over and can’t find it, i know the train attendant is going to be coming eventually and what am i going to do? i fret and fret in my seat, i remember i scanned copies of it and it’s in my suitcase somewhere, i get the suitcase , start digging and find it !! shewwwwwwwwwwww, sweet relief, when the attendant comes I show her this and everything is fine, now I can relax and enjoy the ride.

Day 1 – Florence

We arrive at the florence train station and i must compliment the taxi system here, very organized, you stand in line, cabs stand in line and it moves very efficiently, the taxi driver was a very nice man and he gave us some maps, the next thing u know, we are approaching the Duomo, my mom is up front, me kelly and her mom are in the back, kelly is not noticing it, so i say “Kelly Kelly look up” look up ! ( she is by the window ) she does and immediately starts screaming than starts crying, she won’t ever forget her first look at the Duomo,

We check-in our hotel , Albergo Firenze, now a word about that hotel, it is very basic, and it is clean, we are on a main street with shopping, a small tiny street, it is only about two blocks or so from the Duomo, i am on the 3rd floor and Kelly is on the 5th floor, what i really loved is when you open the windows, your view was of a small piazza which i believe is residential , i loved listening to their music from the windows, conversation and laughing, ( tho I don’t know one word of what they were saying but ……… it sounded happy, you can pick that up in any language, the hotel is on Piazza Donati 4 via del Corso, here is the website if anyone is interested www.hotelfirenze.com and you know what i loved the best about this hotel ? the smiling waitress in the morning, I don’t know her name but I won’t forget her smiling face each morning at my table saying “cafee” the breakfast here is not as big as the ones we had in rome but they have cereal, yogurt, rolls and butter, granola, on this trip I usually have breakfast alone, I am always up first and cannot stand to be couped up in the hotel room waiting for everyone to wake up and get dressed so thats when I would get my breakfast and go walking to explore on my own, I really enjoyed this in Rome and the same in Florence, same in Venice, my beloved waitress is in our photos, btw when i went to tell her goodbye on my last day ( I was genuinely going to miss her ) she hugged me so hard and gave me the Italian kiss on each cheek ) u know i want to write a letter to the hotel about how wonderful this lady is……….that’s on my to do list !

okay so we get checked in than go to Yellow bar to eat, I like this place alot , good food, crowded and not too expensive, I wish I would have gone back again, if you can please do try this place, the pizza was fantastic !! nice cold beer too !

oh and another thing i loved about this street that warmed my heart each day— is an old man who i started to see regularly playing the violin on the corner.

Ok back to the story – I believe the mom’s wanted to nap, Kelly and I go off to explore completely enchanted by the narrow lanes, I love that about Florence, we make our way to the Duomo, sit and stare and stare, taking it all in, after we tear ourselves away from here we decide let’s get a drink and an app and toast Florence, we look for seating outside, find a small place called “12 of Foco” ? I have beer and kelly wants a white russian, the waitress doesn’t know this drink, ( or maybe does not understand me ) so she takes me to the man behind the bar and I point to the bottles needed to make the drink, we toast the beauty of Florence , the waitress comes to the table saying something like the white russian is bailey’s? i’m not sure what that was about but the bartender than gives us a glass of bailey’s , i know baileys but i am not about to say one word while he thinks he is introducing us to a new drink, we smile , make our “ahhhh’s” over it and ( he did not charge us for it either ) no sense in us ruining his enthusiasm, i thought that was mighty sweet of him……..ok there is a waiter here too, i assume a waiter and he is a little strange , in that ………… we notice he keeps staring and staring, i think at one point the waitress said something to him about it but he comes back and does it again, we leave and go across the street to an internet cafe to get cd’s made from my camera, i have a fear of losing my pics, while there i have to go to the restroom, so I head across the street to the place we just left, to be honest the bathroom wasn’t clean so i said no no , grazie and start to leave, well they take me to the employee bathroom which is wayyyyyyyyyyyy better, the staring waiter who was drooling likes Kelly, says to me, where is friend? i said over there, he says, come back for one minute? i said we will try but we didn’t,

while walking around we find a place that looks like it would be nice for dinner, it is under a roof with columns (near piazza della signoria) and i wrote the name Loggia del gran but I think this is not correct? It was under alot arches and had alot of columns, candles and you could go inside which we didn’t, while sitting here we hear some great music, simon and garfunkel etc, and I think it is coming from a building close by where there are concerts held? the mom’s leave before us, food was okay, restaurant had a nice ambiance at night, as we are walking back we go to the square and find the music is not coming from an event in the nearby building but it is one guy singing at the piazza, he is with his wife and child , and i am telling you HE CAN SINGGGGGGGG !!!!  We sit down with the others and listen, i try to video some of it but it’s dark so it doesn’t come out to well but it was so cool sitting there, listening to this man at the piazza della signoria, kelly is starting to cry, the happy cry not a bad one, first day in Florence , Kelly has cried twice !! 🙂 without a doubt I put money in that guitar case, i’ll post the video of that , u at least can hear it, we walk back to the hotel and finish our first night in Florence, Mom, Kelly and her mom are already saying they like Florence the best so far, I am not making judgment yet , it is very different than Rome, it is beautiful without a doubt, seems more laid-back to me, and we get around alot easier, the people seem more quiet, it’s classy and I love the narrow streets, day one is sunny.

day two – Florence is not

It rains off and on, I have the full-blown cold but I refuse to let it get me down and i have no time to lay in bed waiting to be well when you only have five days, today i am very excited because we are doing the Original Walks of Florence with Artviva and I have been looking forward to this for a long time, we split up into groups and our guide is Fraya , (sp) I LOVE HERRRRRRRRRRRRR, the absolute best and if you are going to book this tour, if you can, ask for Fraya, she is so knowledgeable, funny and makes the stories come alive, we all loved her, she taught us so much, I thoroughly enjoyed this walk , and i love having a tour guide that has some passion about what she’s doing, my dream has always been to travel around the world and show people cool stuff, if I ever do it, I want to be just like Fraya , I’m not going to tell you all the details of the tour because I want you to do it, this day we have two tours, one “the walk” than later we are meeting for the Original David tour, we have a different guide this time and i am a little disappointed that we don’t have Fraya again but this girl was good too, i believe this summer was her first and i think she is the only one who can offer a tour and speak Portuguese , she was not happy with the summer in florence with the heat and tons of people, she was kidding that she has a website, why i hate florence in the summer dot com, well……… you can tell, she loves Florence 🙂

here’s the link: http://www.italy.artviva.com/

The David – I don’t care how many pics you see of it, I can only speak for myself but the sight of that , knocked my socks off, i try to take in every detail and i’m getting back to this one day, I make a mental note, I am coming back !!!!!!!!!!!!! i don’t care how grumped up that Michelangelo was all I can say is………… what a man !! the god given talent…………if you are contemplating going??? …………..go ! go ! go ! see for yourself and tell me if it doesn’t knock your socks off ?

The tour ends we go back to the hotel for a bit of rest than make plans for dinner, I don’t know who or what but somebody here recommended Regginella, i had a note, regginella fun waiters, I go to the front desk to see if he can get us a reservation, ( btw it’s pouring buckets) he says yes and actually Alexandro is his friend ask for him, he calls us a cab, and i love this about florence, he will say your cab will be here in three minutes and like clockwork it is ! Alex is there waiting for us and he is a pistol, lol, he loves saying “how uuuuuuuuu doin?” in his best Joey from “Friends” voice, he proceeds to tell us how he’s had alot of American girlfriends because of the university close by, but now………..his g/f from Philadelphia, well they are broke up, he’s studying too to be an architect , i think he has to give up this job this month , the food here was decent and the waiters are entertaining. we all loved it ) i made a mistake on my order, i had lasagna, grilled vegetables and I thought i was ordering a fish fillet, the fillet comes out and it’s beef ( and rare ) which i can’t eat, so they cook it more for me, it’s still pinkish so i share this with my table because they don’t mind pink, i ordered too much and mom’s right, “your eyes are bigger than your stomach”. now the mom’s go to the restroom, Alex proceeds to tell us he is hitting the dance club after work and busts a move right there, he was so funny we were laughing, he says what are you two doing tonight, we said , don’t know? what’s here?? he said come to the club i’m going to– the italian men will make you feel very special, well…………. kelly and I already had two Roman dates, we just look at each other saying with our eyes……….I’M NOT SAYING A WORD !!!!!!!!!!! we tell Alex , well we have to go back with the mom’s to the hotel, he says, put them to bed and come out and than comes up with the PLAN, he says “leave it to me” “i’ll make them sleep ” and we are like ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh god , what’s he going to do???? well this is what he did ( at no charge ) he comes out with multiple lemoncillo’s which he has the mom’s shoot straight down !! as he keeps serving them, he’s winking at us, well they are woozy and sleepy after and guess what? so are we !! we get back to the hotel and decide, we must go to bed too !!!!!!!!!!! lol, so much for Alex’s plan, he knocked all four of us out ! nice try tho ! I have his picture in the photo link.

