Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Venice, Italy - Day 1 Part III

Continuing to walk along the Grand Canal on the wet pavement, you can hear the water splashing against the edges and little steps leading into the water. You can hear feet making splashes in the puddles and the many different languages of tourists. The gorgeous masquerade masks caught our eye and we tried a couple on. They're so beautiful, decorative and mysterious. Who's behind the mask? I have always wanted to go to a masquerade ball.

We reached our first bridge and it was wide and covered with tourists and locals probably a tad bit irritated of so many of us being in their way. We stood at the summit, above the Grand Canal and we wanted a picture. Check! Ron wanted a picture of him clicking his heels down the stairs. Check! and Click!

We continued on and found ourselves a map. It was getting dark and it had started to rain. We didn't want to go down dark alleys so we stuck to a busy road. People were prepared with their rain boots but still had cones with gelato in their hand. We were walking a long time and didn't want to go too far or stay out too late. We stopped and thought we might be lost so we whipped out the map and tried to figure we were at. We couldn't pinpoint our location exactly but I saw a lot of people heading up these wide set of steps and it was pretty well lit. So, I thought we were close to the Rialto Bridge so we walked towards the steps to see what it was. If it wasn't anything major, we'll turn around and take the route we came back. Climbing the steps we passed many shops and there was a woman with a tripod taking photos angling down the steps. At the top, we turned to the right to see over the edge onto the water and yup, there was more water. I turned around and saw the back of the shops were painted black and there was graffiti all over them. There, we realized we were on the Rialto Bridge.

... To be continued...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Venice, Italy - Day 1 Part II

We arrived on the ship and were immediately greeted with champagne and mimosas. We were amazed at the view from the rear staircase down to the main floor where a band would play nightly and six glass elevators climb floors 2-14. The wrapped staircase from floor 3-4 is lit up and the game room, library and lounge can be seen above. There was so much to explore.

We found our room on the 9th floor and a balcony was really not necessary. The inside stateroom is quite comfortable and large, you will not feel claustrophobic. There were two comfy, twin beds, robes hanging in the closet, a flat screen tv, an equipped bathroom, and full fridge. Our luggage was not going to arrive for awhile so we freshened up as much as we can and grabbed something to eat at the cafe.

The food was in abundance and soo good. We have cocktails with every meal and so much to choose from, from a carving station, salad, sandwich station, and of course dessert! The lemon cod was the best..of that meal. The dining room was open seating and we chatted with an older Asian couple that sat next to a window that was wet and clearly showed how dreary Venice was. But, we decided to go out and experience the city anyways. We had to take advantage of this opportunity. Wouldn't you?

I'm so glad we did. We could have taken a taxi but we were going to wing it in this foreign land. Our goal was to get to a tall yellow building. A fence and possibly super long, roundabout way there was preventing us from a straight shot. So we walked around towards a shuttle on rails stop that was nearby. It only cost us a 1 EUR, unfortunately we only had to go one stop. We couldn't make that 1 EUR stretch. Fellow cruise patrons and seasoned travelers helped us get to the The Grand Canal.

We walked along the water and couldn't believe how beautiful all the surroundings were: old churches, cute restaurants with outdoor seating, shops, a lot of gelato spots which seemed like every 3 shops, you'd find one. We had to have some. I had a vanilla one with berries on a cone, and Ron had caffe and tiramisu. Both were so delicious. I didn't waste a drop. There are even vending machines for your sexual pleasure holding condoms, lube, and more. Kudos to Italy for encouraging safe sex by having these products easily accessible. And of course the many water boats docked or smoothly running up and down the Canal. It was an amazing feeling just being there. I couldn't believe it and I couldn't help but smile.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Venice, Italy - Part of Day 1

What a day! We landed much more smoothly in Venice than we did in JFk, New York. I was so excited to get my first stamp in my passport. I look at it afterwards and the stamp is faint. I feel cheated. Then off to go get our bags and meet Celebrity to catch our boat.

"It's a ship, Daddy!" (Titanic movie reference).

