As promised, take a look at this table. Certainly not what my normal breakfast of hastily-shoveled-yogurt-while-I-put-on-my-make-up looks like. I could get used to this....
The morning "rush hour" in Venice is a different creature; we become part of a pedestrian parade of the morning variety found in any developed country. Business people already haggling by phone, mothers scooting reluctant children towards school, teenagers giggling between bites of brioche as they huddle-walk, a few tourists, and maybe those just enjoying the vibrant start of the day. The narrow cattle-chute passageways make for a fair amount of weaving and dodging, not unlike the freeways of non-Venice cities. The Ferrari types scurry by at lightening speed, abruptly overtaking the plodders, while the majority clip-clip along in efficient fashion.
So how does FedEx get its packages delivered; how is the garbage collected; how does the construction crew get goods on site; how is fresh bread delivered?? There are no motorized vehicles, nor even the bzzzzzz of Vespas, and maybe we've seen but a few bikes. Ah, Venezia...by water, of course!!
And mass transportation follows suite.... the metro taxis, the traghetto, and certamente.... Una gondola! That is, if you don't have your personal barca ready and waiting outside your door.
The morning's lesson begain once again with Andrea, and we enjoyed a bit of chat about the previous evening's activities. Connective words became the focus of study, and I managed to probably earn a B were grades given. However, by the end of the morning, I felt more like a C- student as we verbally constructed complex sentences using different types of past tense conjugation, as well as connecting words. Whew. My now-feeling-jet lagged brain (I know...it did catch up with us today!) was really struggling to keep up, despite the dose of fortified caffeine delivered via un macchiato during our pausa. Thank goodness for kind and patient teachers!
Lunch with a friend is always a dandy thing, but lunch with a friend...and a new friend....alongside a canal in Venice at a local cafe ups the delight ten-fold. We met our friend Esterita, who lives and works in Venice with her husband Nick, and a colleague of Ester's, and were shown to a fine little place called Casa Bonita.
Sometimes not being in charge is a wonderful thing, especially when in another country and having lunch with locals who know the real-deal for regional food. We gladly allowed our friends to choose for us, and we were presented with authentic Venitian cuisine washed down with a light bubbly Prosecco that was most enjoyable!
Parting ways, Marty and I decided to pay a visit to the nearby Jewish Ghetto, the oldest in the world. During the height of Venice's Midas touch years, Jewish families were allowed to establish a protected residence because the bankers and money exchange businesses were critical to the rich commerce that was the life blood of Venice. The ghetto remains active to this day, and offers kosher eateries, pastry shops, and various stores. We stepped into a few, including an amazing little antique store. Marty remarked that it appeared to be more a museum; the grandmotherly proprietoress chuckled in disagreement, but to our history poor eyes, it certainly seemed as such!
A remembrance of a very special friend....
This is a departure from the sights and events of the day here in Venice; this is far more important and worthy. I heard the news today that a very special lady and friend had passed on to her Heavenly Father, the remarkable Esther Lehmann. Esther's niece and also my friend, Betty, let me know a day or two before we left that Esther was seemingly preparing to leave this world. She told to go on and not worry, and despite my heart hurting, I did. I told Betty that Esther always loved our travels and would implore, "Go while you can!" She enjoyed hearing our stories, and I tried to bring her a small remembrance from wherever we'd visited as a way to share it with her.
Esther was the last living offspring of an Indian captive....her father Willie Lehmann. More well-known is her uncle Herman Lehmann, who lived 9 years as a captive of the Apache then Comanche. But more importantly, Esther was a lively, lovable, vivacious, funny, intelligent, tough, and spunky little gal who'd charm the socks off anyone she met. Over our 12 year friendship, I took anyone who had any interest out to the homestead for a visit with Esther and her "museum". What a thrill every time for me, and oh the number of folks who were gifted with her stories and presence.
I spent some time in a church today as way to honor Esther from afar. I lit a candle for her, fittingly one with two wicks to symbolize our friendship, as well as symbolize the lives of so many that were touched by her. By chance, there was music in this grand church today. I smiled as I thought of how much Esther would've gotten a kick out of that. More than once, I introduced her to musician friends who gave her the joy of a personal concert. Today's were all for her as far as I was concerned.
Unfortunately, I will miss her memorial service, as well as time with her family and friends I came to know and love. . And I will miss her sorely.
photos from the day
Unfortunately, Marty seems to feel a bad cold coming on. Oh dear. Our wandering, therefore, ended early; however, it offered me the opportunity to sit quietly in this elegant sala, sipping hot tea while I'm surrounded in old world elegance. My desk an old table upon which sit elegant dried flowers, faded but still beautiful and grand -- like this room, like this house, like this city. A rich damask cloth drapes the table top, subduing the sounds of my clattering keyboard while the soft light of a Venetian blown glass chandelier caresses the scene. Periodically, the kind housekeeper, properly attired in her formal dress and apron, enters removing, replacing, restocking this or that -- what all, I'm not sure, but I enjoy her stealthy interuptions. Maybe she's added a few more chocolate eggs to the silver bowl I discovered last night.
So while Marty sleeps, I'll remain entertained while I write, complete my homework, and possibly just sit in the quiet with another cup of tea as I reflect on this day. As I reflect on my sweet friend's life well-lived. As I reflect on what precious gifts each day of breath holds. I heard late of the tragedy in Brussels today. My heart is heavy for this, as well. Yet my heart is also full; a strange juxtaposition.
* I've posted the videos of a bit of the music on my Facebook page if you'd care to take a listen.
I found these "Tex" vintage comics in an old bookstore run by a crusty old fellow who did restorative work. When I went to pay for the smaller one, he asked if I liked Tex. I replied (all in Italian, of course) that certainly I did -- I was a Texan! He got quite a kick out of that and found the second book for me. Total spent = 4 euro; the experience = priceless!
This clock mechanism was in "Esther's church" and was built in 1500. Yes, it's still ticking.