Day 3 – Raining cats and dogs

Today the schedule is first……..Santa Croce, I especially want to go to Michelangelo’s tomb and tell him thank you for all his work, we explore in here for quite awhile before heading to the Uffize gallery tour – again with Artviva, we don’t get Fraya or “I hate florence in the summer dot com” girl but we did get another nice tour guide, hands down Fraya is still my favorite, the tour is very informative , i’m so glad we had the tour reserved, the lines looked pretty bad ( and with the rain ) everyone wanted in , I make a mental note when I get home I want to read more on Raphael, the tour concludes and we go back to the hotel for some rest, i still have the cold and my mom’s getting it too,

I have a dinner reservation at IL Latini ( and with the crowd that was there, i’m sure glad I did ) it’s still raining buckets, my mom wants to go to bed, the cold was getting to her, Kelly’s mom decided the same thing so Kelly and I are off to dinner alone, we get the cab, join the crowd out front of Il latini’s and in about 10-15 minutes we are seated, i like this place and i liked our waiter, kelly asks him for some water, he says: “water is for washing the hair, drink wine its cheaper” lol, than he doesn’t want us eating too much bread, lol, or we will get full too fast, ( and he’s right ) we had so much food, sooooooooo much, i liked it all except a kidney or liver spread on bread ( yuckkkkkkkkkkkk me and kelly would not touch it ) she got the beef and i got the chicken, an italian couple helped us later when after dinner we were served a drink and biscuits and they told us to “dip” them , it was good ! they got the beef and i mean RAREEEEEEEEEEE, i’m looking to see if its still moving ?? in-between our waiter is engaging everyone and making us laugh, going to the restroom he sort of blocks my way and says ” i like you” and pecks me on the cheek, the food may not be the best you will ever have but the atmosphere is great, i go out for a smoke and the people waiting are drinking wine and have plates of cheese, i thought this was very nice, dessert was chocolate cake and a raspberry dish, kelly can’t have raspberry’s because she’s allergic to them but they look so beautiful that she starts saying, i’m going to have just a little of that, i said “you swelling up with a big ole face might not be such a good ideal”??? so she passed on it, ha ha , i got them all ! 🙂 and a nice “like he’s going off to war kiss from our waiter” which cracks me up because at home if men would try this….. they are probably going to get a smack…. here in Italy……. can’t say no , their smile is too darn cute and mischievous, ( ohhh and saying no isn’t an option either……..it happens so fast u don’t see it coming ) I rather like the smooches of Italy 🙂

Day 4 – ( raining buckets)

today is our tour with “Tuscany Trails” www.tuscantrails.com , our tour guide was American and she has been living in Florence for 4 years, she teaches and does the wine tour part-time, she loves Florence

i’m not a wine drinker, neither is Kelly, Kelly’s mom is and my mom is skipping this wine tour, she wants to stay in bed and rest to try and kick this cold, I did this tour because I wanted to see the countryside and learn a bit about wine making, it was well-worth it, the first place she took us was Castello del Trebbio, this is where the Pazzi conspiracy took place to murder the Medici’s, wine or no wine I could have just stayed here and listened to the history, i’ve got a fascination with the Medici anyway and that’s going to make good reading material this winter while i’m bored to death and hating winter, btw I bought some nice olive oil from here,

next we go to lunch to a place not far from here that they own and operate too, very lovely, excellent food, absolutely delicious, (this lunch is included in your tour also) only thing is , i’m cold, no one has heat on yet but this rain is making it very cold and damp but I’m not going to let it ruin my time, it’s so beautiful and scenic around here, i’ve got some nice photos from this day, she taught us so much about the classification of wines, tuscany wine history, the process, etc., we visit the fermentation rooms, it is all very interesting and her enthusiasm is contagious, I would love to do this tour again on a warm sunny day ( without a cold ) we visit the 2nd winery, ( absolutely beautiful ) look for the photo of the red leaves, we do our tasting and it is time to go back, this cold has wiped me out so I am going to sleep and Kelly and her mom are going shopping, i get a much needed nap, take all the med’s (aleve sinus, emergencyC packets) get myself okay enough to be out in public, mom is feeling better , thank god, that day and a half in bed helped her, me ……… I can’t do it, i’m not giving up any of my time with Florence especially when you only have five days,

Kelly wakes me up with her “bounty” , missy has gone shopping and feathered her nest, she comes back with a beautiful leather coat and a gold bracelet, ( and this was the girl who gave me hell for buying things in the morning while they were sleeping ) ok so i bought ten-thousand scarves, i’ve a wee bit of an addiction to them ) it’s funny i would say nothing and be wearing my new purchase and it would hit her later in the day and she’d yell ” did you sneak out and go shopping again? where did that come from? is that new? i just would smile at her ( it’s her way of teasing ) so of course when she get’s back with her new coat she’s doing the cat walk and rubbing it in to me ! she meets a man who owns another coat store, she said he is so funny , you are going to meet him, he calls you Meg Ryan tight a**, ( his words ) why u ask? because Kelly has told him she is with her g/f , short-blonde hair and is an accountant, which he turned into Meg Ryan tight *** ( because supposedly I am going to be cheap because i’m an accountant) we dress….. go off to meet smarty pants, ohhhhhhhhhh and he is absolutely funny and sarcastic, he has all of them trying on so many coats ( beautiful coats i might add ) even had me try on a couple , if they would ask me my opinion, he’d say, don’t ask meg ryan tight ***, she won’t spend anything, I said “you want to get your butt whipped by a skinny little American girl outside your shop?” you had to laugh at him, he could have his own comedy show and i tell you, it would be a hit, kelly’s showing him the coat she bought and she asks him , how do u like my new coat??? he tells her “yeah, it’s all right for church i guess” than he wants to know if we are married, we say no, divorced, he says : ahhhhhhhhhhhh divorce, the sport of America !!! i tell him again, u are going to get whipped by an american girl,

now he’s saying he’s got six single brothers, cousins or something and wants us to meet them, we say noooooooooooooooo, we want to go to dinner, he wants to take us to their house for dinner and have some of momma’s cooking, we again say, nooooooooooooo but we do ask him for a recommendation for a restaurant , he makes a call than walks us to Osteria dell Olio and we get seated, have drinks and an excellent dinner here, i like the decor and there is an absolutely gorgeous italian man working here, i mean model material, me and kelly steal as many looks as we can without staring, we go out to smoke and he opened the door for me, i say thank u, (grazie) and he says “prego madam” and we joke and kid like school girls saying did you hear that? DID YOU HEAR THAT???? he said prego madam to me?… and we have fun being silly….. yes when you are 30 or 40 you can sometimes act like your 12, it’s good to be in touch with the child within at times, keeps ya feeling young I say ! 🙂 we love the Italian men, there like mischievous little boys in grown ups skin actually we had been talking to an american girl living there about how gorgeous the men are here and she says ohhhhhhhhhh you don’t want an Italian man, they live with their mom’s till they are married and she does everything for them, than when they get married, they want you to do everything for them, we said ohhhhhhhhh really? we cross “marriage to a handsome italian man” off our “to do list ” ( kidding ) but she also explained, it is very expensive for housing, most cannot afford to get their own place till they are married, living at home gives them time to save money so that when they do marry they have enough for their own place, well that sounds reasonable to us so we pencil it back on our ” to do” list, (kidding) and i want to add something here, the men are goodlooking, that’s a fact********* but so are the Italian women, absolutely beautiful, stunning actually —– I don’t think a man here ever needs to look outside the border,

Day 5 ( and one of my favorites)

Blue sky and sunshine, yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !!!!

today’s plan is we are going to Trattoria Mario, here is the link: http://www.trattoriamario.com, Kelly met a girl in Rome who highly recommended it, I believe it is only open for lunch and she says it gets busy and crowded, ahhh what luck it’s not really opened yet, we go in and a waiter tells us, to sit now because later we won’t get a table, get some cold beer and can’t wait to try this food, the places opens and it starts filling up, fastttttttt, i have the “wild boar” and pasta, excellentttttttttttttttttt !!!! we all are munching and murmuring, mmmmmmmm, it’s very good , it’s fun to watch all the people too, we meet a very nice American man there, he is an attorney from California, has a house in Florence too and comes there about every four months and he is the expert on all things regarding Florence and Venice, mom tells him all about my trip planning and research, i show him my itinerary ( the outline) that’s all i had because everything else is in the book i made which didn’t make it to Italy 😦 ( that story is on rome’s trip report ) he’s very impressed and says why don’t you do this? your good at it, i explain I only want to do it if I can go too ! 🙂 we ask him for some recommendations, he really likes 4 Leoni and the waiter Bajram, he says we should have the fiochette and DON’T SHARE, he gets us a 9:15 seating , here is the link: http://www.4leoni.com/

we don’t make it to this restaurant, we got back too late and I feel bad about that, i’m going to send them a note apologizing for our missed reservation, I don’t like doing that , there’s two things I have guilt about #1 missing my appointments with Angel tours in Rome, I had three reserved and arrived too late for every one of them !!!

#2 – not making this reservation for dinner in Florence……he was so nice calling for us but I will make amends one day ! promise !

