Thanks so much to Anne (andasamo) for sharing some wonderful photos from her October trip to Venice. Seeing those really made me psyched about my upcoming trip! And welcome home to Maria! I can't wait to hear all about her travels to Venice, Spain, and Morocco. And I think that Kathy (Trek Capri) gets home from Spain today - welcome home Kathy!
Before my trip last year, I wrote a blog post that said, “Trip planning is easy when you’re returning to a place for the fifth time.” I was tempted to just repost that and change “fifth” to “sixth.” Really, there's not much to plan when it's trip number six (and my third December trip in a row).
I bought my plane ticket and booked my room in August and then pretty much put this trip on the back burner. Once the election was over and I felt like I could breathe again, I did a bit of trip prep but not too much. Oh, and let me say that I am SO glad I bought my ticket before the big financial meltdown because I probably wouldn’t be going if I’d waited (and I’m really glad I’m going!).
I don't make any kind of day-by-day plan since I like to drift and do whatever I feel like when I wake up each morning, but one of the things I’ve done to get ready is go through all my books to compile a list of things I want to see. It’s some pretty obscure stuff, for sure. This past year, I’ve been reading old guidebooks because I discovered that they have more legends and interesting stories than modern books do.
For example, I read a centuries-old legend about a bridge in Dorsoduro called “Bridge of the Marvels”….supposedly this bridge appeared miraculously out of nowhere, built by supernatural hands or something like that. I want to find that one!
I also found a great website, Venezia Museo, that has photos and addresses for hundreds of street shrines, many of which I’ve never seen. The website is in Venetian dialect (and its navigation is as labyrinthine as Venice itself), but I plan to roam around and photograph lots of shrines. I used Venice Explorer to get the street locations for the shrines and marked them on these little low-tech pocket maps I made.
Other than that, I've got some definites and some maybes.
I’m definitely going out to Torcello since it’s the 1000th anniversary of the building of its Basilica. I might even splurge and eat lunch at the Cipriani out there (and hey, the exchange rate is better than it was last year!).
I might take the train over to Padua one day to see the Giotto frescoes (but I say that every year and then can’t make myself want to deal with the land of cars). I’m definitely going to eat at La Zucca, my favorite restaurant, which was closed for restoration last December. I might go visit the cat sanctuary over on the Lido, and I’ll definitely go feed the San Lorenzo cats. I want to go back and spend more time on the cemetery island.
I do plan to visit some churches! I have a list of churches that I haven't been inside and maybe I'll get lucky and find some of them open, and I’ll definitely be returning to my favorites. I’m going to attend Mass in San Marco for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8.
I plan to hang out in the Christmas Market in campo Santo Stefano and drink hot spiced wine and listen to music. I've checked their schedule of free concerts and during my stay, there will be an evening of Tango! Can't miss that! Last year, I went to a free concert in the church of the Ospedaletto, a perfomance of "Music from the Time of Doges" played with old historic instruments, and I'd like to attend one of those again.
There’s a pretty long list of museums that I haven’t been to yet – I save those for a rainy day and I’ve been lucky to have very few rainy days in Venice. So maybe I’ll go to a new museum or two. Or maybe not. Now that I’ve typed this up, I realize I’ve got a lot more on my list than I’ll have time to do, but that’s okay. I mainly just want to walk and get lost and take pictures.
I’m staying at Locanda Orseolo for the third time and I’m really looking forward to seeing those wonderful folks again. I'm going to look for Roberto, the Oh-Bama gondolier!
I’m getting VERY excited now that I think about it!
I loved what Kathy (Trek Capri) wrote about how there is both an outer and an inner journey when you travel. For whatever reason, Venice as a whole (and its churches in particular) is my sacred space where I get that sense of timeless connection to the bigger picture. I always come home renewed and inspired. I don't understand why at all, since I'm not Catholic and not even really Christian in any traditional sense. I guess I'm a humanist who believes in a Higher Power but doesn't think that organized religion is always the best way to connect with that power, but yet I love going to Mass in the churches of Venice. I find it very holy and sacred and healing. Go figure. So anyway, I’ve got “soul searching” on my "to-do" list as well.
I do plan to blog a little bit (and the Locanda has a computer in the lounge that I can use). I didn’t blog at all last year but I’ve so enjoyed reading everyone else’s “blogs from the road” this year (thanks Girasoli, Sandra, Anne, and Kathy!) that I think I’ll give it a try. But it will probably be short and sweet since I have to share the computer with the other folks at the Locanda and also because I’m such a slow writer and typist. I’ll wait and do more detailed reports (with photos) when I get home.
One of the main things I've done to prepare for this trip is I've gotten much of my Christmas shopping done. I don't want to come home and be too frantic about getting ready for the holidays. I've put a big dent in it (and I do plan to do a little more shopping in Venice) so I'm in good shape with that.
I have to admit that I'm fretting a little about leaving the cats. Well, really, the kitten (LuLu will be fine). When I went on that business trip in early November, the folks at the boarding kennel told me that Maria the kitten was NOT a happy camper and she was hissing at everyone! But they said that after a day or two, she calmed down and was fine. She is such a wild child! So it will be hard to leave her but I keep telling myself that she will be with LuLu, not all by herself, and I won't be gone all that long.
P.S. Just learned that today (December 1), Venice is experiencing the worst flood in 22 years! I'm so glad I'm not arriving today! It should be all gone by the time I get there, I hope, but I'm going to email the Locanda to make sure it's safe to come.
The link above has a slide show of today's flood - check out this one of the bar at the foot of the Rialto Bridge! I've sat right there many times, but not in water!