Venice! Rome! Nice! Switzerland!

Gondola Heaven--me & my daughter, 2007

Black and white Venice

I just sat down to write a blog about our stroll by the Silver River last night.  Honest.  To show you photos from the woods.  Photos of sparkling sunlight on water, deer jaw bones, and other Exciting Things.


You know how it is.  You get caught down Memory Lane.  One minute you’re in the present and the next minute you’ve slipped into looking in the 50th birthday photo album your son made for you a couple of years ago.  And then you notice the photos from the trip to Europe in 2007 that you & your daughter made.  And then you’re lost in the past.


Rome Fountain (ummm, Kiah, remind me! Where were we?)Belated answer: Trevi Fountain in Rome.

So, dear reader, I shall drag you back to 2007 for a trip into the Past.  It happened in May of that fair year.  My daughter, Kiah, had just graduated from Michigan State University.  I hadn’t been to Europe since…since younger than her age.  Since 1975 when an eighteen-year old exchange student living with a family in Switzerland.

I really wanted to return.  And somehow…somehow… it happened.  The Universe agreed to the desire by supplying some extra cash.  And off Kiah and I went for ten days of exploring Italy, Switzerland and southern France.

Swindler scams unsuspecting tourists

All of these photos were taken by Kiah.  With the exception of the gondola photo and the photo up above.  I didn’t even know how to use a camera three years ago!  And, furthermore, I wouldn’t have wasted “precious time” snapping photos in place of “living real life“.  Funny, how life changes one’s perspective… Now you couldn’t pry the camera from my fingers, LOL.

We were scammed big time in the above photo.  See that nice-looking guy dressed in ancient gladiator clothing?  If you see him or his partner at the Colosseum, run in the other direction.  He asked if we wanted our picture taken with him. 

I thought, “Yes…guess so…wouldn’t this be nice to show the folks back home?”  without ever thinking that this was a scam to defraud innocent tourists.  His buddy snapped the photo and then they demanded ten euros.  Or was it five euros? 

I was flabbergasted, but imagined an international incident if we refused to pay.  Reluctantly, annoyed, I forked over the euros.  Bitched about it for the next nine days.  Well, mildly bitched about it, anyway.

But, you know what?  That photo became a focal point of our trip.  The Time we were Scammed.  We still talk about it today.  (I should have grabbed his sword and…)

The Colosseum in Black & White

We traveled around Europe mostly staying in cheap hostels and bed-and-breakfasts.  We had a great time.  Rome first.  We walked ten miles the first day.  My feet hurt for the rest of the trip.  We argued about who was the better navigator in unknown cities…and I lost big-time.  On the morning we left the hostel in Rome, headed for the train station, she went one way and I went another. 

“Come this way!” I insisted. 

She said, “If you go that way, you’ll go back to the Colosseum.”

I refused to budge.  She refused to budge.  Finally she said, “OK, see you later!” and headed off toward the train station.  I ran with my suitcase to catch up with her departing self.

And you know what?  She was right.  I was wrong.  She gained the title of Trip Navigator after that incident.

Me at the Topless Beach in Nice---not QUITE topless. Ha ha!

After Rome, we traveled to Venice.  Oh, how lovely is Venice!  Even though the city sinks into the sea more every year, it’s an awesome place.  We drank espresso in tiny cups and longed for our “real” cups of coffee back home (even though we really liked the espresso.  I just wanted more.)  We wandered through many back streets, always following the signs which directed us “Per Rialto”.  We lingered on the Rialto Bridge and admired the river. 

The following Christmas my brother-in-law decided we might like a photo of Venice.  He randomly selected a photo from the Rialto Bridge.  The exact same view Kiah and I admired the previous May!

Later we stayed in Basel, Switzerland, with my Swiss “sister” Suzanne and her mom and dad.  It was great to see Suzanne after many years.  Although she had visited us in the States several times. 

What a trip down Memory Lane!

Night from Hell. Rome Airport. May, 2007. Last night in Europe.

We took the train to southern France and bathed in the Mediterranean.  We played cribbage on a topless beach.  (Hey, am I the only person in the Universe who goes to a topless beach and plays cribbage?) 

Then we wound our way back to Florence and finally to Rome.  We endured a “Night from Hell” in the Rome airport in which I did not sleep a wink and prayed for safety.  You can tell from the above photo that it was a challenging night.

But why are the most challenging and unusual times so often the ones we remember? 

Hope you enjoyed this detour from your Regularly Scheduled Blog.  🙂

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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39 Responses to Venice! Rome! Nice! Switzerland!

  1. jeffstroud says:

    hmm? where do we go with this? Thank you for sharing your journal of your experience. I think you may wish to go again, you seem to be a different person now!

