Italy – Day 1, Saturday

We arrived in Milan at 8am Saturday morning, walked out and got on a shuttle to the train station. That was an hour and a half ride. Debbie sat next to a handsome older Italian gentleman and practiced her Italiano. He got quite a kick out of her attempts. She’s making great progress. Unfortunately everywhere we go, she greets them in Italiano and therefore they assume we speak Italian and they start rambling stuff off to us and we both stand there with our mouths hanging open, like “huh?”….like a Molly look (for those of you who don’t know Molly is the Mexican grand-doggie). We arrive at the train station to stand in a long line to get our tickets to Venice. We have to wait 2 hours for the train but the train station is lovely, nice old wooden benches like you would see in the old movies.

Debbie is taken by all the sandwiches being eaten by the Italians. But since I know everything 😉 I point out that it is the Italian fast food….no burger stands on every corner here. But some of them were huge! We picked up some yummy little bag of crunchy baguettes and some salami. Debbie got a bottle of apricot juice hoping to keep herself regular…you know how she is when she travels. Finally our train arrives and we get on and find some seats. Ooops, we are in the wrong seats so we move. Oooops, we are in the wrong seats again and we move again. Oooops, now I am in someone’s seat so I leave Debbie there with her stranger friends to chat in Italian with while I go scout things out. Finally I find us a couple of seats next to some young “crew member”, guys on their way to meet the cruise ship that they worked on. B6….no Bingo here (I’ll explain later). Again we caught a few zzzz’s, me with my mouth agape catching flies, Debbie frowns when she’s sleeping. (she didn’t know). She “says” it’s because she’s sad she left Michelle and Jazzie at home…uh huh. Two and a half hours later, (24 hours since we left LA!!!), we FINALLY arrive in Venice like walking zombies!! Now we just walk out of the train station and there it is… vaporetti, gondolas, water taxis, and people….lots and lots of people.

We buy our ticket for the vaporetti and take our very scenic ride to Piazza San Marco. We haul our luggage up over bridges and cobbled stone walkways, going under the arch, turning down this alleyway and that, passing interesting shops and vendors until we finally reach our Bed and Breakfast Campana. We are greeted by Ricarrrrrrrdo, who is sooooo pleased to see us. He carries our luggage up four flights of stairs to our beautiful room.

Debbie is very impressed with the gentle-manliness of the men here. They are very kind to the elderly and specifically “single” middle aged moms. With tremendous energy, Ricarrrrrrdo directs us to the best place to eat, very close by, knowing we are walking zombies. After 30 hours in the same clothes, stringy yucky hair, we finally get in a shower and Oh MY GOSH, it felt so good!! We quickly prettied ourselves up and went off to dinner. Amazingly we found the restaurant that Ricarrrrrdo suggested. We both ordered the same thing, go figure. Starting with an aperitif of white wine, soda water and some bitter fruity liqueur, we wondered where the bread and olive oil were….nothing was coming. Our waiter indulged Debbie in her attempts to speak Italiano and we finally settled on some Gnocchi with tomato and basil, veal scaloppini, a GREEN salad, and a liter of the house vino. The gnocchi was great, the veal was “cosi cosi” (so-so), and the GREEN salad was…. green. The bread finally came with our meal, heavy day old stuff and some dried bread sticks that were pretty good. The green salad was a plate of iceberg lettuce, that’s it! Odd. The vino was great and plenty. Note to self, order only half-liter next time. We ate it ALL. We drank it ALL. But now we were re-energized so we walked around Piazza San Marco for awhile, stopping at the tourist kiosks, trying on this or that.

I finally bought a small tote bag to carry my “reading” glasses, camera, and Euros. It was a little windy and chilly in our strappy sundresses and our jackets were pretty thin so we decided against the gelato and instead went for some cappuccino. Debbie wanted a cookie. We searched and searched for the perfect cookie. I guess they don’t do oatmeal/raisin over here. She finally settled for a shortbread cookie with a big chocolate dollop in the middle. She bought two. We found a coffee shop/bar that had cushy seats so after walking away from the cookie store (with their plate), we sat down and had a wonderful cup of decaf-cappuccino.

We finally ended our day by climbing up our four flights of stairs to our room where we crawled into our comfy beds aroundmidnight. Debbie was out before I even figured out how to turn the TV off (the one she had just turned on).

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