Taking a bus to our boat and passing the local little communities and massive bodies of water was amazing to see. I couldn't believe I was in a place I have been wanting to go in at least 10 years. I couldn't wait to explore. But first we had to board the ship. It feels like forever since I've showered. All the oiliness was covered by my Stella & Dot cap that now has to be washed. We get to the terminal and are greeted by a Celebrity employee. She hands us paperwork and tells us to take a seat and wait for our level to be called.

Ron and I continued our Scrabble game and Ron enjoyed the cute, thin, young employees dressed all in black and with an accent. After awhile, I noticed that other people that arrived before us were not asked to sit down. So I asked when we were able to check-in. She says now but that we can wait until it slows down. Dude! We've been waiting an hour to hear our level called. I bypassed her and got a second opinion. We checked in. Thanks, Chick, for wasting our time.

We were about to get on the ship and the guy from Montreal noticed my carry-on bag with my Los Lonely boys badge and said they were in Montreal a bit ago. I love that I can jog memories of their performance.

And then we board our home for the the next 13 days.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Landed in New York

There is no doubt the city will bounce back after Super Storm Sandy. Ron and I just landed in New York, JFK airport for a 2.5 hour layover on our way to Venice.

Last night, Spencer stopped by the house to say Bon voyage. Roomie met him and of course was well-liked. Man of the Earth, as I call him for his many experiences traveling all over the world, is great. We spoke of my itinerary, a few memories of his travels and had many laughs as usual. He recommended a travel guide by Lonely Planet but we weren't able to stop by a Barnes & Noble before heading to Kingfish for dinner and drinks.

Bevo sat on my lap while Spencer's visit before he became interested with his bone. I knew I was going to miss him so much. He sleeps with me every night and wakes me up with kisses. I said my goodbyes to my Puppy Love. This was the longest time I was going to be away from him in 4 years. He usually travels with us often. But I know he's in good hands with Roomie.

Roomie drove me out to Kingfish and we had dinner and drinks. I had the Skirt Steak as usual. It is always cooked to perfection and my mouth just watered typing that. Roomie had cheese plate and grilled prawns. Very good. Ron convinced her to stay for an additional drink and made her an approved Old Fashioned an entertained her with his bar tricks and bewildering energy. Fuji and his friend Nico came too. I haven't seen him since the wedding over 6 months ago. It was goo to see him. And my former tenant, Tanya, stopped by with a friend. Good conversations, good consumptions and wonderful company. It was a warm Bon voyage.

Ron and his roommate, Greg, continued to drink back at the house. I was exhausted and turned in but the house was filled with music and Greg cooking of Spam and rice. A Caucasian, motorcycle-riding man just loves Filipino food. Right on.

Sweet Jenny picked us up at 5:45 am in her stylish Mercedes. Who needs a town car?!?! After a night of drinking herself, it amazed me at how chipper she was but it was definitely welcomed. I learn and experience new things all the time about my friends.

After a walk from the wrong terminal, we found the Delta counter and Christy arrived. She gave us the VIP treatment at going thru the security check point and it was well worth it. It's always good to see her and see her do well in her job. She left us at Perry's Restaurant (gotta love my Perry friends) and had mimosa, Irish Coffees for Ron and a two-egg breakfast. We look at the clock and have 20 minutes til the plane leaves. Oops! Scarfed down the rest of my breakfast and my mimosa, and we made it to the plane successfully.

On the plane I watched some episodes of Season 4 of Sons of Anarchy, slept, played Scrabble with Ron and read some of The Hunger Games. There's a flight map on the screen in front of you so you know exactly where you are, how much longer on the flight, etc. I also knew when we flew over Brentwood but didn't find my house, but was able to pinpoint my sister's house from the air. Pretty cool. And I could see the water of Lake Erie below us, and the gorgeous skyline of New York City as we descended. There was a it of turbulence but I breathed deeply thru it.

Walking to our next gate, I found it really cool that the terminals had circular areas just as seen in Pan Am, the tv show. I have never stopped at JFK. And now we're here at Runway Bar for more drinks and food. Ron's excited for the Duty Free store we passed by to get cigarettes and possibly cologne.

Until Venice...