    I think the challenge is to see how we respond, how we grow, as they say not pain no gain!

    I am Love, Jeff

    Love the B&W of the Colosseum !

    • Kathy says:

      Jeff, we never stop changing and growing do we? Some part of us seems to think we’re always going to be the same, but we never are… And I have always loved Kiah’s photos! She was a big inspiration for me to start taking pictures.

  2. Barbara says:

    What wonderful memories of shared adventures with your daughter you have to cherish. It’s a beautiful thing to see a mother and daughter as close as you and Kiah. You are truly blessed.

    • Kathy says:

      We do have a special bond, Barbara. (After we got through the teenage years…ha ha…no, I didn’t say that!) I am blessed indeed.

      • Cindy Lou says:

        Ha! Yes, you did say it…..Jen and I have both commented on how neat it is that you and Kiah are so close considering those “teen years” you speak of! :} Who’d a-thunk it, hey?

  3. elisa says:

    i just had the trip from i dunno where yet! i drove nearly to Pittsburgh to take E to visit the second college to offer a scholarship, some roads were entirely CLOSED 🙂
    AND we all know how map and directionally challenged I am, add that to anxiety about sensitivity and a room

    I AM HERE, detours and all and the room worked out too! I CAN STILL TRAVEL AND strange cars stopped to ask us if we wished help, people smiled, and gave me southern pa type directions!!! (turn left at the sheetz and so on! In the morning we visit the college! Thanks for sharing travel things, I am glad I was brave.

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Elisa, you had me smiling and so overjoyed that you made it on your trip! Way to go, girlfriend! With your challenges, you were able to overcome! I salute your bravery!!

  4. pearlz says:

    Great idea to stroll memory lane with photographs, and havent you come a long way in three years with your photography! All the best Kathy. I love detours!

    • Kathy says:

      Thanks for enjoying the trip and the detours! smile… Actually, June, I didn’t start taking pictures until about 1 1/2 years ago. Have only started adjusting the camera settings in the last couple months.

  5. Kathy – THANK YOU for this wonderful gift. I love it! And yes, you should have taken his sword and …

    Laurie Buchanan

  6. Kimberly Grady says:

    This was a wonderful end to my long drive to Indiana!
    This gives me ideas for when my daughter graduates…and also an idea for a cribbage player! I love cribbage. It was very big with my paternal grandmother.I used to go to her house most days after school.

    Memory Lane is great with great times.


    • Kathy says:

      Kim, hope you enjoyed your drive to Indiana. Kiah and I actually played cribbage throughout Europe. I was a cribbage newby then. Actually still feel like a cribbage newby. YES, travel with your daughter! You will make memories for a lifetime…

  7. Snoopykg1 says:

    Well, I am on hotel Internet and my firsst two messages went into outer space somewhere! Here goes again.
    Thanks for taking me on a trip with you to these great places. It is especailly powerfull with a narrative description to go with it.
    Look out, you gave me some ideas for my daughter and myself two years from now! My dream is to go to the Czech Republic.

    If we would ever get together, I play a mean hand of cribbage. It is my favorite game, my grandmother taught me ever day after school at her house.

    Take Care

    • Kathy says:

      Kim, here is one of your comments that disappeared. I found it (or maybe the other one) in my spam. Since it obviously wasn’t spam…and since you mentioned the Czech Republic…I put both your comments in. Hope you really do get to go!

  8. Gerry says:

    See, what we need to really make tourism take off in Michigan is gondolas. And the Cowboy and Miss Sadie dressed up as Voyageurs to scam people for ten bucks. Dunno about the topless beaches, though. My top has headed south and is more middle-ish these days. This bears looking into.

    • Kathy says:

      Gerry, only you would come up with this idea! Laughing! Have you asked the Cowboy and Miss Sadie if they would be willing to dress up….? As for topless beaches in Michigan–NO! We would all freeze.

  9. Reggie says:

    When I read the heading of today’s post, I just *knew* I was in for a magical treat – and indeed, so I was! What an exciting trip you had with your daughter – and how awesome that you could go travelling *together*! I so wish I could go to Europe with my mom like this. So inspirational, Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      Reggie, I had such fun writing this post the other night. Felt surges of energy just remembering and doing something different… If your mom is still able, you guys should definitely do a European trip! It’s so different from traveling with a husband. (And he’s suddenly decided he wants to go to Europe one of these days…so perhaps we shall!)

  10. Dawn says:

    I had such a good time reading this and looking at the photos! Husband and I were in Italy for my 50th birthday in 2006. Your blog brought back so many good memories! Glad you had that time with your daughter. Those are special times, arguments or not! Husband and I had the same sort of directional argument in Rome late one night, standing under a light pole with a map that had TEENY print on it…makes me laugh now, not so much then!