I’ve got pics from Mario’s on the photo link and I bought a purple Mario’s tshirt, i love the staff , i love the food and i will definitely go here again, ( my advise is get there early before they open )

next we explore the church “Santa Maria Novella” , at first I couldn’t figure out how to get in because of some work being done but finally we get in and wander, I suggest doing some reading before seeing this church, it helps with understanding the artworks, history etc.,

here is a link with an overview en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Maria_Novella

outside SMN, there is a stand with backpack’s for 5 euro, knowing that we have way more stuff to take home than when we arrived (even with the empty spare bag) we all decide to buy one, I don’t regret this purchase it did help out alot and ok I have a cheapo backpack but it’s my souvenir and a source for memories……..so it’s all good right? 🙂

a biggie for me was to get to Piazza Michelangelo for the views of the beautiful Florence, if I didn’t get to do it — I already stated I won’t go home till I do ! we get the #13 bus by SMN, (get your ticket first from the tab. shop) I enjoy the ride and looking at everything, the plan is to also go to San Miniato Church, we reach the piazza and my goshhhhhhh, what a sight, what a sight ! BEAUTIFULLLLLLLLLLLLLLL, I cannot stress enough how beautiful the view is – I have some nice photos but it’s not a drop in the bucket like seeing it with your own eyes, no wonder Michelangelo and the like came from this land……..

so I’m completely enthralled and I tell the Mom’s and Kelly , you go to San Miniato, i’m staying here, i’m going to find Ristorate Michelangelo and when you are all done, you’ll find me there, no matter what time, i wanted to look , write in my spiral notebook, and just be… me and florence, ( and a few patrons of the restaurant )

i get a table, the sun is warm and feels delicious, it’s one of those moments when you feel like screaming, oh my God, thank you I’m so happy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but of course you don’t ………….. or the men with the white coats might take you to the crazy house, I want to eat something and i think i missed the food opportunity, dinner not till 7 , so i tell him np, i’ll just have beer, than he says i make you a pizza, so i had a mushroom pizza, with the sun warming my skin, niceeeee cold beer ( can you tell i am of german, irish, french and british descent with my love of beer ) ????? here I sit in the chianti region and want beer?? don’t get me wrong, i’ll drink wine but to me hands down there is nothing better than a cold beer, i have one tiny tiny complaint with Europe, ( ever so tiny ) but I like them cold, to where the bottle or can could almost stick to your lips or a frosty mug………..( a beautiful sight to me ) and well Europe, it seems they are slightly cold, in four sips to me they are now warm, sometimes i wanted to say, would u mind giving me a bucket of ice please so I can put my bottles in there but I don’t of course——-i don’t believe going around and complaining about things, if you are going to be a complainer well my advise is sit your a** home,

so i enjoy my beer, ate that whole pizza which is something i never could do at home, the pizza is so much lighter here, if i have two slices in USA , i’m done for, have to sit still digesting like a snake but momma mia, i can wolf down a whole one in Italy ,

I get out my spiral and I start to write and write, trying to note everything that happened where we went etc., i can get behind in this very easy ( and did ) I finally look up and around and I see someone who completely captures my attention for a minute and it’s not that i didn’t know she was there, i just never focused on it but now I am, i see an elderly lady, i would say she is 75, she is sitting alone, she has her little travel bag, a drink, and guess what??? a small spiral notebook like mine and she is jotting away, i am completely enchanted, i feel like i am looking at a version of myself thirty years from now, ( God willing ) later, she gets up and starts taking photos of the view, of the place and I say to her, would you like me to take a photo of you? she said ohhhhhhhhhhhhh would you??? that would be so nice, i said of course, so i take photos of her and we geting talking, she comes and sits at my table and i won’t forget this lady as long i live too, we have a great conversation, i find that she has been coming to Florence every year , for thirty years with her friends, she only missed last year because she had cancer, she said i’m feeling good, doing okay and this year my friends couldn’t make it so i thought, i’m still going and she did ! all by herself !! she stays in the same room everytime ( if she can get it ) and I can tell you………. there is not a greater lover of of Florence than this woman, ok witty is #2 or tied with #1! witty could make you love a rock !

we talk about books and she wants me to read two of them, she writes them down in my spiral notebook and i’ve ordered them now—- she even tells me where to get them right there in Florence , don’t know if you know it but she says go to Edison books by the post office, the first one is called The Stones of Florence by Mary McCarthy and Venice Observed by the same author ( i told her i was going to venice next )

i could talk to her for hours, she has to go and she says may I take your picture?? I want to show my friends who I met here , i said sure, she does, than leaves, and here is my hugeeeeeeeeeeeeee REGRET ! I did not get her photo !! or email or anything, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh huge regret, I could not even show her picture to my mom when i told them , i don’t know who she is, where she is but I absolutely pray she has good health and many many more trips to Florence in her same old room.

my friend leaves…….and in come French men, about five or six of them, 40-50 years old, now i have been so comfortable at this place, nobody bothers anybody but honestly these men aggravated me, than I was aggravated……… that they aggravated me and no one had the right to give me one minute of aggravation during my view of Florence and my Ristorante Michelangelo experience, they had some chips and some bottles of water i think, and STAYEDDDDDDDDDD FOREVER, they didn’t say anything but a few of them just kept staring and i know we all stare at people, just general curiousity, and a few minutes fine, even 20 minutes if u must fine ! but the whole time??? than talking in French and you can clearly see 100% they are talking about you because the others turn around to look and if you move one muscle, even scratch your head, they are looking !!!!!!!!!!!!! if u talk to the waiter they are looking and it started making me self-conscious now i don’t know if that’s from my own insecurities or what, so i try little signals to let them know i am not amused, ( like making a snap noise turning the pages in my spiral notebook , or giving the sigh like “shewwwwwwww” I considered moving my seat so my back would be to them but than i thought bullcrap they are not ruining my view ! so I deal with it and they leave finally and guess what??? waved bye bye to me, i don’t know if what they were saying was bad? good? or whatever but I think it’s your darn fault if you don’t block them out and ignore them, they probably meant no harm at all, it’s just that i felt i was under their microscope,

later ( almost dark) the Mom’s and Kelly come back, they are hungry and instead of going to the place we had the reservation I said why don’t we just eat here? so we do, i get the spaghetti inferno which lit Kelly right up when she took a bite, if u look, i have pics of her with the viens in her neck bulging !! too funny ! ( i like spicy) i thought she was going to explode, lol, we have a great dinner, they are telling me i should have gone to San Miniato and all the details about that but I don’t regret it, I met that nice elderly woman, enjoyed myself and found that I don’t like French men (kidding ) 🙂

tonight we pack and the train tomorrow for Venice and we all know, we must come back here again one day ! if they don’t……… I will , just like the little old lady I met !

Venice Day 1 –

I am very happy we travelled in this order, all along I had told the Mom’s and Kelly —Venice will be without heavy agenda’s, this will be the time to relax more,

the train ride –

this ride was from florence took about three hours , not too bad, had a beer and some chips in the little cafeteria by the dining car, i like people watching and I found something else I like to look at , tennis shoes, generally americans wear white ones, i guess to match everything but in Italy i’m seeing so many different colors and styles, some are quite bold , i’m not a big tennis shoe fan but i became the tennis shoe observer, so while having my beer, i’m checking out the tennis shoes of the fellow passengers.

the train comes to a stop, and i want a smoke, doors are open , a fellow who was in the snack room , is going out on the platform for a smoke, so i’m going too while Mom being a Mom is saying , you better watch it or you are going to be left here, i told her “u better grab me than and pull me up or you’ll never find your hotel in venice”!!!

finally the train stops at what we think is our Venice stop,,,,,,,, start that nightmare of a job collecting the suitcases from above, moving down the aisle, and guess what? it’s not our stoppppppppppppppppp, it’s Mastre, someone is kind enough to tell us and THANK GOD , they did, ok sweating now—– get back to the seat, next one is the real deal !

