Venice and the Veneto

As we approached Venice by plane, I could see the islands spread out in the blue lagoon.  There was a fog that was just dissipating and the plane looked as if it was going to land right in the water.  After collecting our bags, we had the choice of taking a the public water bus which chugs along at walking pace, or to take a private water taxi from the docks.  Hmmm….

Now lets take a pause here for a moment.  In my traditional method of travel, I would try to save every penny possible, opting for cramming myself onto the public bus, even if it meant standing up for an hour and 20 minutes.  But new me is all about the water taxi.  New me is about setting a budget for a trip and sticking to it, not just going on a trip and trying not to spend any money, that doesn’t even make sense.

So you’ll know by now we opted for the private taxi.  Woo Hoo!watertaxi

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Whizzing away from Marco Polo Airport

On our first full day in Venice, we went to a fabulous restaurant down an alley (see photo gallery) and it’s where I discovered Prosecco was invented in Venice.  We also visited the Peggy Gugenheim museum, which was a must-see and wandered for lots of hours.

Our second day in venice we ventured to the far off island of Burano, which is a rainbow island of world famous risotto and lace.

Venice is not one of those places you can just show up and eat good food.  Some research is required as Venice is so touristy it has been compared to Disneyland.  Now, this was not my experience, but we had flagged all of the good food and bar stops to avoid eating reheated rubbish.  Other Recommendations:

The oldest paper store in Italy:

paper store

Have a tiny glass of wine and the local tapas called cicheti.

Drink an Aperol Spritz, it was invented here.

The theme of our trip was walk, drink, eat, repeat.  The only bad part about Venice was leaving.  When can I go back?

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🌈  Steph

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24 Hours in Paris

 

16:30 GMT:  Get on Eurostar to Paris

20:00 CET:  Arrive in Paris Nord and travel to Marais

21:00 CET:  Dinner at Le Petit Fer au Cheval with old friends

00:00 CET:  Travel to Franklin Roosevelt and gather midnight picnic items

00:15 CET:  Sneak into office building and climb to the roof overlooking Eiffel Tower

01:00 CET:  See light show on Eiffel Tower (last one of the night)

01:30 CET:  travel to Ibis and go to sleep by 2am

08:00 CET:  Wake up!  Get dressed!

09:00 CET:  Breakfast on the Champs Elysées

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Sign in front of Christian Dior

10:00 CET:  Slowly make way from Champs Elysees to Le Jardin des Plantes along the Seine

11:00 CET:  Explore garden and slowly make way to the Latin Quarter stopping at record                             shops and the Roman Coliseum along the way

13:00 CET: Lunch followed by a trip to the BonsBons shop

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Le BonBon au Palais

16:00 CET: Make way to Jardin du Luxembourg and share a bottle of Rose among friends

18:00 CET:  Wander through the park and catch some sun

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Boating Lake at Jardin du Luxembourg

19:30 CET:  get back to Gare du Nord to catch the 20:15 train back to London!

🌈 Steph

 

 

 

Winter Retreat 2016

 

 

Back in September I had this premonition that I would want to be alone for a few days as soon as school let out for the winter break.  I made a reservation at a retreat center and timed it perfectly so I could leave directly from school on December 16th, get on a train, and head straight to the countryside for a weekend of alone time.

The retreat center is called Witherdens Hall and is located about 20 minutes from Canterbury near a small village called Wingham.  I started out the day with a reflexology appointment, that I was able to have right at the retreat center!  (Staying in pajamas until noon anyone?) I’ve never had a reflexology appointment, but it was so amazing and one of the most relaxing experiences ever.  After that, I spent the sunny day walking from village to village, bird watching, and avoiding the shots from the pheasant hunters.  I wrote and read a ton and did about four hours of yoga over the course of the weekend.  I made my own meals in the fully equipped kitchen and completely unplugged.

I have to admit, it was a bit scary.  I think we all think to ourselves that having all of that time alone would be nice, but it is quite tempting with the first ping of loneliness to turn on the TV, text someone, or check Facebook.  What’s really amazing is if you don’t answer that loneliness right away, great creativity can emerge.

I highly recommend a winter retreat for everyone.  You can even do it from your own home (which is what I usually do). You can read a suggestion for a winter retreat, as well as retreats for other seasons in Sara Avant Stover’s The Way of the Happy Woman.  I personally used some of the suggestions, but tried not to set a schedule and just go with the flow.

Burgh Island

If you’ve never seen Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode of Evil Under the Sun, quick!  Go watch it and then come back.

Ok, recognize it?  It was Friday night and Andrew called me up and asked if I wanted to come with him to his gig on Burgh Island.  Apparently, one couple had cancelled and we would be able to stay in the Hotel for free.  Since I know what Burgh Island is, I freaked out and immediately packed my bags.

 

We were there less than 24 hours and it was fun to be behind the scenes, posing as a tech specialist, taking a bath in the enormous clawfoot tub, having a cocktail in the gorgeous bar, and walking around the craggly island.