September 16, 2014

Lately...

Lately I've been....
Munching.. not much of anything. The husband was gone all of last week and is gone again this week so I haven't done much cooking. I also contracted a nasty cold so I don't have much of an appetite. I am hoping to get back on the dinner train next week. 

Sipping.. coffee. In a weird turn of events, I've started drinking (and loving) coffee these days. I had tea this morning but I'm thinking I'm going to continue on the coffee train as well. 

Reading... Full Catastrophe Living. It's a super crunchy book about being mindful and I am really enjoying it. I read several books over the summer and one of them was The End of Your Life Book Club and the author referenced this book a lot so I was intrigued and bought it. I had to buy a used copy off of Amazon but it seems there is an updated version being released on September 24th. Pick it up if you're like me and want to be practice being more mindful about life. 


Listening to.. The First Lady of Song, Ella Fitzgerald on Pandora. I am obsessed with Sam Cooke's Nothing Can Ever Change this Love

Looking forward to... a few things this week! Going to try out a new fitness class tomorrow night, dinner with a some girlfriends on Wednesday, and heading to the outlets with my mom and sister on Saturday! 

Hoping.. to make some changes in a few areas of my life soon! Feeling a little like I'm in a rut in a few areas of my life and need to make some changes. 

Thinking.. about fall and how fast the time goes! It was cold outside this morning. I don't know if I am ready for all of this. 

Wanting... money to grow on trees. Ha. 

September 10, 2014

Venice, Italy {3}

     On our third and final day in Venice, we hit up the sightseeing. We started the morning with a bright and early vaporetto ride to Doge's Palace for the Secret Itineraries tour. Generally on our trips, G and I like to have a balance of doing our own thing and guided tours that either provide knowledge or adventure, depending on where we are vacationing. The Secret Itineraries tour of the Doge's Palace provided us with tons of insight into the Venetian judicial system and included tours and information on: Casanova's cell, Bridge of Sighs, the Three Seats of the Magistrate, the Doge's apartment, and the archival room of the Grand Chancellor! That's just a few of the things that were touched on during this tour. If you are interested in learning more about the extensive judicial history of Venice, I would definitely recommend this tour. We both really enjoyed it. 



The Archival Room of the Grand Chancellor

View from the 2nd floor of the Doge's Palace
View from the Bridge of Sighs 
The ceiling of The Golden Staircase which lead to the Doge's Apartment 

      Immediately following the Secret Itineraries, we had a private tour set up of St. Mark's Basilica. First, if you are visiting Venice in the summer, I highly, highly suggest booking a tour for St. Mark's. The line was incredibly long and it was very hot outside. I don't think G would have made it inside if we had to wait in line. I also recommend the private tour because it was super informative and we were taken to areas of the cathedral that were not open to the general public. Since we were there on a weekday, it was nice because our tour was specifically set up during the time the lights are on in St. Mark's (typically from 11;30-12:30).
     This cathedral is so visually stunning, it's unreal. I don't know how else to describe it except to say it is basically covered in gold and is sometimes referred to as the Church of Gold. The area that we got to see on our own depicted (among others) stories of Christ, St. John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist, and obviously, St. Mark. The cathedral itself houses the tombs of both St. Mark and Jacopo Sansovino, the sculptor and architect who built the Golden Staircase and contributed to many of the buildings around the Piazza San Marco. Unfortunately, you can't take pictures inside St. Mark's and there was a lot of construction work on the outside of the church itself so I didn't really get any good shots of the structure.
This is not St. Mark's Basilica but the winged lion pictured is the symbol of St. Mark

     After our busy morning, we were starving and I was so pumped when, after a little while of wandering we stumbled upon Antico Forno! Jillian wrote rave reviews about it so I was happy that we happened upon it, plus I was definitely ready for a pizza lunch! I absolutely loved the slice of pizza I had but G mis-ordered and ended up with tuna fish pizza! I thought it was pretty funny. However he was not amused and went back for a another plain cheese slice (we shared a piece prior). 



     After my requisite afternoon nap back at the hotel, we headed out to a little square to watch the Italy v. Costa Rica World Cup game. To be honest, we were expecting a little more fanfare but it was fun nonetheless!



     We ended the evening with a gondola ride and it was truly one of the highlights of our entire trip, at least it was for me, ha! I knew it was something that I really wanted to do and would regret not doing, but if you wanted to save some scratch, a ride in the front seat of a vaporetto is also pretty amazing! Gondola rides are very expensive but totally worth it, in my opinion! I would definitely recommend doing the gondola ride in the evening, it was so beautiful and serene and also, not as hot! 





     Our last dinner in Venice that night was actually kind of horrendous, but it overlooked the canal and I was already feeling sentimental about leaving Venice behind so I didn't mind the terrible food too much. The wine made up for it anyhow! We also had our first gelato of the trip on our last night in Venice and it was so good. I had pistachio and G had tiramisu. I truly loved Venice and hope I get to return one day. If you are planning a trip to Italy, do not miss Venice!