my heart is starting to race and the excitement is building and i’m waiting for my first look at Venice, we go in the station, than out to the waterbus stops, and ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh what a sight ! that first glimpse of Venice, on my gosh, wowwwwwwwwwwwwww , wowwwwwwwwwwww and more wows, this is it ! it’s better than any pic i have seen

and it’s hot ! i have a jean jacket on, sweater tied around my neck and i’m starting to roast , i go down to the ticket ramp but i’m not sure what waterbus since it’s all in my travel book which was left at home, i find that it’s 41/42 but i don’t know what stop to get off at — i know we are to go to cannaregio, i go to the ticket booth to buy all the water passes, we are buying the 72 hr one , find out that we should keep going left , by the next bridge is the 42 stop, cool we are off, with wayyyyyyyyyyyy to much luggage, which i’m nervous about, the first waterbus ever for us is here !! i struggle and i mean struggle, trying to get the luggage on, ( helping the mom’s ) the attendant tells us where to stand with it — he’s brisk yes, there are two older ladies near me (americans) and they have maps of where hotels are located, they ask me where i’m going and than proceed to look our hotel up on their maps, they can’t find it, ( ahhhhhhhhhh the heart is starting to race a little harder ) i decide to approach the “brisk” attendant, i tell him the hotel name ” Ai Mori d’ Oriente, cannergio, Orto stop he says, ahhhhhhhhhh relief, the two elderly ladies tell me, you are lucky he answered you, lot of them don’t, and we are even luckier in that when we get near that stop he tells us, he’s looking out for us ! excellent , i tell him 1000 gracies and american thank u’s,

heart is settling down now but we dont know where the hotel is, so we just start walking and come across three little girls sitting , i decide i am going to ask them, one of these precious little girls jumps up and has us follow her, she leads us almost the whole way, bless that sweet child, there are no words for how fatigued we are by the time we reach the hotel front desk, we are over-dressed, huffin, puffin, but i’m taking it all in and looking around thinking ohhhhhhhhhh i am going to like this place, i love the canal it’s sitting on, i love the decor of the hotel, the smiling bellman takes us to our rooms and i immediately fell in love with the room, i told mom, don’t touch anything let me take pics of it first, than we can mess it up with all our debri ! i’m hot and thirsty and hit the mini-bar first thing, and have a colddddddddd beer, we get sorted out, freshen up and we hit the hotel bar, and toast Venice,

we get directions from the hotel staff to the water bus stop for San Marco, along the way we realize we are starving and go to a restaurant nearby and sit outside on the lane with many shops, we meet three couples from chicago, and are amused by the sign “no pizza”, i have it in my photo link, we ordered the tourist menu, and u know what ? it wasn’t bad, 11 euro, i had lasagna, sole fish, salad and beer, we have more drinks and are really enjoying sitting here, watching the people and munching,

now to the flirty men and the whattttttttttttttttttttttt !!!!!!!!!!!!! as we are sitting here, some of these men walking by stop, keep looking, smiling, being flirty, completely harmless and sweet, so kind of as a joke, i “mouth” the words ” WHATTTTTTTTTT??” to them with wide-eyes – – i think this sends a little confusion to their system because they can’t figure out what to make of it? and they are really curious now, they are thinking “what did she say ? “what did you mean”?? of these men two were especially humorous, they would start to walk away, come back , leave come back, and kelly’s mom is doing a running commentary on it with “ahhhh they are leaving, nopeeeeee coming back, ok leaving , nope coming back, and one of them did come back and all the way to our table, smiling, speaking fluent italian of course and i cannot understand one word of what he is saying, so not knowing what to say— i say something goofy, i say “photo” show him my camera, i figure i’ll take his pic, not knowing what else to do? so he takes my hand to get our photo, i extend my hand to shake and tell him thank you, and he’s not having any of this handshaking so i get that left cheek, right cheek smooch, than the ever popular going off to war like smooch, leaning backwards , quick smooch right on the lips !!! this all takes place in three seconds, i’m stumbling back to the table and all the while, our table and the couples from chicago, are all cheering and clapping, and i’m thinking okay, no more “whats” to the men, kelly always good for sarcasm, says we are not even here four hours yet and its already starting with you and the men, she yells about this at home too, if we are out and people come up and talk to me, she yells why didn’t they come up to me? whats wrong with me? i tell her Nothing is wrong with you, you are just too darn pretty and they are scared of you and i have a friendly face, i give out “no threat” vibes, and being an X – bartendar people somehow know they can talk to me,

so we finish our late lunch and head for San Marco, and ohhhhhhhhhhh the ride in, what a place, the buildings, the people, the boats, it is just overwhelming, in such a good good way, the miracle of it all, i have never seen anything like this in my life, it’s like the beautiful photos you see but it’s coming to life, living and breathing and full of energy, i am completely blown away, ahhhhhhhhh than you get to the beautiful San Marco square, and just when you think you couldn’t be stunned anymore, you are stunned all over again, fresh and new — with your jaw dropping and your eyes popping, feeling ” can this be real”?

that square is beautiful, i love everything about it, every person, every pigeon, the bascilla, the music , the atmosphere, the crowds , no crowds —– i like it all, its time for a celebration beer and we head to the americano bar there and just stand taking it all in, wowwwwwwwwwwwww, we wander around more listening to all the orchestra’s playing and checking out some of the handsome musicians 🙂 the mom’s needed a restroom and kelly took them to find it, on her way, she meets a young policmen named Luka??? in the course of three minutes he tells her he loves her looks, his name and occupation and wants her to go to his place, she tries to explain she has to find her friend and is with the mom’s and he is having none of that and decides to stick right with her, like glue 🙂

i find the mom’s first and say where’s kelly??? they said, she is with some young guy, and i’m thinking what????? i find the both of them and we have introductions and she is trying to whisper to me everything that happened and he wants her at his place, well now i have to use the restroom, so i go to the left of florians, to a neat looking place, almost at the end, i dash in to the bar and tell him “beer for toilette” ? he smiles says go up , and he lets me use the restroom without having a beer, i’m so grateful about this, i call kelly and the mom’s inside and order drinks for all of us, kelly had a frozen belini that was fabulous , i wanted to come back here and have one and never did, kelly wont go out because she is trying to lose luka, i’m the lookout and finally pronounce him “gone” so we head outside to the tables and just sit quietly the rest of the time, soaking it all in, we left around 9ish and the ride back was PACKEDDDDDDDDDDD, mom’s a little freaked because of the crowds, there’s a lady with a big dog with a muzzle on it right on the boat, he’s so beautiful i can’t resist and when the crowd thins some i ask if i can pet him, i do and when we get off kelly tells me i’m nuts petting a big dog like that wearing a muzzle, we make it to the hotel, tired and happy, Day One is complete !

Day Two – Venice

i wake at 7:30 , get dressed and head to breakfast while they sleep, while there i write in my spiral notebook so i dont forget what happened yesterday, after this i take walks all the way to the left and right of the hotel, on these morning walks you can see photos i took of santa hanging on a house , laundry hanging (which i love) , plaues, signs near doors, just little things that strike you as so endearing, i come across a few Japanese artists sketching away with such deep concentration, sitting on tiny stools, what lovely things to see on morning walks,

so today i’m am all about riding the grand canal, ( and trying to get a seat outside ) that’s work in itself, shewwwwwwwwwww, but we managed it , once seated, i felt like the puppy dog who’s head is out the car window, only thing missing was the tongue hanging out of the side of my mouth , pure joy !!!! we are lucky in that it is nice and warm with lots of sunshine, i don’t know how well i could handle venice in the cold, since i’m such a wimp with the chill factor but the mom’s are loving it, kelly is too, and it’s a time we just ride and ride and no one hardly says a thing, u just want to absorb it in every layer of your skin,

eventually we head back to san marco again which is good because i wanted to take daytime photos, today is an easy day, with just looking, listening, sitting and wandering, this continues till it’s almost dark, we find a restaurant along the canal, get a table outside and have a great dinner, its getting dark but i got those nice pics of the sunset and of a cruise ship coming by, unfortunately i do not know the name of this restaurant, after dinner we are stuffed and sleepy, it’s been a long day on the water and lots of walking so we decide to head back to cannaregio and i can’t wait to soak in the bathtub with the bubbles and think about what i’ve seen , great end to an excellent day –

Day 3 –

in the morning, same as usual, i wake early, they sleep, i go to breakfast, and let me add that our hotel has a lovely breakfast beautifully displayed and you can go out to the tables on the terrace if you like, actually our tall tall windows are near this small courtyard and Kelly wants me to hoist her a plate to the room, nope i say, get your butt out of bed sleeping beauty, the coffee is delicious in the mornings, venice is delicious in the mornings !! what an atmosphere,

after everyone is up and dressed, we go walking all around Cannaregio , which is a lovely section and from what i understand where venetians live, i saw mom’s and dad’s walking the children with backpacks, little old ladies with carts headed to the market, lots of doggies out for their morning stroll, boats coming by with construction equipment, boards, people dressed for work, and they are doing this, living on the water, what a place !!!

we walk and walk , looking at the windows and taking in cannaregio which i think is fantastic !! its quiet compared to san marco, ( and don’t get me wrong , i loveeeeeeee san marco) and i like this location so i get the best of both worlds, we have lunch at a pizza spot, yummmy pizza ! kelly ordered a “greek” salad too, poor guy gave her two wrong salads, he thought she said “green” salad, finally she took the menu and pointed to what she ordered and he was like ohhhhhhhhhh!! bless his heart , he tried ! she got her greek salad in the end, (which was also yummy ! ) now here i am having a good time watching the “purse guys” they get their sheet spread out so nice and organized, than go about arranging those purses, there is a building they are in front of with big windows, purseman has his things all out and arranged and window cleaner employee comes out, now i am really interested to see how this is going to turn out, i’m watching them have exchanges, purseman scoots his stuff away from the window some, windowman says he needs more room, purseman scoots a bit more and if u look in the photos, u will see the purseman scooting his things, the windowman and the clash of wills ! too cute !! they work out an arrangement they both can live with ( needed space ) which lasted all of ten minutes because the police were coming and purseman had to scoop up all his things and walked off briskly, 20 minutes later , he was back again and the arranging continues !! getting that sheet just so…….those purses arranged correctly — fascinating stuff i say !!!

