Pranzo a venezia…

What an incredible day! If you follow me on any form of social media you will know that I went off for an adventure on Wednesday, I’m sure you’re bored stiff by my photo bombardment.

Sorry not sorry though, the day was so exciting it needed to be shared. It may even inspire. You never know.

Let me lay the foundations of how this adventure began.

I, like most people on the planet, have always wanted to go to Venice, to feel, hear and absorb this fascinating city.

Let me introduce the protagonist in this tale…Chris Doré! Amazing father, grandfather and the most incredible husband a woman could wish for in every way apart from one! If he gets an idea into his head he’s immovable.

Be it sand…although, that said he will now begrudgingly attend a beach but it has to have loungers, or a cabana and a plentiful supply of 0.0 larger.

But there are certain places in the world he refuses point blank considering visiting…I mean it’s not like I’m asking to follow in my father’s footsteps fully, yes we did in India a bit but I’m hardly going to push for us to visit my dad’s other youthful travel routes through Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran.

Much as I wished we lived in a world where we could do that like my dad did in the 1960’s.

Anyway one of the places I’ve always wanted to go was Venice, I’d say it was on the wish list of most, but not for Mr.D, who knows why? No, really I’m actually asking! Anyone know why?

Well this posed a problem, could I live the rest of my life and not see Venice? No, I really don’t think I could. Am I a strong independent woman who’s capable of going by herself? No, absolutely not! Hahahahaha

And here’s where my son Ben’s friend Leonie comes in, she’s quite the adventurer really, she’s done quite a few “day trips”, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and as of Wednesday Venice 3 times!

She went a few weeks ago and I was so envious I asked if she’d like to go again and she said she would.

So there you have it, simple as that. We booked our flights £29 return!! Return I tell you!! I can’t even get from my local town to London on the train for that! And I only live 50 minutes away from London!

Although Chris didn’t want to physically go to Venice, love his heart he got up at 3.45am to drop us off at the airport and he did fund my going, so I’ll forgive him his weird travel ban peccadillo and rejoice in the fact that he assisted my adventure.

We left Wednesday morning on the 6.20am flight to Venice, returning on the same day at 9.20pm.

I can assure you, you can fit a whole lot of Venice in a day if a day is all you have.

We saw the big sights and sites, the buildings, the bridges, the canals, we went on a gondola ride, we had drinks in a lovely restaurant in St.Marks Square, we had (Leonie had, as I don’t drink, so I forced her to have it for me) Bellinis in Harry’s bar, we ate pizza in a gorgeous little restaurant down a quaint side street. We ate gelato as we meandered through the streets and alleyways. It was the most incredible adventure and the most amazing day.

(*Taken from Wikipedia ;

Harry's Bar was opened in 1931 by bartender Giuseppe Cipriani. According to the company history, Harry Pickering—a rich, young Bostonian had been frequenting Hotel Europa in Venice, where Giuseppe Cipriani was a bartender. When Pickering suddenly stopped coming to the hotel bar, Cipriani asked him why.  When Pickering explained that he was broke because his family found out his drinking habits and cut him off financially, Cipriani lent him 10,000 lire (about $500 US [$7,839 in 2015 dollars]). Two years later, Pickering returned to the hotel bar, ordered a drink, and gave Cipriani 50,000 lire in return. "Mr. Cipriani, thank you," he said, according to the Cipriani website. “Here's the money. And to show you my appreciation, here's 40,000 more, enough to open a bar. We will call it Harry's Bar.").

Harry’s bar, is the birth place of the Bellini, I personally have never had one but I love the rich and magical history of them.

Did I have reservations and hesitations on my part before booking this trip? Hell yes!!

My worries covered everything, literally everything. Firstly I have a fear of flying….yes, hard to believe isn’t it, but yes, I’m a very nervous flier. At one point I hadn’t flown for 8 years I was so phobic of it, but weirdly my son and I being diagnosed with cancer for the most part cured my fear of flying.

But on this occasion I had other worries too, from - can I get up at 3.15am to get ready to go? - To where will I change my bag in an emergency and quite importantly do I have the stamina for a full on day out?

Well insomnia was an actual blessing as I woke up naturally at 6 minutes past 3, one of my usual waking hours. So getting up was an absolute breeze. So thank you insomnia, Wednesday I was actually grateful to you.

