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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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November 24, 2017

An ending for Wednesday

Hope this will go a little better today.  I think this is my first time blogging using my MacBook Air and it has photo features I'm not at all crazy about...

And I was right of course about doing more on Wednesday than just the Doges Palace.  When we finished there, we had a late lunch of cichetti which is Venice's version of Spain's tapas basically.  I had read about them and thought "oh, that's something I have to try" so we did and they were good altho where we got them, they weren't as inexpensive as they are some places I think.

Then we went back to San Marco Basilica and visited two of their three "payment required" places but no pictures are allowed anywhere in the basilica and that's why I didn't have any more pictures.   So no pictures in this post.

The two paid places we visited were the Pala d'Oro and the Treasury.  The Pala d'Oro is unbelievable, breathtaking, and spectacular.  It is gold, gold, gold and what isn't gold is cloisonn√© like I've never seen before.  Even though you're not supposed to take photos, apparently a lot of people have because there are many, many on Google if you'd like to get an idea of it.  Like so many of Venice's treasures, it was brought back from Constantinople.  I don't know what its purpose was in Constantinople but in a Catholic country I would have thought it would be the altar panel but, at least when we saw it, it was behind the altar so during a service the only people seeing it would be the choir.  At any rate, it was a truly beautiful piece of artwork and I'm glad I got to see it.

The treasury has many, many reliquaries (storage places for saints' bones or bits of bone).  Some are quite large (saw one with a shin bone in it) and some are smaller.  But they were all made from gold for the most part and often jeweled, etc.  We saw one large round one where you couldn't see the bone and I had to say to Chris I wonder if it's a head.  It was a little higher and a little less wide than hatboxes (if they still make them).  A strange practice it seems to me but there it is.  They also had other ancient, ancient pieces - a fair amount of glass dating back to I think 1303?  And they had individual coins and two mounds of coins - one of which was found in metal can by a farmer in the 1900's.   So all in all, it was quite interesting and quite worth the small fee to enter.

This entry is about done and for anyone visiting my trip journal, I am sorry there are no photos but I write it mainly for my own diary of the trip.

We came back to the hotel for a breather, then went to a restaurant almost right across from our hotel which was packed every lunch and dinner time so we hoped that meant it was a good spot and it was. Rossopomodoro is what it's called and even though it is very crowded, we were seated fairly quickly which was nice.  We ended up both ordering a pizza because they have a wood-burning oven.  Chris got one with Italian sausage (we wondered if it would be different from ours and it was somewhat) and I forget what else was on his and he's asleep.  I had a bit of his and it was delicious - the sausage was smaller around and firmer and had a delicious flavor.  I ordered one with escarole, black olives and pine nuts of all things - there were no tomatoes and just Parmesan cheese.  It was very good also although very mild.  We were sitting right next to a table with a mom, dad and two boys who were clearly American and I finally thought of some excuse to say something to them and we ended up having a delightful little visit with them.  They were from Connecticut but the woman grew up in Kentucky.  The two boys were 15 and 13 and I was impressed with how comfortable they were talking with perfect strangers.  The 15-year old especially seemed very confident and assured.  I wouldn't be surprised if he went places because he had a wonderful smile and was very confident but polite.  Seemed genuinely happy to join in the old folks conversation.  And the 13-year old was clearly headed in the same direction.  So a nice family to run into.

After dinner, Chris wanted to show me a bookstore he had discovered on his trip here in February - The Gondola Bookstore.  There can't be another one like it anywhere.  Books piled everywhere in no discernible order and down the center of the store are various sized gondolas stuffed with books, the reason being that during aqua-alta (when the lagoon rises and floods all the walkways, basements, low buildings, etc.) the gondolas float and the books are saved.  I doubt if it's really a very efficient system and they also had stacks and stacks of books which had suffered severe water damage - not really sure why they would keep them and surprisingly enough, there was no mildew smell.  Anyway, it was all a bit of a hoot and obviously necessitated a stop for a cup of gelato on the way back to the hotel.

And that is it for Wednesday!!!  Thank heavens!  And I've already edited all of Thursday's photos and have them exported to my blog file.  I will probably work on it on the train to Florence tomorrow and get it finished up tomorrow night.  That will still leave me two days behind but that's all right.

Buona sera!






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