SO……….. today is going to be our gondola ride !!! and one feels very picky when you are going to get your prized once in a lifetime ride, i’m looking at the drivers, scrutinizing them, i want one with personality !! and i want that gondola looking nice too, so after the survey, we decide on the fellow with long blonde hair which is something i never imagined our gondola driver would look like because in my head………. well he had short dark hair and glowing blue eyes, but there is something about this scruffy long haired blonde one we liked so we get on and MY MOMMMMMMM IS A WIMP !!! the gondola wimp !! she’s scared, she’s scared getting down in the boat , she’s scared if it rocks, holding on to the sides with a deathgrip, saying ohhhhhhh, ahhhhhhh, ohhhhhhhh ohhhhhhhhh, ahhhhhhhhh,

the Mom’s are in the deluxe romantic chairs, Kelly and I got the stools, with a pillow, no matter— it is lovely, we go thru quiet canals, listening to the sounds coming from the homes, listening to silence and i am enchanted with the reflections of Venice on the water, incredibly beautiful, for those who have not seen it, wait till you do, art if reflected on the water !

eventually we make our way out to the large canal and some sort of race is going on — there are many boats and each boat’s color matches their shirts, there are purple ones, green ones , yellow ones, too cool !! bunches of them !! i have pics of this in the photolink, and if anyone knows what the details are about this race i would love to know, it looked very exciting !! judges were chasing after them on their boats and wow what a find on the gondola ride !!!

as u have read before, do this gondola ride, at least once in your life ! i’m going to do it many times, God willing, ( and provided i have enough cash 🙂 ) we paid 80 euro for about 45 minutes, the guy was neat , he explained buildings for us, he laughed and was personable, hummed and sang so u know we were in our glory, got pics of him too 🙂 we finish the ride and get back to our stop and I decide today we go to Lido !! blue sky and sunny and, i’ve heard and read so much about it here, especially from MrJ here on the venice forum, so I didn’t want to miss it, plus I wanted to eat at the restaurant MrJ recommended where he & Mrs.J had dinner during their honeymoon so i tell the crew we’re off to Lido today !

will pick up from here tomorrow !

nitenite

Lido – I really enjoy the boatride to Lido, your out in the open and seeing the boats pass by and i’m thinking good , i hope it takes a long time to get there, eventually we arrive at the lido stop and i’m looking around where’s the beach???

we start walking down the main road well actually following everyone else, and its looking like a town without a beach, so i come across a little store selling postcards and i scan the assortment looking for sand on the postcard, ahhhh found one, so i give it to mom and told her to go in the store with the card and ask where is this ? how do we get there? mom comes out says keep walking straight, this is a nice walk too, lido has its own atmosphere so we take it slow knowing somewhere up ahead will be “sand” and we are seeing cars again, that felt strange for a second !! ahhhh we find the beach, yipeee it does exist ! now the sand wimps ( all three of them ) are sitting down toward the back, afraid to get their feet dirty? i’m not having any parts of this — my shoes are coming off and i am walking down to the water, look back, three wimpos, still sitting there, people were swimming— i thought the water was a bit too cold but it didn’t seem to bother them, i explore some more than decide i’m going back to confront the sand wimps, i coax my mother down, she likes it and says she would have liked to spend a day here getting sun, i like laying in the sun too but i don’t want to waste those hours doing something i can do at home, maybe if i had a whole lot of days, sure….. but with only five……every minute counts with me, so i go back and i’m going to tell miss kelly off, sitting there like a lump !!! i told her “get your butt up and into that sand—- this is movie star sand— do u realize that”? the venice film festival comes here and brad pitt has strolled on this very sand, (now i have no ideal where brad has been but i know it will get her off her rump) so i continue …. “for two seconds we are going to be movie stars too and pose for our film festival, now throw your darn arms out and let me get a pic”!! u can see our “movie star sand pose” in the photo file,

day 3 continued………..

thats one thing i love about vacation, u can be darn silly when you want to ( and we do ) 🙂

we soak up the beach air and sunshine for awhile longer than leave to find a trattoria called “Andri ” via Lepanto, we have a very nice scenic walk while getting there, lots and lots of people are out strolling, i am loving the outdoor cafe’s and swings, wow this is nice !!! there is a beautiful hungarian hotel i think? this is a pretty cool place, flower boxes and the like, we make it to Andri , and its closed !!!!!!!!!!!! ahhhhhhhhhh bummer, my fault tho, i forgot places close down and open again 7 or 8, so we stand there looking at the menu and of the closed gate but at least i’ll get some pics of it for MrJ, so what to do? we decide since its a very long ride back to our district that we will leave, lido goes on the “to do” list again for another time, and “Andri”

by the time we get back to cannaregio, its dark, cold and we are starving ! we decide to eat at a place near hotel on the main shopping lane, we get a table and its all going good, but a party of like 20 americans came in ordering up a storm, service got very slowwwwwwwwww, no matter it was still good but i was pooped, we headed back and crashed ! another good day was finished and I am wanting the time to go slow !

Day 4 – Venice

we have a 10:45 tour scheduled for the Secret Itinerary, no easy task getting this crew up, dressed , fed and out the door and somewhere by 10:45 but i push them, we make it on time, get in the “secret line” , our guide was funny , she has a dry sense of humor which i like and is very knowledgable of course ! if you would touch one of those walls, she will kill you, and she said so !! nobody is going to mess up a thing on her watch , i can tell u that,

The secret tour of the Doges Palace gives you a look at where Casanova was imprisoned, you hear how he escaped, visit the various rooms for judges, documents, torture chamber and her lecture is very interesting, in-between , she again threatens your very life if you dare touch anything, who can blame her ? they have to protect these items, after the secret tour you can explore the doges palace on your own, very cool weapon rooms are displayed, gave me the goosebumps looking at them, i highly recommend doing this, it is well-worth your time,

ps: sophie that morning i was doing the same thing as usual, walking and taking photos and enjoying the people,

after the tour, ( which i am the last one out of ) kelly is checking out the stalls, instead of trying to keep track of four people at all times who have different interests, i suggested to the Mom’s, you can go off on your own and we will meet you back here at 2:30, hmmm, don’t know if i should have done that because kelly’s mom thinks we are trying to “lose” them which wasn’t the case, i thought it would give us a little independant time, so they agreed , i went to look for kelly and told her , we are going to meet the mom’s back here at 2:30, so off we go, exploring the windows, stalls, admiring the handsome men, and wandering thru the small passages, no set agenda, eventually we get a bit hungry, looked at several places and we came across a place called “Planet” , got a table and ordered a pizza and our waiter Max ( my life is being filled now with Max’s ) (see Rome)

anyway max is a sweety, before we know it , max brings us several bellini’s, ohhhhhhhhhhh my , we are going to be drunk if this keeps up ! my friend kelly, is a cheap date , it doesn’t take her more than two before she’s flying high ! eyes glistening, red-faced she cracks me up, there was a group of workers seated not too far from us and we started talking to them , well tried with our seven words of italian, i dont know how many toasts we had to Venice but it was good, we get the pizzas, thank god to soak up the alcohol and devoured it, a group of business men had come in too and were seated by the window, kelly goes out to smoke and makes faces at me in the window , than keeps ducking so the men do not see her, therefore i look like the mental case laughing all by myself, (dont worry i will get her back one day ) 🙂

after pizza, Max, the bountiful man with the liquids brings us lemoncillo’s, 2 or 3 of them, ohhhhhh boy, that stuff twists my face up like a pretzel, i like it……….. but my cheeks develop a life of their own, the workers close-by are enjoying our bizzare faces, we are all laughing and having a great time, they took some pics of us with our camera, sweet guys, we take pics with max and the other waiter, and its time to go, i got their card and guess what else? my going off to war smooch, which i am becoming addicted too, i told max, i want to tell people to come here, we liked this place, so thats what i’m here to tell you — go to Planet, find that Max and tell him Jeannette & Kelly sent you , don’t know if he will remember us? but we remember Planet 🙂 ohhh and they show sports on the tv’s too ,

we go back to find the mom’s and we are late, we arrive 3:15 and they are not there at the designated meeting spot, so we wait and wait, till about 5 ish, ok mom’s are gone, must of went back to cannaregio, so since we are three sheets to the wind still, we decide to go shopping, and i have weakness for scarves and costume jewelry and i hit the mother lode in the Heide Klume store? don’t ask me how much i spent but i did get some cuteeeeeeeeeee stuff, i also bought some presents for other people too ,

while wandering earlier, we saw an irish bar that had a cool tshirt with a shark on it, we decide to try and find the place, we do but its closed……..darn but opens at i think 6? so we go to a bridge and just sit and wait for them to open, the place is called inishark, finally it opens , other people are now waiting too ! kelly gets that shirt and we order some beer, we meet two businessmen there from England, nice guys….. and we go out and smoke together, ( one is very handsome i might add ) he tells me he lives in greece now–so i say what are u doing here? he says they are trying to redo the map of Venice, i told him what’s wrong with the map they already have? than he shows me what they have done to the greece maps, and its cool, its a good colored map, and all the sights and restaurants are on it, says u should go to Greece, and gives me three maps, if we decide to go , we can call him on that number that is on the map, a lady joined them who also works for their company and let me tell you, she had the blisters from *ell, i mean badddddddddddddd, she said she didn’t bring the right shoes, and her feet look much better now than they did, well i can’t imagine !!! they looked chewed up!!! that poor girl !!! i felt so bad for her, she had to stay in bed for a day or two, i silently thanked myself for bringing good shoes even tho they are not too cute but golf ball size blisters are not too pretty either, ouchhhhhhhhh !!

