Thursday, October 23, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
Daniel and I hopped on a ferry out of Venice, straight through a storm over the Adriatic Sea and arrived on a deep misty night into the port of Istria. Our Airbnb host, Mladin told us that the forecast would be gloomy the next morning and, for our visiting souls' sake, would quickly become the blue sky norm again. Thankfully, we are from Oregon and grey skies are a don't-sweat-the-small-stuff sight. Super thankfully, the storm only lasted a few hours. Just enough time to catnap in our apartment, gorge ourselves on paprika chips and KiKi fruit chews, and head back out into the winding cobblestones of Rovinj. Sidenote: We plowed our way through FOUR bags of KiKi candy. Croatia probably gave me a cavity. Again, all is forgiven.
Then, THEN, the truly authentic Croatia emerged. Clouds dramatically parted, unveiling a constant sunny truth, and literal harmonies from heaven engulfed the airwaves, (the clouds did part, the heavenly harmonies were most definitely a techno rave, the "Unknown Festival," from another nearby island). This is old country, (forget trying to use a credit card here), but the people know a good time. The entire ocean is their swimming pool, whenever they feel like it. I imagine businessmen after a long work day, run outside to the nearest rocky cliff, shimmy down the ladder into the briny blue. Leaving a trail of ties, suit coats, and brogues on the stone ledges above...
Biking along the shoreline, we found hidden pockets of sand and surf stretching on a seemingly endless coast. Eventually, making our way further south to Pula, by way of bus, not bike, although...biking would've been faster, (Foreign Bus System+Foreign Weary Travelers=An adventure? One thing I've learned from my experiences overseas, whatever happens, call it an "adventure." You'll go a little less crazy). Halfway into our European journey, the buzz of thousands of travel miles behind and before us lulled to a hum as we sipped a Coke on a pebbled beach in Pula. One of those rare times in life where you can feel how everything you've ever done has led to this place, in this moment.
Monday, October 6, 2014
"The Vegas of Europe"
After a bit of a scramble from Paris to Beauveaux to the check-in for our RyanAir flight, we landed in Treviso, Italy with rousing fanfare. Literally, fanfare. Applause. Trumpets. Mariachi music. The woman seated next to us lifted her gaze Heaven-ward, kissed her rosary and made the sign of the cross. "Are we excited to arrive or excited we, ya know, didn't not arrive?" I quickly scanned the cabin for a "We've been accident free for days," plaque. Anxiously ticking away the list of multiple take-offs and landings (and all the in between jazz that happens 30,000 ft. up in the air) we had left in our trip.
Thankfully, we switched up our mode of transportation to something more down to earth. Down to earth's water level, that is. Gondala, water bus, yacht, cruise ship, and ferry, oh my, welcome to Venice, the "Queen of the Adriatic," "City of Water," "City of Masks," "City of Bridges," "City of Canals," "City of George 'It's About Time' Clooney's Wedding" and "The Floating City," although by the looks of the Piazzo San Marco, I think we were most definitely on the verge of sinking every afternoon. Damn tourists. Oh, tourists. Oh the approximately 47.7 million tourists that anchor in every year, in a city of 60,000! For the record, I'm a tourist but I'm not a tourist. Venice is beautiful, but if I were a resident trying to ride the vaporetto to run errands or get to work on a daily basis and I saw one more selfie stick or umbrella or large meandering group of people overpaying for Murano glass made in China and serenaded tours of the Grand Canal, I would probably throw myself in front of a very swiftly moving gondola.
With some careful research and consistent prayers lifted to the almighty TripAdviser, we carved out a pleasant visit in the maze that is, Venezia.
The magic of Italian gelato, pizza, pasta, and spirits quickly made up for any tourism claustrophobia.
If I were a resident, I'd probably survive on a diet of cappuccino, chocolate croissant, and bellini. Then I'd proceed to get old and wobbly and angrily wave my cane at the Carnival ships blocking my house.
Ahhh, the sailing life for me.
Stay: Giudecca Island/Haven Hostel
Save: Buy a 48/72 hr. water bus pass!
See: You'll easily zoom by a majority of the major landmarks as you walk (get lost) through the streets of Venice. Escape the crowds and jump over to Lido for a day at the beach, Murano for the real-deal world-famous glass, and Burano for colorful neighborhoods.
Savor: Best-Practically-Portland coffee at Torrefazione Marchi/Hole-in-the-wall hipster pasta at Dal Moro's Fresh Pasta to Go/Kinder Sorpresa eggs at the supermarkets. You'll find the best selection in Italy, where they originated! Take some home to your kids...or don't...cough*illegal*what?*