Gondola, going, going, gone…

If we're not in Venice now, where are we?

Venice.

Oh Venice, Italy, magic, mystery, city of dreams.

I remember you now, looking at these pictures, was it 2007 or 2008?

My daughter and me, traveling through Italy and Switzerland and France.

Did it really happen, or was it a dream?

Do these photos prove that it happened once upon a time?

Oh yes, we are too in Venice--at least we WERE in Venice.

I loved Venice, oh, yes, I did.

Some folks sneer their noses at memories of Venice whispering, “It stinks, it sinks, it’s disappearing into the sea, it’s awful!”  but no, Kiah and I arrived in springtime, in May, and it rose above the Adriatic Sea, a jewel, a shining port, a masked beauty.

It didn’t stink in springtime with fetid water.

It bloomed with beauty, ancient beauty, heart-filling beauty.

No.  It thrived, it danced, waiters flirted with my daughter freshly graduated from college, and I wandered in early morning deserted streets and despaired finding a “real” cup of coffee.  They only offered tiny little cups, hardly coffee really, certainly not American coffee. You sipped and the espresso disappeared and you wept into your empty cup:  WHERE IS MY REAL COFFEE? and then you pretended to be cool, like the Italians, and sighed, and ordered a another brew while you surveyed the pigeons in the streets and thought, “Hey, Michigan, where are you now, do you really exist?”

Remember those gondolas, Kiah?

Today I am so busy.  It’s 2012 and I have been A) at work and B) joining a blogging friend at the local coffee shop–maybe more about that later–if a photo turns out and C) heading to a school board meeting after a leftover dinner of curried lentils and cauliflower over rice.

Oh, and tending a sleepy knee replacement patient, exactly one week after surgery.

But the Universe has nudged me back to memories of Venice, yes, Venice, over the sea, an ancient island, a gondola-ride back into Medieval times, paddle lapping against the canal waters, memories going, going, almost gone.

Oh look, here we were. 2008. Me and my daughter...

Isn’t it funny how you can pause among long-ago photos and suddenly you’re there, almost there, in that green water, in that gondola, wondering how in the world you’re going to afford 80 euro (was it really 80 euro, Kiah where are you when I need facts?) for a gondola ride because you’ll remember it forever, forever, at least until 2012?

Venice...special magic...I wanna go back...

I wish my knee patient could someday wander in Venice with me, oh yes, please.

Have any of you visited Venice?  Did you love it or were you there on a stinky day when the city fell even deeper into the lagoon, tilting toward disappearance beneath your gondola and your nose wrinkled because–pee-you!–the water is swallowing the buildings, eating them whole, devouring them, dining on ancient brick for dessert?

Crazy!

Memories disappear so quickly, don’t they?

Going, going, gone…

with only photos to prove we actually visited, actually trudged the cobblestone, actually snapped photos, actually dodged pigeons in the square.

Gondola going, going, gone...

P.S. If you like these photos, thank Kiah. I didn’t know how to use a camera back in these medieval days…

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57 responses to “Gondola, going, going, gone…

  1. Kiah – great shots! I don’t know who took the photo of the two of you in the gondola, but it’s my favorite!

  2. A stranger took the photo, Laurie–one of those gondola-helpers. I remember him clicking. He probably asked for euros. No, no, no! He didn’t ask for euros. It was part of the “package price” we paid. :)

  3. Venice. Ahhhh. Gorgeous.

  4. Thank you for sharing your memories and pictures Kathy…thanks to Kiah too :) I love the one of Kiah and you…it’s beautiful!

  5. I haven’t been, but have always wanted to go…what a lovely way to travel, making memories with your daughter.

    • We made lots of memories, Cindy. It was a special trip–and we were able to meet up in Europe again the following year. I hope you get to go some day!

  6. Oh Kathy, you have me with so much to say, while at the same time hoping you don’t think this is an advertisement. I went to Venice long, long, long before ’08. I truly do wonder if it was all just a dream. While I still had a few pictures of it in my mind, I wrote it down and published a (very) short story (a trip Venice & other cities in Italy). Here is how I described Venice …

    Oh yes, it certainly was a paradox city. So dirty, so beautiful, so intoxicating. Thanks for the memories. :-)

  7. Oh it cut out my description of Venice. Probably because I used symbols. Trying again.

    I found myself floating on a gondola through the paradox city of Venice. Romance oozed around every bend and under each charming bridge. The scent of stale fish wafted into my nostrils. Cats slinked alongside narrow cement ledges. Light glistened on the dirty water reflecting cracked, mortar walls of the buildings.

    • Lori, I love your description. Romance oozing, stale fish in the nostrils, cats slinking, light glistening. Very accurate! Girl, you have a real WRITER living in between your fingertips—keep writing! (As long as you can remember the smell. Otherwise, you’ll have to go back…)

      • Hee, hee. My family gave me the trip as a HS graduation gift. I went with a bunch of my female cousins, my mom and Grandma … we’re all Italian. There are some funny stories that happened on that trip. Especially with my grandma who I wrote about in my blog on Holy Thursday.