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, how exciting that you were able to celebrate your 50th in Italy. Glad this blog brought back memories…even the kind of memories about arguing which way to go! 🙂

  11. Cindy Lou says:

    Thanx for the detour! One can always find specialness and adventure on detours and this was no exception….can you imagine how many pictures you’d have if you went back now? Crazy!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy Lou, this is so odd. All day yesterday I kept thinking, “Where was Cindy today? How come she didn’t comment?” (Not that you have to comment every day!) Somehow must have missed seeing this come in. Ohmygoodness there would be zillions of photos, you are right about that!

  12. flandrumhill says:

    Kathy, I think we remember these challenging times because a certain primitive part of our brain, the amygdala, wakes up when we’re under extreme stress. It’s closely linked to our long term memory. Maybe it’s part of our survival instinct, so that if ever we come across similar situations again ie., gladiators eager to pose for photos, we’re ready at once to be on the alert.

  13. Okay…where’s the northern woods? Who is that guy dressed up like a Roman gladiator? 🙂 Ah there is nothing wrong with looking back as long as we don’t live in the past. I see you compared yourself to then and now a few times. It’s good to see where we’ve been to appreciate even more where we are in the present.

    Thank you for a must enjoyable slideshow of your trip. My family hated those back in the day. Now, they love the ones I put on my HDTV. Go figure?

    • Kathy says:

      Scott, you are so right. It is time to get back–fully–in the northern woods. (I think I still had trips on the brain…) And no, couldn’t be accused of living in the past! I kinda forget the past exsits way too often…

      And go figure about why the family hates it back in the day and now they love it. But it’s a good thing you took those photos! And I am eternally grateful to Kiah for taking so many, too…

  14. Cheyenne Steele says:

    Kathy! My heart truly feels like I have experienced this trip! I want more!!!! …..Your way of taking us on journeys is a true gift! – You and your daughter are beautiful!

    you should have grabbed the sword!!!! So funny! I can see it now!

    I hope one day to have made this vacation, this trip! But if not…..I will have at least tasted it through you!

    Thank you dearly, Kathy!
    with much love!

    • Kathy says:

      Cheyenne, you can come along virtually on ALL my trips! Hop on board, I’m sure the train or plane or bus or car will be leaving again soon. LOL! (It’s fun having invisible passengers…)

  15. Colleen Lloyd says:

    Hi Kathy, I just love your travel stories!! And agree wholeheartedly with Cheyenne, the way you share your journeys with us is a true gift. And yes, travelling with women, family or otherwise, can be a very different experience from travelling with husbands. Not necessarily better (or not) just different… I’m trying to not get myself into trouble here. There is a certain sense of freedom and a lightness of spirit that opens the door for the unexpected and the unplanned and maybe it’s best to leave it at that.
    Have a most wonderful day!

    And you and your daughter look like sisters!!

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen…laughing…I know what you mean! It’s so different traveling with different travellers. Actually, Barry has now decided he wants to go on a trip to Europe with me sometime, so then I’ll get to experience Europe with a spouse too. You think Kiah and I look like sisters? As the older of the two, I am delighted with that!!

  16. Colleen Lloyd says:

    Hi again, couldn’t resist one more comment. I’m slowly reading your daily blogs and finding so many interesting things that I would have liked to ask/talk with you about. Ah, well…the price, I guess, for coming late! But reading about your travel adventures with your daughter fit so beautifully with what you said last May 4 (which I happened to just read). “What a lovely, expansive huge world opens up when we’re not seeking outcomes”. How wonderfully true seems to be!

    • Kathy says:

      Colleen, I am truly amazed that you are reading the outdoor blog. Wow… that blows me away. You can ask ANY questions on the outdoor blog under comments and I will try to answer them. (All the comments still come into my email…doesn’t matter if they’re old or not…they’re still pertinent. So ask away!)

  17. giiid says:

    Thank you for telling about your trip, this was interesting to read about. I think the swindler had disappeared, if you had called for the police,- but who likes to start a discussion with a gladiator…the photo is very good though. The gondola photo is very nice too.

  18. Indeed I enjoyed your journey through Italy, France and Switzerland ! Now I understand how you travelled through my place (Valais, Alps) on your way from Italy to Basel. Those are fun photos too, thanks a lot for this pleasant detour and personal comments.

    • Kathy says:

      Isabelle, I would have loved to include some of the photos of Switzerland, but there wasn’t room! The place where you live looked stunning from the train. It would be so fun to visit there…you are very lucky, indeed.

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