My 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.
My 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.