I was disheartened to learn today that one of our main reasons for the trip, as I mentioned when we started, was to go to France and Italy to lose weight by eating those tiny “continental breakfasts.” Now, as it turns out the whole continental breakfast thing is a hoax. It turns out that it was invented by Americans to make their brethren feel more international. This certainly puts a crimp in my plans. Additionally I learned you can’t lose all the weight you want by eating three or four croissants followed by a gelato chaser. Oh well. I don’t mind typing with my mouth full.
We were only in Venice for 2+ days. That was intentional on our part since we feared it would be too much like going to Disneyland (the irony here is that we found a Disney store in this city). While the city certainly is devoted to the tourist, it actually is still breathtaking and could stand up to a much longer visit, or several shorter ones. I kind of vowed not to make this blog a series of pictures about “here we are at xxxx”, but I may have to throw in a couple of those just because the place is so beautiful, like this view from our hotel room terrace.
That said, here are a couple of highlights:
* I’m not a shoe/foot fetishist (in spite of any rumors you may have heard) but if I stayed long enough in Venice I would probably become one. The shoes are here are outrageously good, but so far. here is my favorite:
* Most outrageous person? Easily the gal wearing tights and leopard-skin spiked high heels wobbling down the cobble street while walking her 200-lb. Afghan hound. If that dog sees a squirreletto and takes off, she’s got two instant broken ankles. She should hire an aquambulance to follow her around. As our guide says, “stupid married stupid.”
* Best meal of the trip (so far)? Lunch after visiting the Doges Palace: Crab served in its shell, Bronzino (Mediterranean Sea bass) roasted with cherry tomatoes, olives, and potatoes, mixed vegetable saute, artichokes in olive oil, truffle rissotto, espresso, and limoncello. For some reason we skipped dessert. Apparently my anorexia is cured.
* House most likely modeled after Liberace’s desert abode? Easily the Doge’s Palace. Gilt, marble, paintings, statues of naked men, and its own dungeon.
I’m hardly mentioning all the beautiful art we saw here. I’m almost ashamed to mention that we did go to three art museums in a day and half and we got a bit overloaded. But it did lead me to wonder who has more baby jesus pictures, Spain or Italy? That would be a great project for some grad student to figure out. I will say this however, the Jesus paintings in Spain are a lot bloodier and more tormented than the ones in Italy. Italy’s Jesus seems better adjusted.
After all of this we jumped back on the train (the same one that now has been upgraded to plasma conversion thrusters like the ones used by the Enterprise) and headed downstream to Florence where we are ensconced for a week. It will be nice to slow down the pace of our trip. I can also say (having safely arrived in Florence) that there are few things better than settling into your seat, looking out the window watching the Italian country-side speed by at 175 miles per hour while you’re listening to Jimmy Smith play the Hammond B-3.