  8. Travel memories always make me want to look for my suitcase. Sounds like you had a fabulous time. I haven’t done Italy so today I’m traveling vicariously in Kiah’s photos.

    • Doesn’t she take the most lovely photos, Lisa? She was my first photo teacher! I am glad you are in our trip-memory suitcase. If you squeeze in a little tighter, we’ll remember a few more things about that trip. lol!

  9. Oh, it’s been too long since I’ve had a European vacation! I loved traveling to Venice through your eyes and Kiah’s photographs. I’ve never been myself, but every time I’m in Europe– period– my heart swells and aches with love. What a beautiful continent! :)

    • Dana, I think I’ve randomly posted Europe photos (from my travels with Kiah) on this blog before. But many of the current readers have never seen them, so I dug some out yesterday and had a fun little trip down Memory Lane. Wishing you a trip to Europe soon. My crystal ball says next year? Or am I reading it wrong? lol.

      • Could be next year. We had actually wanted to head to Prague last Christmas, but Marty had too many commissioned projects to finish before year end. Maybe we’ll find our way over there this December. :)

  10. Europe is a magical place! At least to those of us who grew up on this side of the pond. So much in such small spaces. At least when we lived there. I’m told there are big box stores there now. I want to go back while I can still enjoy it. I don’t think I am up to a backpack or duffle bag any more … well maybe …

    • Did you live there, John? Did you tell us that and I forgot? I am peering in the above aforementioned crystal ball. Yep, if I’m reading it correctly it says: 2013. Pack your bags!

  11. I have never heard anything but lovely comments about Venice. I am surprised anyone utters a negative – even if it happens to be true!
    Beautiful pictures, especially of you and Kiah. I love all the photos I have with my parents; they’re all treasures!

    • Heather, Venice has a special spot in my heart. It was so medieval. It filled the senses. I am glad you treasure your parents. I like you, girl!

  12. Loved Venice….we were there in May, early June of 2006! Would go back in a moment. Enjoyed your photos, as they brought back my own memories. Great photos Kiah!!

    • How fun that you were there, too, Dawn! Interesting we were both there around the same time of year, although you beat us by a year or two. Kiah had to call me on the phone when she read this last night and we remembered a bit of the trip again.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing the memories of your trip. I have not been to Venice, but my sisters were this Christmas, and we were just looking at their photos. I love the picture of you and Kiah. And, what a beautiful name, matches the girl. Thanks so for sharing, just what I needed on a cold day in the Dakotas.

    • Brrrr….a cold day in the Dakotas. That sounds cold, just reading that sentence? Are you from North or South Dakota, Lucinda? Glad you liked the pics, especially the mama-daughter one.

      • I am from both states. At the present time we live in North Dakota, but we own a house and some farm land in South Dakota, and will retire there because of family. We have lived in both states off and on, and that is why I just consider myself as from the Dakotas.

  14. I love this post. We humans do love our nostalgia, don’t we? We savor each bite of aching whimsy, pining for those moments when routine melted away and life lived through us. You captured it perfectly with your words. Your gondola, your memories, your motherly love… Thank you.

    • What lovely writing, littlestoryblog! I love how you expressed this. When our routine melts away…yes, exactly. Aching whimsy. Now look who captured it perfectly!

  15. Old photos and memories – which are more reliable? The photos don’t show the smell, but your memory can conjure it. But, would you remember precise details without the photos? Just rhetorical.

    • I’m not sure how much I–personally–would remember, Barb. This here memory is a little–how do we put it?–challenged. It refuses to recall smells, too. It remembers the espresso vividly though, lol.

  16. Katy, I always love your travel posts and memories! No, I haven’t been to Venice. Have only flown high over it, to and from other destinations. The first time, my sister and I were sitting on each others laps as we tussled for enough window space to see as much as we could. Which were no more than tantalizing glimpses as we were so far up.

    So thank you for sharing your photos and memories again. And I do so hope that one day you and Barry will be taking that magical moonlit gondola ride together. The crystal ball seems quite sure about this :)

    • Colleen, I experienced such a vivid image of you and your sister flying over Venice when reading this comment. Where were you going? I am glad you weren’t bored reading more memories of our Europe trips. I wish Barry had these memories, too. Sniff, sniff. I hope the crystal ball is right.

      • We were flying back to London from Greece. It was Carol’s 50th birthday and we wanted to do something special together. We had planned on going to Scotland but when it came time to buy our tickets we ended up tossing our plans out the window, buying tickets to Athens and spending five weeks exploring all that is Greece and Greek. We had a fantastically wonderful time on a shoestring
        budget.

