Monday, February 21, 2011


"Once you see Venice, you will never want to leave," so says my Italian friend. "It is magical!"

That, I’m afraid, was an understatement.

We arrived, on a full moon, during Carnivale. With celebrations, masks and music at every turn.

This was my first visit to the water born city, sadly sinking back into the sea.

The ‘street’ to my hotel was so narrow I could barely fit a suitcase down it. (Savvy travelers arrive there by boat.)

The street to my hotel.
But, I had a hunch it would be a great find the second I made a call to the desk clerk.

Can I get directions? I asked. We’re walking.

Oh, don’t try to walk here, came the reply in broken English. It is too complicated. 

If you've never been to Venice it is a small island of incredibly narrow streets, twists and turns that often leave you dead-ended at a spot where there is no bridge to cross the canal.

People are forever scurrying one way, only to turn around and go the other way on a quest to who knows where.

This is the entrance to my truly Italian, 4 star hotel, the San Cassiano.
Are you sitting down? $94 U.S. dollars a night and it's on the Grand Canal. 
Perhaps the reason it's empty is because no one can find it. :)))

Okay. True confessions: I agreed to work this month in Italy because, back home, I was feeling a little bit lost.

The view from my (affordable!) hotel.
So I guess, in a way, it was good medicine to push that feeling to the limits in a city where people are perpetually lost.

Where even the locals look at your map and admit they don’t know where they are.

But, if you give up on those worrisome feelings and give into the idea that – sometimes – being in control of things is hardly worth the effort...

Well, then it’s all so easy.

My 2 favorite Gondola Guys.
You buy a mask.
You dance in the moonlight.
And, you start thinking maybe your life is not so broken after all.

And, yeah. I haven’t a clue where my hotel is. But, hey. Life could be worse.

* A note for the directionally challenged (that be me!) Bring your iPhone. When things got really hairy that bouncing blue dot on the Map Quest app tracked my every step and got me back to my hotel in the blink of an eye. (Even when I thought, for certain sure, I was marching in the wrong direction.)


sasha said...

Venice looks like a model of a town to be built to full scale somewhere else. Thanks for sharing the experiences, and if you don't get bewildered while traveling you have planned way to much.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Good thoughts, Sasha. Too much planning causes too much trouble once you get there...

Carol said...

Oh Kate!!! My heart is palpitating! Please send more! It is so sunny there . . . I had heard winter was cold and grey. This is exactly the time of year I want to go. Wonderful mask! I am so happy for you. What a wonderful place to get lost and then to find your way home with your iphone. Great. Wonderful photos!! You "agreed" to work in Italy! Are you allow to say what kind of work? Gosh I am just green with Envy! I hope you continue to have a fabulous time.

KC said...

Isn't Venice wonderful! We had to buy extra luggage to haul back all the treasures we found there.

Lona said...

How beautiful Kate! I do not know what I was expecting but not that beautiful green blue water in the canals. I just thought it would be a muddy color. LOL! I love seeing you enjoy your visit to new and beautiful sights. There seems to be so much more color in buildings and displays over there than we have here in the states.
I would be so lost if I couldn't use a map. LOL!
Have a wonderful time.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Let's go back there together. February seems to be a wonderful time to visit this magical place. :))

Alison said...

What a magical city! Thanks for posting about your trip. I love the photo of the entrance to your hotel. And the view! Spectacular. You are so lucky to be there!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

It is marvelous, KC;

And, you would love, love, love this hotel. It's fancy and special in every way and --- affordable! I'm amazed by that. I was so worried it would be a rat trap but it's perfect in every way.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hey, Lona;

I thought it would be stinky and brown, too. But, it's nothing like I expected. The streets are clean, the water blue, and the people are so friendly. Plus, there's an amazing little store around every corner. (Long live the Mastercard. :)

Rohrerbot said...

Nothing like a trip to Italy to air out feelings.

Laurrie said...

Lost in Venice... your pictures bring me back! I was there last September and had to find my way to the Ospedale (outpatient clinic at the hospital) for an infection. Talk about lost in Venice! How special to be there during Carnivale. And in such an incredible place on the Grand Canal. Enjoy every moment!

Cynthia said...

Absolutely incredible! I can only hope to make it there someday. It looks like the most divine place on earth to be "lost". Insert wistful sigh here. It's cold and snowy back here at home (doesn't THAT just make you want to come back!) LOL!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

True, true, Roherbot
I feel like I'm back to my old self, after this wonderful adventure. :)

Oh, Laurrie...
That must have been awful. Though, I guess it doesn't surprise me that they hide the hospital, too!

A must for every 'life list,' Cynthia
You will not be disappointed.
I heard about the snow. And, the cold. And, while I'm very, very homesick I keep wishing I could stay just a wee bit longer. At least until Utah warms up? :)

Denise said...

I really enjoyed your post. My heart is throbbing! I really enjoyed it! Enjoy yourself! I'm happily envying you!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Thanks, Denise!
I'm glad you're enjoying the pics and such, though my time here is sadly coming to an end. I depart for the US on Sunday.

We need to talk you into a grand adventure so I can live vicariously through your travels! :)

Rose said...

So beautiful! Thanks for sharing this, Kate. I visited Venice with a friend many years ago during college and must admit I didn't enjoy it that much, mainly because we kept getting lost:) I'd love to give it another try. What a great hotel, too; looks like you're making the most of your working vacation.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Rose;
Those narrow streets to no where can be frustrating so I completely understand. I don't think I'd have been as brave without my iPhone (it keeps track of where I am on a map.) In fact, just this afternoon I had to resort to the iPhone to figure out I was on a train going in the wrong direction to get back to my apt! You'd think after a month I'd know where I was going but that is definitely not the case. :))

Anonymous said...

Love this-Being lost-among the lost. I used to have a bumper sticker, "Don't follow me, I'm lost." So many parallels there...don't know where to go with my thoughts. :) Jane

Janie said...

Beautiful! I especially love that golden romantic glow in the last photo.