Tag Archives: DiVoran

Our Trip to Italy-Part 5

3 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Bill

Wednesday DiVoran woke up with a bad cold, so she stayed at the apartment to rest while I checked out the bus and train routes into Venice from Mogliano Veneto.  I lucked out and met an Italian student on the bus who spoke enough English to help me with the transfer from the bus to the right train to get me into the Venice train station, and then which train and bus to catch to get back to the Mogliano Veneto station.

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I had a snack at a small caffe on the Grand Canal and then checked out some of the smaller shops, staying close to the canal, as it is easy to get lost in the tangle of narrow streets and waterways in Venice.  I bought DiVoran a small glass aquarium in hopes that it would cheer her up some.  The trip back to the apartment was uneventful, and we ate roast pig leftovers, with artichokes and fresh Italian bread that evening at the apartment.

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On Thursday, Divoran was still not feeling up to par, so she stayed at the apartment again, and I went to work with Marcia so I could see where she worked and to get a tour of the new Disney cruise ship “Wonder” in its final stages of completion.  The Wonder was built at the celebrated Fincantieri shipyards, displaces 83,000 tons, is 964 feet long and 106 feet wide, and features 11 massive decks which can accommodate 2700 passengers along with 960 cast and crew members.  I’m always amazed at how these giant ships are put together one piece at a time.

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Then at 4:00 in the afternoon, Marcia took me to the dentist.  The morning before, at breakfast, I broke one of my top front crowns in half, and it looked terrible, and had sharp edges.  Just by chance we had met the lady, Marcia’s dentist friend, at the pig roast a few nights before, and now she had made arrangements for me to get my crown repaired.  Some people might like to call this a coincidence, but think it’s just another example of how God is watching over us, were ever we find ourselves in this world.

Well, Marcia got lost looking for the dentist office, but the dentist stayed open to wait for us.  She did a great repair job on my crown, and then wouldn’t take any pay for the work, no matter how hard I tried.  Just try to find that kind of hospitality anywhere in the U.S.

Friday, DiVoran and I tested my bus/train memory to get into Venice for some shopping, a quick lunch, and then rode the train back to Mogliano Veneto.  That wore DiVoran out, so that night, I went with Marcia, Stephano, Roberta and five Disney cast members to the Di Marcone Ristorante (a special family owned restaurant) for a grilled chicken dinner.  They are only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and only cater to large groups.  You have to reserve your table and they expect you to stay the entire evening.  The food and the company were great, but we were there from 8:00 PM until after 12:00 Midnight

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The next day we drove with Marcia and Erika to Verona, to see the sights of that famous city, where it is alleged the balcony is, on which Juliet stood when Romeo wooed her from the courtyard below, in Shakespere’s famous play of the early 1500’s.  For a few Lira, lovers can write their names on the wall under that famous balcony, and of course we did.

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One of the most interesting things we saw in Verona was all the trash dumpsters on the streets were painted by the local school children and are very bright and cheery.  It really brightened up the streets and some of them even made us laugh.

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—–To Be Continued—–

 

Our Trip to Italy Part 2

13 Mar

                                                                                                                                                                Bill Lites

 

After breakfast at the Flut Bar the next morning, we took the city tram to see Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco of the Last Supper at the Santa Maria delle Grazie.  They were still working on the five-year restoration of the painting, and were meticulously removing centuries of soot and grime.   DiVoran really enjoyed finding out how the fresco had originally been painted, and now seeing how the restoration process worked in detail.

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Then it was on to explore the many shops in the beautiful indoor Gallera Vittorio Emenuele Mall, and to have lunch at the American Bar Ristorante there.  This is where we first witnessed “The Italian Coffee Break.”  It seems that the Italian men would come into their favorite ristorante in twos and threes, dressed in their business suits, overcoats and fedoras, walk up to the espresso bar, and order their coffee.  It came in tiny cups, into which they would stir in sugar and then throw the entire cup down their throats in one gulp, pay and be gone before we knew what was happening.  We figured they were on their way home for their afternoon “sonnellino” (nap).

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Our Kodak moment for the day was one that DiVoran saw and wished we had a video camera to capture the entire scene.   It was of a young woman with her two small daughters in the Duomo.  DiVoran said all three wore wool coats like she had worn in the 40’s.  The beautiful mother helped the little girls select candles and light them.  The littlest one, who couldn’t have been more than three, started to sing “Happy Birthday” in Italian, but her mother gently hushed her.  All the while, the candle flames lit their small faces and made their large brown eyes glow with excitement and wonderment.

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We headed for Venice the next morning with a 3-hour train ride on one of Italy’s 1st class Europe Rail  high-speed trains through the country side from Milan.  Marcia picked us up at the train station in Venice and showed us some of the main attractions of Venice including the San Giovanni E San Padio, Santa Maria Glorosa Dei Frari and Scuala Di San Rocco churches.

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We had lunch at the Bora Bora Ristorante with Marsha, and two of her fellow Disney cast members.  After lunch we strolled along the Grand Canal to the famous Rialto Bridge, where we shopped the many shops located within the bridge.

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Continuing on with our mini-tour, next we visited the beautiful St. Mark’s Basilica, known for its unique Italian Gothic and Byzantine architecture.  This Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark is the church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, and was completed in 1071 AD.  This famous structure is rumored to house the relics of St. Mark the Evangelist, which were stolen from their original resting place in Alexandria, Egypt by Venetian merchants, and brought to Venice in 828 AD.  The adventure is depicted in the 13th-century mosaic above the door farthest on the left of the front entrance of the Basilica.  What a magnificent experience that was, with the many and varied mosaic creations throughout the entire edifice.

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After leaving St. Mark’s we caught a water-bus for a quick tour of the Grand Canal, on the way back to the train station and Marcia’s car.  From there, it was a short 18,5 km drive to Marsha’s apartment, on the outskirts of Mogliano Veneto, met her landlords and to finish the day with a fabulous Italian dinner.  After that, we were ready for bed, and what a bed it was.  But, you will have to wait for Part 3 to find out what I mean, so don’t go too far away.

—–To Be Continued—–

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