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The first and the last

IMG_2234.JPGMy first visit to La Serenissima was in October of 1979. My husband and I, along with our 4 month old son, were traveling through Western Europe in a VW camper bus. We arrived in Italy via the Swiss Alps, stopped in Milan to get money, and drove straight to Venice. My recollection of our first visit is a bit fuzzy; we didn’t keep a journal and the photos we took are on slides that I can't view at the moment. Of the campground, I remember it was in a rural setting and there weren’t too many campers around. I'm not sure we camped in Mestre and after looking at a map I get the impression that we stayed south of the autostrada. Our stay must have lasted about two days and I remember my excitement at seeing the iconic sights of Venice for the very first time.

It was in Venice where I made my first Italian purchase. While strolling around the city, and tired of going up and down the bridges with a baby on a stroller, we spotted a kitchen supply store. I went inside to browse and the only thing that caught my fancy was a stove top coffee maker known as a moka in Italian and greca in Spanish. Back at home we had one but it was old and this one was modern looking and with a larger capacity. The price was $40.00, which at the time was a good chunk of money for a coffee maker. We didn’t have a coffee maker in the camper so we bought it but with the intention of taking it home. Twenty nine years later and here it is. Still making excellent espresso.

IMG_2235.JPGMy last visit to Venice was in October of 2006. My brother was making his first trip to Italy and we spent four days in Venice before heading to Sicily. Our last day was spent browsing the shops and selecting souvenirs for my brother's three children. One of the shops we stopped in sold masks. I have always admired the Venetian masks and all the different shapes and vivid colors. The masks that always catch my attention are the ones depicting animals. I asked for permission to take photos of the walls overflowing with the masks while my brother browsed. It was on that shop where I bought my last Venetian souvenir, a cat mask. I bought it for my daughter but I later learned that she's not very fond of any type of masks, so I kept it.

My next visit to Venice will be soon. This story about my first and my last visit to Venice is my way of saying that I’m returning for eight full days in October. I’ve been scheming for a while a way to get to Italy before our planned trip to Spain. So, after checking flights and sending emails to about 15 places, I found a direct flight from Philadelphia that puts me in Venice at 9am and I have a great place to stay. I’m very excited about spending this time on my own and about the possibility of connecting with Anne in Venice or in a city/town between Venice and Florence. I must thank Annie for her incredible help. She’s been an amazing font of information on lodging, books about Venice and on Venetian sights. I’m looking forward to sharing with everyone the planning stage of this portion of the October trip and our plans for Spain.

I just added the count down widget to keep me focused on this trip but it’s making me nervous thinking of all the stuff I have to do.

Comments (9)

I am soooo excited for you!! 40 days!!! I love your countdown clock!


That's wonderful! Only 40 days until you are off.
And that is a very nice countdown clock, as well.

Oh what a great post - I am so excited for you and so happy that this has all worked out!

It's funny but I had no clue what a moka was until my second trip to Venice when I stayed in Marco's apt. He very patiently taught me how to use it, and then I was blown away by how great the coffee was.

No gondola ride yet and also no Venetian mask for me, but I may have to look for a kitty cat mask on my next trip!

I'm still amazed that you and your husband did all this traveling with little kids. I think it's great.

Ahh - I wonder if we were there at the same time in '06?

And my last two trips there have been for 8 nights each time.

I hope you have a really splendid time! Lucky you! :)


How exciting! Looking forward to reading more.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Maria, wow this is very exciting news! I am so happy for you. Venice for 8 days and then Spain sounds wonderful. A get together with Anne will be so fantastic. And to be able to see all the great things that we have read about on Annie's blog. You're going to have so much fun!

I enjoyed your story of your first purchase in Venice and your last purchase of that beautiful mask. Ooooh maybe you can get a Moro on this trip! :)

I'm going to enjoy reading about your plans. Love your cool countdown clock. Only 38 days to go. . . how exciting!

Have a great week and happy planning.


Maria, I love your moka, what a fantastic souvenir!
And they make such great coffee.

I'm very excited for you -- returning to Venice will be a wonderful trip. I hope you and Anne are able to meet, I love GTGs with other travellers who I've met through Slow Travel (or blogging!)

Your countdown clock looks wonderful -- 37 days to go!

Thanks everyone!

For the last couple of days I’ve been reading everything I can find on Venice. I’m very grateful to all ST members that have written reports, travel notes and restaurants reviews. At the moment I’m reading Kathy’s (Trekcapri) wonderful trip report. I’m really enjoying reading it and how timely it is for me!


Yay! I just wrote in another comment that I am getting back to my travel planning now that the girls are settled into school/university. I'll keep you posted if (I will be optimistic and say WHEN) I find a reasonably priced place to stay in Venice, at least for a night or two, while you're there. It will be so much fun to meet!!

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