        And I think crystal balls are always right :)

  17. Kathy, you do make me laugh, “didn’t know how to use a camera back in these medieval days…” !! Thank goodness for our children, who constantly come to our rescue. How did we survive without them, pre-their-birth? ;) (I went to a smorgasbord recently with my four, and they felt the need to explain to me what a smorgasbord was. Lol)

    Back to Venice…oh, how I wish I could go to Venice! I’d be prepared to risk the stinkiness any day. I do believe it DID happen for you, you have Kiah’s beautiful photos to remind you that it did. Yes, I think you should take Barry there, once he’s recovered enough, before Venice really does sink into the sea!

    • Thank GOODNESS for our children! How DID we survive without them? I am laughing about when kids feel a need to explain to us elders. Tee hee! Smorgasbord! I sure hope they figure some way to hoist up Venice. I’m sure they will. You should return. MY crystal ball says you’ll be going…but I can’t quite read the year…lol…

  18. Lovely memories indeed! I did a lot of travelling to the Continent last year as part of my 60th birthday present. Didn’t visit Venice though would have loved it. I think photographs will always keep travel memories alive, no matter how distant in the past. Good wishes to Mr Bionic Knee.

    • Mr. Bionic Knee! Oh, I have to tell him that, Lynne. I just took a picture of him with his walker and may post it soon. I am glad you were able to travel to the “Continent”. I wonder if its just other fellow Europeans who call it the “Continent”? Glad you have lovely memories.

  19. When I was about 12 or 13, we spent a summer vacation in (the former) Yugoslavia and took a day cruise to Venice. LOVED it!!
    Thank you for the little flashback :-)

    • I imagine Venice would have been magical to a 12 or 13 year old. And Yugoslavia! You lucky girl, you. I could post six more blogs of photos to Europe, just for you, Michaela…

      • My grandfather on my mother’s side was born in Yugoslavia (lived in Austria most if his life,though) and we went there on vacation several times.
        Would love to see your Europe photos some day :-)

  20. I totally love the title of this post, Kathy. How fun this trip must have been!
    Hugs,
    Kathy

    • Kathy, do you ever feel that your titles “come” to you? That you’re just a conduit, and suddenly the titles arrive, complete, and you know the Universe is really the one writing this and we’re just the conduit pretending we’re the writers…?

  21. Memories are precious jewels in life’s potpourri of experiences.

    • My goodness! You have the soul (and words) of a writer, Linda. Potpourri! I smell your sentence.

      • Thank you, Kathy. The words come when I read your blog as well as some others. I could have stared at the page all day on my own blog and not thought of that sentence. I think it is the mental stimulation (or lack thereof) that brings forth words.

  22. I have never been to Venice; perhaps in my next life. And Slovakia – HGTV took me househunting there the other day and now I’d like to visit. I could go on, but instead I’ll simply say thank you for this preview of Venice. You are welcome to join me when I go there in my next life.

    • Where are you planning on being born your next life, Carol? We should Review our Thoughts about this matter before birth. Kiah went to Slovakia this summer! (I think she went to Slovakia. I shouldn’t type this sentence unless I knew 100%, should I?)

  23. Pictures tell a thousand stories – thank you, Kiah! I’ve never been to Italy or Venice but it sounds like a magical place to put on my wish list. So many places, so little time, so hard to choose between them all! The picture of you and Kiah is priceless…

    • Kiah likes all your compliments–she told me so last night on the phone, Barbara. It IS a magical place. How you would love it, Barbara! I do love that picture of mama-daughter. We look so happy, don’t we? I remember my Business Manager persona being very disturbed by the high cost of Euros to gondola.

  24. Venice looks lovely– I’ve never been. I think I’d be really captivated by the water though, and its integration into daily life. Just the other day we took a day trip to a little town near ours that had small canals filled with clear running water all along the sidewalks. I found it so magical. Maybe Michigan natives just love water!

    • Sarah, yes, you would be captivated by the water. And the ancient barges that transport folks everywhere! I love Europe for its canals…yes. Yes. Triple yes. We Michiganders are in love with water wherever we find it. :)

  25. It’s hard to imagine that anything exists where we are NOT standing at the moment. I’m in Portland, Oregon still — does Halifax exist ? Like that falling tree in the forest, rather than pondering about the sound, is it there ? I know it is really, but … I’m not there.

    As I flew over the U.S. after bonking from Halifax to Toronto, I noticed on the seat-back map that I was flying over upper Michigan, and looked for familiar names from yours and Gerry’s blogs. Found Traverse City and thought I was near the area. Should have parachuted out and come for coffee. Do you have decaf ?

    Say “hi” to ol’ “Bionic knees” for me. I think Lynne has come up with a good nicname there.

    • You know, Sybil, I relate to your entirely. Please don’t tell them this, but on some of my trips I have in the past–certainly not now–tee hee–almost forgotten that they exist at all! Isn’t that awful? Let alone places. You know they still exist, but you’re so preoccupied in your new place. Gerry and I are about six to seven hours apart. She’s down by Traverse City but I am up to the west and north. You should have parachuted, but not in the middle. You would have ended up in Lake Michigan.

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