pack good shoes ! pleaseeeeee !!! u dont want to wind up like this lady

we decide to go back and see if they are at the hotel, we are not too worried because they are together and can go at their own pace and knew the waterbuses, we get to the hotel front desk and ask the guys, have u seen the mom’s??? he says, oh yes, they were here earlier but left again for dinner, we say, ohhhh cool than, we will go out to dinner ourselves, we rush to the room, i don’t know what we did? i don’t believe we even changed but we zoomed out of there and back to the hotel desk and gave them the keys back, told them we are going out to dinner too and bye bye and ran out ! lol 🙂 yes running !!!!!!!!!!!!!! and i was shouting to kelly RUNNNNNNNNNNNN FOREST !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

we love the mom’s and had lots and lots of dinners with them but there are somethings u can’t talk about in front of the Mom’s so since they are gone, we are going to capitalize on this moment, i remember a place that a guy was standing out in front of , he told me if i didn’t like the food, the meal was on the house, and that they had great seats on the canal side, talked it over with kelly and decided to go there, same man is there and takes us to the back and its quite lovely and was crowded but not too crowded, name: Trattoria Povoledo, lista di spagna 122/g ( luckily i had the card)

there’s a huge table behind me of british people, and the table right to my left , is a young american couple just engaged, very sweet ! later I wanted to throw her right into the canal !! now to finish the setting of all the players in the restaurant , to my left the newly engaged american couple, than the railing than water……… where she was going to be thrown into by me — behind me the british, on kellys right , three different men sit there who come alone, behind them, a darnnnn cute man, who just got engaged with his sweetie, dont know there nationality, to my right, a couple with a baby in a stroller, the baby could have been almost a year old i think? and our the waiter “the boss” big big guy, sweating up a storm and he workssss , he’s big but can move ! (his pic is posted too) you’ll learn why we named him “the boss” roaming around also is the manager who i met on the street and told me to eat there, so ahhhhhhhh i’m feeling this is going be an interesting night and it always is as far as me and kelly are concerned, 🙂

we don’t mean too but it’s time to eavesdrop, sitting that close to each other it’s hard not to — plus i have natural born curiousity about things so i’m all ears,

newly engaged american couple –

are speaking to each other about their engagement, they have a toast and are taking pics of each other, we get that they are newly engaged and i’m telling kelly ahhhh isn’t that nice? we give them big happy smiles and we offer to take their picture, their table looks very romantic, several candles are burning, they’ve ordered apps and she’s picking at it, talking away, we order our drinks, apps and food, we are not the salad eating type girls happy with a piece of lettuce, we’ve got healthy appetites, high-metabolism…. so u have to feed us often, the boss gets our order, we munch on the apps , probably finished that in two minutes, not long after that comes our food, now miss newly engaged has not even finished her apps, we are getting our main dish and she is eye spying that, than she complains to newly engaged guy, “they got their food and we were here first, i want my damn food,” i hear this, me kelly look at each other dead in the eyes and just open them big, we don’t say a word, we can communicate just with the eyes, she’t telling her newly engaged guy, get him !!!! now the boss is like a tornado thru that place, it’s busy and he is working the tables, eventually he comes near them and she says to him , WHERE’S OUR FOOD???” he says, why do u want your main course now when you have not even finished your appetizer, ?? BAMMMMMMMMMM !! score one for the big guy !!! “oh i don’t want this anymore” she says, he whisks the plates off and before long their lasagna is here, she’s picking at that — now i whisper to kelly, shhhhh, let’s listen to this piece of work in the next table, they are having chitchat, no big deal till I hear these words ” this place in nice and all but I can’t wait to get back home ” well with this……..(and i am very protective of Italy now) you would i came right from the soil, i can feel the “heat” coming up in my face, i breathe loudly at my nose, gives kelly the signal, i am not amused, so i’m taking the deep breathes and kelly knows — i want to KILL her, now i can be a smart *ss when i want to — i admit it, — so i think –i’m going to counter missypoo over here , I tell Kelly ” IT’S TIME FOR A TOAST !! ” so we toast and i say ” To Italy…..may we never go home !!!!! making sure miss newly engaged hears me ! she looks , doesn’t say anything, and i want to add, her man, its the sweetest thing, he has worked so hard for this trip and to surprise her and he loves italy u can tell, in-between this—– my attention is on the british people behind me, its kind of a big party of them and i start noticing, mannnn!! they are ordering tons of food, i mean like every two mintues some sort of something is being ordered and bottles of wine and drinks…oh my !! my kind of people !! i have to sit on my hands not to get up and go see all the goodies they are getting on their plates ! i’m trying to hear what they are saying too, so i know is this a birthday ? anniversary or what? it’s not easy for me to understand them, i know we both speak english but i have to listen very hard to make out their english, i love the british I do !! but lordy do I have trouble understanding them if they don’t talk slow, i’m sure they have the same problem with us, 🙂  now my attention expands— to the man eating alone…. he’s got an assortment of goodies too, and i’m pondering is he italian, greek? can’t figure it out, behind him i notice the handsome guy who’s just engaged too, and his girl, i can only see the back of her head, she keeps holding up that ring on her finger, this way and that way, watching the light catch it and the handsome guy — he is very proud of himself,

now to my right — the couple with the child, the couple with the child i thought were american, but i found out later she is, i believe her husband may be from Africa, their little bundle of joy………is starting to feel not too happy and he’s letting them know it, a bit of squirming and small outbursts, not too bad,

now of course while all this is going on, the boss comes by us several times, and he’s funny, he likes to give us a “mean look” frowning those eyebrows saying EAT !!!!!!!!!! or DRINK !!!! u eat something wrong, he’s going to tell u ! kelly wanted a cappuccino with baileys he told her flat out “NO” ! I like him instantly 🙂  now i’m switching gears……..to newly engaged american couple, at this point kelly and i decide to focus on them again………and i’m catching these bits………she’s admiring her ring too, same thing , the hand this way… and that way……and she tells him, such and such ( her mom?) ( i couldn’t quite get who she was referring too,) but she says, blah blah is surprised you got such a nice ring and all… since you don’t make that much money …and its pretty and I didn’t think you would such good taste in choosing a ring but u did a good job ! one day walking around……..i passed by it and the manager gave me his card, we walked to it from our hotel, it turned out to be a pleasant surprise, ( and very entertaining ) so when we decided to go eat alone, i remembered him and how to get there and thought ok lets check it out, he had promised me the canal seating was very nice, AND IT WAS !!

once i hear this……..i’m taking a sip and almost choke i kind of slam my glass down on the table, ( not loud ) but with force – I can’t believe what i am hearing,

next she’s into making wedding plans, right there at the table, he is saying something like take it easy – we’ve got time,,and she’s saying NO!! if we are getting married at such and such, than we have to book the hall on such and such date and wow in ten minutes she had that whole wedding planned down to the bridesmaids, colors, who’s coming and who’s not, and how much money does he have? and how much money does he have for such and such?

now me and kelly are stunned, we are looking at this goofball of girl, and this good guy, and here we can’t ever get the man thing right in our own lives…….and we’re darn nice girls too, honest , fun, hardworking loyal and what do we get ?? all the schmucks……..(thats why i don’t date , i give up ! ) and this little twit — a bossy ungrateful thing, who’s been taken all over italy by him, been proposed to, sitting there with this pretty ring and we are like , WHAT THE *ELL ARE WE DOING WRONG??? ” i told kelly , well it must be lined in gold thats all i have to say ( and i won’t say anything more about that but u get my drift )  meanwhile baby on the right, has decided nope i don’t want any parts of this place, and the poor mom and dad are trying to quiet him and he’s wailing, the handsome man who just got engaged now he is getting PO’d with the noise, she’s still waving her hand around, and he’s giving her the eye about the child and keeps looking at the couple with the child, now the Brits, they don’t care about a thing, they are still ordering, still drinking and life is good, manager comes by, the boss comes by, they all try to sooth the baby but baby says NO ! the wife is looking so desparate, handsome man is looking evil over there, and me and kelly are trying to decide, “who’s side are we on”

we decide we are on the mother’s side, handsome man is going to have to lump it, the little thing is screaming bloody murder, the dad takes him in the stroller out of the restaurant, we start talking to her, she is so apologetic, and we’re telling her , no worry, we find that she lives in germany, her husband is a doctor, he can’t practice in the US yet and it will be a couple of years –she really doesn’t like it in germany and can’t wait to move back to California and be close to her family , she felt the baby was too young to try and go to Venice but the husband insisted, he has found out she is right !

