I often find myself quite pleased with the simple pleasures in life. And today I found I am rather fond of Bacio chocolates. Made my Nestle chocolate, these are the Italian version of Hershey’s kisses! Bacio in Italian means “kiss”. HOWEVER, I believe they are much better than Hershey’s! Covered in a silver aluminum with little blue stars all over the wrapper, these small chocolates hold a piece of paper inside. The paper contains a quote or saying inscribed on it in 5 different languages. It is basically a chocolate fortune cookie! I ate two and mine said: “Doubt thou the stars are fire…But never doubt my love” (W. Shakespeare) and the second said: “Never close your lips to one to whom you have opened your heart” (Anonymous). I soon remembered that these small chocolates are at Monte Carlo in Burbank! Needless to say, I will be purchasing these regularly from now on because they are fun and delicious!
Our last destination before leaving our tour group and flying solo as a family is Venice! We arrived to our Hotel this morning, which is actually the Gritti Palace and like all of our hotels it is gorgeous. Extremely crowded and clustered today due to tour groups and cruise ships, Venice consists of 118 islands and 400 bridges (or so our guide said). No cars are used- only boats or should I say- water taxis! This place is amazing, just as I remember it! Slightly more developed and chaotic, Venice has become even more crazed with tourists and shops. The alley ways are tight and small leaving no personal space whatsoever. My personal bubble was definitely disturbed several times today. Regardless of the crowds we made our way to St. Mark’s Church and Square where there is a disguisting amount of pigeons and pigeon poop. Yet, people stand in stupidly feeding them and waiting for them to land on one of their limbs. It baffles me because people find this fun and entertaining… All I can think of is parasites and bird flu and disease and ughhhh…. GROSS. However, St. Mark’s is absolutely unlike any other church you’ll see in Europe and I can say this with confidence because it has a Middle Eastern look and décor to it. The floor to halfway up the wall is covered in marble and where the marble ceases, gold (true gold) and colored tiny tiles create the ceiling and pictures or designs of all sorts… completely unique and so much gold… DAMN I wish I could have taken pictures (but we weren’t allowed although a grip of people pretended to not understand the signs with a crossed out camera and took pictures anyway- the picture seems universally comprehensive but perhaps they were blind?!). Our tour later included the Palace of the Doges, which of course allowed no pictures… only exteriorly. Before I say anything else, I don’t want you to the Italians restrict pictures like Nazi’s. They have good reason. You see, pictures- paintings frescas especially, are harmed by light (camera flashes) especially being extremely OLD and delicate. The second reason they forbid pictures is the obvious- copyright. If people take pictures, they usually have to pay $ in order to give credit where credit is due (only in designated churches). Those allowed to photograph are writers and they have paid fines while also agree to stating who painted it, when, where and why…the nitty gritty details. The third reason they don’t allow pictures in my opinion is to force you to want a postcard, painting, pictures, etc. from their souvenir shop for $. I know at this point your thinking…a church has a gift shop? The answer is YES. Italians and/or the Catholic church will do anything for $$$ and let’s face it these places draw in people by the thousands…
Im off to bed now, but tomorrow we have a whole day on our own as it is our last day on the tour. Tuesday we are on to Rome.
Oh and Happy Birthday Grandma- la nonna di cumpleanno felice- la manto e l’amore