About five minutes after my 7 AM wake-up call yesterday morning, the acqua alta chimes went off AGAIN for the fourth day in a row. But I was able to pull my suitcase to the boat without getting it or my feet wet. A long 20-hour day of travel to get home, but I can't complain since once again, the travel gods blessed me with a not-full plane and this time, I had the middle row of three seats all to myself. The nine-plus hours from Venice to JFK went by so fast since I could lie down and read and doze. I agree with Girasoli, it's almost as good as getting bumped up to first class.
I bought several new books that I read on the plane...one is a just published book about the churches of Venice, in Italian but with nice color photos. I hope they'll translate it into English at some point. I also read a book about Giotto that I bought at the Scrovegni Chapel, and my best find was "Brunetti's Venice", a book of walking tours connected to the Donna Leon series. It hasn't been published in the US yet but I found a UK version in a bookstore in Venice. It's quite good!
The December issue of Conde Nast Traveler has a nice article about Venice written by John Julius Norwich (author of the very long and definitive "A History of Venice" and the great "Paradise of Cities"). I agree with many of his recommendations about the best art to see and churches to visit...it's a good read. He says that he's been to Venice over 200 times and he continues to discover new corners and see things he's never seen before. I believe it. The Great Shrine Hunt took me to so many new places this trip, many quiet and lovely courtyards, so beautiful. And I had pretty good success with churches...I found seven new ones open to add to my visited list. I also found a bunch closed up tight but that's par for the course.
I did have to laugh at the cover of that magazine though. It's in Piazza San Marco with this very glamorous couple in evening clothes standing there. They look very chic and the piazza is completely dry. I think they should have put ME on the cover, standing in the piazza in a foot of water, all wet and bedraggled with frizzy hair and an inside-out umbrella and those horrible boots on.
A friend picked the cats up for me because the pet spa closes on the weekend, and I would have had to wait until Monday to get them. So they were here when I got home late last night, and it was so very good to see them. They were not very happy when I left but they are fine and they've forgiven me for leaving them. When I woke up this morning, they were both snuggled next to me, one on each side, and when they realized I was awake, they both started purring. So sweet!
Maria the kitten really grew a lot while I was gone! She's bigger but she hasn't calmed down at all....this morning, she knocked over a vase where I throw spare change, and it made the most horrible loud noise when all the money spilled out on the floor and really scared both of us.
Then she jumped on my desk and found my memory card (which contains my precious photos from this trip!) and knocked it off and starting batting it around on the floor like it was a toy. Thank goodness I saw this happen and rescued it before it got lost or, god forbid, went down the heating grate. I'd be having a nervous breakdown if I couldn't find that thing!
So I'm unpacking, uploading photos, drinking bad American coffee, and listening to my Joy Singers CDs. The Christmas CD is so good, it's putting me in the holiday spirit. The CDs have many of the songs they did when I heard them, like Oh Happy Day! That's my fave. That concert was really one of the highlights of my trip, along with the day at Torcello, the Giotto frescoes in Padua, and the two mornings when I had Basilica di San Marco virtually all to myself. And also all the cool people I met. It was fun to talk to folks from all over the world and hear how truly happy and relieved people are about Obama and not be embarrassed to be an American any more.
I've got that post-trip time warp thing going, not bad but just a bit disorienting. I looked at photos from the first days of the trip (which was only 12 days ago) but it seems like months ago! It's kinda weird. It's about time for a nap. :) I'm going to post some Acqua Alta photos soon.