( always listen to the momma )

the manager comes to the table, tells her the husband is outside with the baby, and she sort of starts to get up ! and this point we jump in……..we tell the manager, ok he’s out there with the baby, he can stay there, this woman doesn’t get five minutes to herself and has the baby all the time, now u let her sit and eat and drink in peace, we tell her, u sit there, finish your meal and get a drink u deserve the time, and she does smiling !!! the manager is funny in that he throws his hands up and backs away from us laughing, ……… boss comes by too and we give him the frowned eyebrow look too and say , u leave her alone ! the possible italian/or greek man has been replaced by a fellow looking like Albert Einstein, the hair was wild and wooly, he’s eating and drinking and kind of smiling to himself but he seems harmless , the handsome man has disappeared with his bride to be, the american couple are still there, our new friend, the mother leaves , we have our good-byes with her, now i want to focus in on miss ungrateful again, first she blows out the candles, blows hot wax all over him, ouch it hurt– i don’t think he was amused, they have a discussion, why’d you blow out the candles? she said they were smoking, by the way she didn’t finish her food, and it was good food too ! now we hear this tidbit, ” ahhh i have something to tell you” he saying , yeah? ummmm remember a few weeks ago when i told you i was over such and such’s house? it was bob, there and george and kenny that one u don’t like, and he’s going yeah????????? with a bit of anxiety in his voice, i’m feeling the anxiety, kellys feeling the anxiety, kellys whispering to me, she wouldn’t ! she wouldn’t !! would she??

now we are having mini-heart attacks, i am waiting to hear the big confession, did she do something with somebody? is she going to tell him right here? oh my goshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, i told Kelly, if its what it sounds like you are going to have to get me out of jail tonight because that B , is going in the river, i’m throwing her right over that railing, if she does this to that boy , i’m telling u we almost couldn’t breathe, well she spits it out, she had gone because whoever this person was had taken some sort of pill or something shady, and she had to watch the kids, and i am almost falling on the floor with relief , now he’s mad about such and such who took a pill, he can’t finish his food, she goes on and on about that, and kelly and i are looking at each other with big eyes and toast again ” oh what a night” this time — the brits have not missed a beat, they are still eating, the boss says kelly can have her bailey’s now, ( on the rocks) and takes her by the hand to get it, she comes back, i decide i’m going to talk the newly engaged fellow, so we talk about italy, and i rave about it extra loud so she can hear me, dont know what kind of life he is going to have with this girl but i wish him well, it turned out to be a great evening, i never realized the americans were going to bring me such drama all the way to Italy,

einstein left he is replaced by an older fellow who come to find out is british, he’s a professor of some kind, of course i have to jab my jaws to him, he’s a guest and going to doges palace, i told him about our secret tour, he didn’t know anything about it, tho i’m sure they would have scheduled it for guests, if not, he can make them take him, he was very interested in that,

the “couple” leaves, we wish them luck , the british professor is gone, sweet man, and the place is getting empty, a few scattered here and there, we leave and get big hugs and a smooch from the boss, now we’ve got to see what is up with the mom’s, we are walking along, come across an italian guy alone, he says where are you going? and invites us somewhere, i say no, have to get back to the hotel and our mom’s , he says oh okkkkkk, he does not question it when you mention the mom’s , kelly starts off walking again, i’m telling the fellow thank you anyway for the invitation, and bammmmm before u know, i’m back in the war is over kiss, kelly looks back and sees it , and is dying laughing than giving me *ell, yelling “why is that every time that i turn around you’re leaned way back getting a kiss — and they act like your their wife and there going off to war and will never see you again,

i laughed and told her well, thats close, they won’t ever see me again, (and they are not gross with it) its always fast, so of course i tease her back and tell her , its about time, i didn’t get a throw back smooch in couple of days and i was missing it !!

now we are walking at mach 1 speed because its getting late and we don’t know whats up with the mom’s , 2-3 guys are coming toward us, and i’m not paying attention to them and kelly starts talking to them, i turn back, and its our hotel front desk guys, i didn’t recognize them, they had street clothes on and i’m used to seeing them with the jacket and ties, kelly asks are the mom’s back, ? yes they said, did you tell them you saw us and we were going to dinner ? they said, nooo, we didn’t tell them a thing, no worry,

well now it is time to worry because we wanted them to tell the mom’s we went to dinner and they saw us—–, they thought they were being so helpful by not spilling any beans, now we realize that all the mom’s know is that we didn’t show up at 2:30 — they don’t even know we came back to the hotel, ohhh shoot !

we dash to our rooms, my mom is like where have you been? i told her, and she’s okay with it, than kelly comes a bit later to my room, she says her mom is mad at her, she thinks we did it on purpose, which truly was not the case ) now her mom lives far away from her, so i think it must be a more sensitive thing than it is for my mom, my mom is just worried if i’m going to get kidnapped, or am i allright, ( yes 40 year old girls running thru the lanes in venice to get their mom’s and afraid we are in trouble ) that was us !!  kellys mom is as sweet as can be but this upset her, she’s going to bed, so i told kelly well …we mind as well go up to the bar because i know kelly wants to talk about it, so off we go, up to the bar, we sit outside on the table and have some nice irish coffee, we had a nice time sitting there, talking about that ungrateful girl, our lives, this trip, that canal is still and it is beautiful, i am not feeling too good about tomorrow being the last night ,

tomorrow’s plan is :  Murano, burano, and torcello,

Day Five – Venice

by the morning Kelly’s mom has forgiven us, we wake to sunshine & blue skies, Venice has given us this gift each day, its warm during the days, chilly at night and in the mornings, could a person ask for anything better? I think not. I truly recommend September as an excellent month to visit Venice, or anywhere in Italy for that matter,

Today’s first stop is going to be Murano, we make our way to the stop near where we had our gondola ride, i check the board and we are at the right place, tho it makes alot of stops, i dont mind this a bit, it is a delightful ride to murano, just like going to the Lido,

we are finally there and its funny how each place strikes you — they all have their distinctive personalities, there’s a man trying to get us to a glass factory but i told them no, i like to explore a new place first, get a feel for it, than decide the agenda if possible, so we head to the main lane, and slowly stroll the length of it , taking in all the windows, there are without a doubt some gorgeous items, we make our way to a main square and the stomach is rumbling, i go ahead, ( okay reality is i’m always ahead ) if u look at the line of us walking its always me up front, kelly trailing behind me, than kelly’s mom, than my mom, who is always on “stroll” mode, hey which is good, but i have long legs and when i take a step, i cover ground ! so i am checking out food places, we decide on “Da tanduo” fondamenta manin, our waiter has red hair, he is very nice, we also have a pretty italian girl waitress who is wearing big earrings that are very cute , i told her i like those earrings, she said there like a chandeliers huh? they are silver and we discuss that here on the glass making island they should be making her those earrings in glass, she says i’m going to tell them that, i like her instantly, we complete our orders and she is giving us our italian lessons for the day, she knows what we want, and now we are to say it to her in italian, she is saying “good” “good” !!! and we are like the pupils in elementary school — happy when we get that gold star next to our name, i want risotto and i find that two people have to order it, it takes at least twenty minutes to make so kelly says she will have that too, plus we order other things, i want to try the codfish ohhhhhhhhh i can’t remember the name but it looks like tuna fish spread on toast but it is codfish, the pretty waitress tells us that is very venetian , i’m sharing it with the others and they are liking it too, and of course i’m having beer, while we wait for the risotto, i am going to people watch and soak in this canal. The little boats are coming by and gosh darn these men are handsome, thru out the trip we use the codename “Sly” meaning “handsome man” u can thank Witty for that , she inspired it, and it was quite comical hearing my mom or kellys mom saying, slyyyyyyyyy slyyyyyyyy , sly on the left !! Kelly and I are swinging our heads around like the exorcist trying to find who they are talking about, we are commenting on how attractive italians are, kellys yelling at me, yesssssssss and we have no proof !!! u should have been taking pictures of them ! now i took over 1200 pics on this journey and compteplate throwing her in the river as she has not taken one photo or even brought a camera ! and i was just a little too darn shy to go snapping pics of the men, so we are sitting here , having our munchies, this little boat comes by and imagine Brad Pitt in the movie Legends of the Fall, with the blonde pony tail, this kind of fellow rides by, and we are like ………….holy ****, we are in luck, that he is stopping his boat across the canal from us but up ahead and is making some sort of delivery, they are all three yelling at me ! u better get a picture of him !! hurry !! and they are making me nervous and i’m trying to get the camera going and this bugger , he won’t turn around so i can get a good face shot, and i’m not exaggerating i must of taken 20 or more pics of him just trying to get a face shot but he is being uncooperative in that he is doing his job making deliveries, we all four are focused on him, the moms saying take it now !! take it now, i can see his face !! i have so many pics of this man from every angle but a closeup of his pretty face, than all the sudden, the competition has arrived, ( now remember he is across the canal, i would have to swim over there, or walk way down and get the bridge ) i see 3-4 girls and those buggers have discovered “OUR MAN” , we are all saying to ourselves, WOULD U LOOK AT THAT, WHO ARE THOSE WOMEN, WHAT THE HECK ARE THEY DOING LOOKING AT OUR MAN, WE’VE STARED AT HIM FOR 20 MINUTES TRYING TO GET A FACE SHOT, , these ladies had the advantage because they are on the same side as him, and we can see these women and we can clearly see on their faces they think they have discoverd brad pitt legends of the fall in venice, and i’m ready to march right over there and tell them, back off buddy we saw him first ! than the little brats started taking pics of him, kellys says i should throw them in the canal, i’m egging her on — saying yessss , go over there right now Kelly– set those girls straight and I want to bet they are americans !! and we are having fun getting ourselves in a tizzy , than brad pitt, legends of the fall in venice, goes into the building , and he doesn’t come out, ahhhhhhhhhhh even the Mom’s hearts are sinking ,

