Venice

I’m the type of person that is always on to the next, but sometimes it’s good to reflect so in that vein I’ve decided to recap previous travels in what I’m calling Travel Back Thursday. I’ll start with a trip to Venice that my family and I took a few months ago with friends during the Easter holiday. It was a great trip with our friends David and Nia and their daughter Nadia from New York with Todd and Swar and their two daughters Alia and Anayah from Geneva who flew to London to spend a 2 ½ days as our guests in London before we all headed to Venice together for 5 days.

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While in London we hit the obligatory sites of Buckingham Palace, St James Park, Big Ben, The London Eye (for my 3rd and final time) and the Victoria and Albert Museum to check out the amazing Alexander McQueen exhibit. The guys hit the town on Friday night while the ladies hung back at home and had a mini dance party with the kids to celebrate Nadia’s birthday. My friend Kandace joined us with her family that evening to meet Nia who also happens to be her 2nd cousin…the world is incredibly small. The following night Kandace and I took Nia and Swar to my favorite London restaurant Ramusake for an amazing meal and delicious drinks followed by a bit of partying at Bodo Schloss.

 

We left for Venice on Sunday and arrived early in the afternoon with a loose agenda consisting of eating some delicious Italian food and seeing some of the requisite sites but mostly to enjoy each other’s company surrounded by the charm and romance of a city built on water. It was everyone’s first time to Venice except mine, though it had been 20 years since so it was like my first time as well. We travelled by boat from the airport to our hotel near Piazza San Marco. We quickly checked into the hotel before we headed by boat to Milano Island to tour a glass making factory and observe the craftsmanship behind some beautiful chandeliers, glassware and sculptures. Following the tour we returned to Piazza San Marco and strolled around the area stopping for lunch and browsing in shops before dinner. Lunch and dinner were good but not great by my high foodie standard and left me still anticipating the mind blowing cuisine that I remember Italy for.

On Monday, we toured the Church of St Mark and the historic artwork inside. Afterward we kept it light and casual for lunch and like the day before we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around admiring the beauty of the city before dinner which again was good but left me wanting more. We made it to the Peggy Guggenheim museum on Tuesday to admire original works from world renowned artists from Picasso to Kandinsky to Dali to Pollock. The museum’s building was Peggy Guggenheim’s former home and was quite impressive in its design and prime waterfront location. I struggle to decide which I appreciated most, the art collection or the museum. We enjoyed the casualness and lack of structure in our days as it took the stress out of moving around with five children ranging in age from one to nine years old.

Wednesday we decided to take a ride on the gondolas for which Venice is famous and afterwards it finally happened…we stumbled upon Trattoria Rialto Novo and had the meal that I had been waiting for. The food was INCREDIBLE and we enjoyed every bit from the Talbot, scallops and baby octopus to the spider crab, razor clams and sea bass ravioli and not a moment too soon as we were nearing the end of our trip.  We were satisfied… almost, but not before taking advantage of the weak Euro which had hit 10 year lows and was nearly equivalent to the dollar. I bought a couple of items in the Gucci store but the best part was finding a little shop that sold amazing Italian women’s dress shirts that fit me perfectly. Too bad that they don’t have stores or ship outside of Italy but that just gives me a good reason to return…and for the food at Trattoria Rialto Novo.

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We kept Thursday light as it was our last day but we went out on a high note returning to Trattoria Rialto Novo for an al fresco lunch that was every bit as good the second time confirming that the spectacular meal that we enjoyed the day before was not a fluke and redeemed Venetian food.

Behind the lenses…

Before I told you all of that I should have mentioned that I was recovering from tonsillitis the week before this trip to Venice and that my son was also recovering from a fever earlier in the same week which manifested itself as conjunctivitis (pink eye) by Friday. On Saturday, the day before we left for Venice my family along with Todd, Swar and their girls visited the doctor to get healing and preventative medication. Thankfully our friends never developed any symptoms but on Sunday my husband, daughter and I began experiencing symptoms of conjunctivitis.

Determined not to let illness spoil our plans we pressed on but my husband and daughter both developed fevers and missed the first day and a half of our trip only joining us for dinner on the first night and the daytime tours on the second day. My daughter was a trooper on the second day but wasn’t well enough to join the group for dinner so I stayed back at the hotel with her and by the next day her fever had finally subsided. I think the only reason that I wasn’t as ill was because I was still on antibiotics from tonsillitis a week and a half earlier but just as my prescription ended I was feeling a relapse. I stopped in a pharmacy and asked for a throat spray and discovered a natural antibacterial honey based spray. We were all fever free and on the mend but our drippy, crusty eyes told a different story. Not feeling any relief from the prescription eye drops that we received in London I walked into a pharmacy and took off my sunglasses. The pharmacist took one look at me and said “you need medicine” and proceeded to dispense eye drops; €8 later I was on the road to recovery.

As my family and I were enjoying our first days of wellness at the end of our trip our friends got sick.  A 24 hour stomach bug had claimed five including the family from Geneva plus Nia. We stayed really low key on our final day as our friends struggled to recover.  Our friends from Geneva flew directly home from Venice while our friends from New York joined us for a final day and a half in London before departing back home.  Feeling proud to have survived the trip we nearly claimed victory when conjunctivitis claimed its final victim when poor Nadia got sick just as they returned to New York.

In short, we were a full blown mess but none of the pictures that I shared on Instagram and Facebook hinted at reality.  Instead I received compliments on my fashionable sunglasses and chic look. Ironically, it was one of these pictures that has become one of my favorites which just proves that you never know what is really going on in a person’s life from a picture.

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