we finish our very satisfying meal, drink a bit more and decide to window shop, i cannot believe how beautiful these items are, and i am confused tho, i don’t know which shops are authentic or having chinese made items, i believe i saw a sign on one of them saying they are authentic and don’t buy the chinese stuff, maybe there were more signs , i am not sure? if so i didn’t notice them, i know our suitcases are packed and even the new bags we bought, so i know , i am going to have to buy small items, i got earrings, some glass type rings, these being presents for the folks back home, i tried to get gifts from each place for everyone, i spent a fortune in florence at a shop called Lush, home-made cosmetics, and guess what , they have them in venice too, saw them right near the rialto, and i think later i found one in cannaregio, they have things thing that looks like a bar a soap but u rub it on yourself and it becomes lotion, ladies check out lush if u get a chance and they have a website and i believe are in new york too, i have not looked yet but i will,

i picked the shop i bought my items from all because of a little dog, a chiwawa (sp)? the tiniest little thing, i call them “imposter dogs” well this one has spirit and is letting me pet him and the owner gets him up on the table and shows us all his little tricks and this man and woman who i think are venetians, love this little dog, ok with that i’m sold, buying all my items here , so i buy all my things for home, i decided to get four or five of each and i’ll figure out who gets what when i get home,

now we are kind of split up during our shopping, after my purchases, we are wandering in the direction back to the waterbus stop , i meet a fellow who has a shop, or his family does, he’s showing me some beautiful necklaces , lots of beads, lots of rows of them, i’m thinking i need to show kelly these, he wants to have a pic of him with us, in front of his shop, i tell him sure we will but i have to find kelly first, as i’m scanning the crowds i see this, now picture the legends of the fall venice man , the blonde long hair in a ponytail ( check photos u will see him) i didn’t post the 20 or 30 shots off all the same thing , the back of his head,

well there is a spitting image of him standing right there, with a GORGEOUS suit on , i mean this man was beautiful, i am just ready to snap the pic of him, shy or not i was getting it, and all the sudden , the fellow with the shop comes up to me, he wants his pic NOW, and imagine this i have the camera up and am jsut ready to click it on mr. beautiful and this fellow kind of pulls me by the hand to his shop and i meet the father i think, and i am missing the shot of the most beautiful man i have ever laid eyes on right there in the flesh, and i am not one too hurt anyone’s feelings, so i go to the front of the shop and get the pic, and talk to the father, and now i have to go “tinkle” bad ( beer does that to u ) and i have not found kelly yet, so there is a place, with a sort of long strip of different shops , like a mall, and i find a bathroom all the way in the back, and i’m in there and the door bursts open and kelly yells my name like someone has been hurt or something —- this big long jeannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnetteeeeeeeeeee, and i’m like what what????????????? i had visions that one of the mom’s must have accidently fallen in the canal, and than she starts talking in rapid speed , hurry hurry hurry upppppppppppppp, there is the most beautiful man in the world outside with blonde hair and i’m tinkling and telling her i saw him, I SAW HIM, she’s yelling hurry we have to get his picture, and by gosh, there is nothing worse than when u are going and someone is trying to make u go even faster, i speed thru that the best i can , hands washed and we RUN the length of this place with shops that are like a mall and get outside and HE IS GONE !!! we dont give up, we go looking for him , kelly says we have to find him , LOOK LOOK, and i’m looking and a boat is pulling off and we run to the dock and try to scan hundreds of faces to see if he was on that boat, i think if he was –miss kelly would have jumped right in the water to reach that boat, i mean she really had the “hearts” popping all on the top of her head, than we dash all along the front where the waterstops are and we can’t find him, he is gone, gone gone, and she is having a fit and murmering , the most beautiful man and we dont have a picture of it, over and over again, there are two well-dressed older italian men sitting at a table , pretty darn handsome for their age, i bet they were spitting fire when they were young, i hear the one say to the other, “California” so they are guessing where we are from, i told him ” no, washington dc” with a smile, which isn’t so, maryland is next to washington dc but i find when i mention maryland, most people in italy do not know of it but if u say DC they get it right away, i talk to them a few minutes and they give us instructions on how to get to Burano, and they are sweet men, dressed sooooooooo nice, looking so handsome in their elderly way, kelly is still moaning about the missed photo of the beautiful man,

i head back to that area, and the guy with the shop , he sees me , he sees i have kelly now and i take their picture in front of his shop, ( a promise is a promise ) she’s still got the long face, ( btw she still talks about that man, and his beautiful face and how its my fault we dont have a photo of it ) I WAS TINKLINGGGGGGG ! LOL ok so Kelly will never forgive me for having kidneys and she’s complaining we don’t have proof of the handsome men, so i get mighty brave, and if i saw one, i wasn’t shy ! i aimed that camera right at them and took their picture and their reaction sort of startled me, they were so nice about and would break out into a big smile after, THEY LIKED IT !! oh my gosh, had i known this, i would have needed 500 of those gigabytes because i would have been snapping since i stepped off the plane in rome but i didn’t want to be rude, and get beat up like i was paparazzi, so if u look in the photos, u can see me getting kind of brave, see the man i named “eyes” and i got a few more, if they weren’t handsome than they just had a great smile and i took their pic too, i think one could come to italy 3-4 times per year, u need one trip for just taking pics, u need another trip for seeing things u still need one more for relaxing and taking it all in, and u need one for the shopping, which is last on my list if i had to pick,  we really spent alot of time at this murano, thank Mr. Ponytail for that — now its time for the colored houses of Burano, we get on the boat, and truthfully i can’t remember how i got there, did i get off and get on another boat??? i have a vague memory of this but i’m really looking forward to this next island, the boat starts coming in and u can start to see bits of the colors coming thru and my excitement is building, kellys looking tired or sulking about Mr. Beautiful and says “ok i see the colors can we go now? i said absolutely not, we are going on the island !!!!!! so we are wandering and i dont know where but we follow the people i figure they are going to lead us to something, and i’m looking in the windows of the homes at one point i see a cute little old lady, sitting there in her house, sewing lace, now is that cool or what? one has to keep control during times like this because i could just burst right thru that woman’s front door and hug her to pieces !we reach what i would say is the main street at a canal, its filled with shops and some restaurants, its starting to get a little dark, and we are watching the men come home, and families mingling here and kelly is saying , we ought to live here, it would be nice to have a good man , live on this island, we can come out here on the squares in the evening , keep it simple and be happy, i said okay kelly, would you mind looking around and finding us that nice man, u get him, i’ll stay, i find beautiful peacock scarves, pricey but nice, almost to the end of the main lane, on the right, blonde haired lady, i like her, its getting kind of cold and she even wraps me up tighter in my own scarf, i didn’t buy a scarf from there but no matter , she didn’t want me to be cold, i did buy a little lace umbrella and i am coming back one day for the peacock scarf, kelly can’t find our future men to live on the burano island with so its time to go and is dark.  with it being dark , i said we can’t go to Torcello, (sp?) we decide to go back to cannaregio, i don’t know what we did wrong but we get twisted up and for awhile there we are getting on and off stops, i think i went to murano again, or a stop with a F, i dont know but something goes wrong and we are island hopping and barely make one boat that will take us to San Marco, wow its quite a long journey back, we are all tired and quiet, i’m feeling sadder by the minute because you know i dont want to go home in the morning, we make it back , exhausted and hungry, there is a place not far from the hotel, near the main lanes with the shopping, each night i walked by there and saw the people sitting out, we decided to eat there, i thought we would go get a shower and dress than come here but the mom’s snap NOOOOOOOOOOO !! they want to eat NOW ! ok one does not argue with a hungry mother, so we get seated inside , its too cold outside, and order up a nice meal,

at one point the manager or the owner is saying something and smiling and i’m not sure if he talking to me, so i look behind me thinking he must be talking to someone out on the terrace, he says no talking to u, finds out we have been here five days, i told him we saw this place each night passing by and decided to try it for our last night , he says ahhh very good but very bad, i said why, he says because i did not get the pleasure of your company for the other four nights and that is sad, we make a promise to him , we’ll come back again, we eat alot because we had only that one meal across from blonde pony tail, i have baileys after, and sit and ponder this trip which has been everything i dreamed of and more, its time to go and we are leaving the restaurant , the nice man (owner or mgr) reaches out , takes my hand and kisses it and that was my very last smooch from Italy.

I rather like the smooches of Italy but the next one ……..I save for someone special.

As I stand in my home on US soil I go running to my dog Lea. Momma is home !

The End !

Comments
  1. Pat says:

    Ahhhh, the memories and this is how we all became friends on TA!!!

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