And as it happens although my bag was very full. It didn’t need changing.

I had hoped to prep for the day out by eating 3 boiled eggs the day before we went, usually that clogs me up lovely. But my bowels weren’t playing ball and I had more output than I usually have! Typical! Hahahahaha

It was a drag having such a heavy bag attached but it was fine.

By the evening waiting to get back on the plane I was exhausted, my hernia was huge and painful, my bag was heavy and I have the worst case of chubby thigh rub you’ve probably ever seen, the pain is horrific. But even with all that I’d go back for the day tomorrow, I need to rest today but I’d definitely go back tomorrow! Hahahahaha

It was beyond amazing, and far exceeded expectation. Venice is spectacular. It’s magical.

A lot of people have asked me if it smells, the answer is, a few bits did, but no more so than I have smelt in parts of London or any city come to that. It certainly doesn’t stink. Shame really, I had planned to mask any potential bag smells by blaming it on the drains! ;)

The only slightly hairy moment we had was when we were heading back to the bus station, we got lost, and although Leonie has been before she didn’t recognise anything.

Venice is not only made up of canals and 400 bridges but also a myriad of tiny alleyways. All of which look pretty darn similar to the untrained eye. I was getting a bit nervous as they were very tiny and uninhabited. If it had been dark I would have literally needed my bag that’s for sure! It being daylight did nothing to allay my fears to be honest.

We bumped into a man and his children and felt he was a safe bet to ask for help from.

So I tried my best pigeon Italian. “Excusi, Rialto Bridge??”

He smiled this huge smile and laughed and said in a bold American accent “Now why on earth would you think I could help, I’m from South Carolina and we’ve only been here an hour! Hahahahaha hahahahaha”

We all laughed and got chatting, he asked us how long we’re staying in Venice for we said we just came for lunch...he nearly fell over with shock.

“You came for the day!!!?”

I explained we flew out of London Stansted this morning flight and flying back home at 9.20. He was blown away by the wonder of it all.

He turned to his sons and said “kids we gotta move to Europe!!”

We are very lucky, we have so many incredible places to visit right on our doorstep, right under our noses if we chose to go out and see them.

Of course, our chat with him and the kids didn’t solve our being lost conundrum, so on we went in search of the Rialto Bridge, our pinpoint for being able to weave our way back to the bus station.

If you’re wondering why we didn’t use our phones maps to get us out…we were, but Girl Scouts we ain’t!! Hahahahaha

We did eventually find our bridge and actually things became more recognisable from there on in.

We had so much fun, I have to be totally honest I was buzzing, I felt so alive!

We met some lovely people, we ate delicious food, we had great drinks (well Leonie wasn’t impressed with my choices but camomile tea is a perfectly lovely drink…even if it’s no Bellini in the home of Bellinis!).

Simply sitting at the cafe in St.Marks square watching the world go by was heaven.

My outfit for the day was an absolute cracker! I saw it on Georgia Toffolo (Toff) from Made in Chelsea’s Instagram page while I was on holiday in Spain on Sunday.

I got straight on line and ordered it immediately. Firstly I was surprised they had any left in stock, I ordered 2, one in a 12 uk and one in a 14 uk.

It said next day delivery for £5 extra so although I wasn’t confident it would arrive the next day as things ordered on Sundays invariably don’t, I took a chance and did it anyway.

It did indeed arrive promptly on Monday morning.

The 14 fit like a dream.

And the best thing is it’s made of cotton so it not only looks gorgeous it felt wonderful on, if anything can feel wonderful in such heat.

…Oh and most important of all the dress is from Dorothy Perkins and it was in the sale!

Only £27!!! Bargain of the month!

Our trip to Venice coincided with a little heat wave in Europe. It was 32 degrees celsius (89.6f).

That’s a tad lively for sightseeing (which explains my very highly chafed bleeding inner thighs) but it certainly beats the rain Leonie and her friend Isobel had when they went a month ago.

Bright and early, up with the larks and catching the worms…

Bright and early, up with the larks and catching the worms…

The bus ride to Venice is about 25 minutes from the airport and €15 return. We caught the No.5 but there were other bus companies to choose from.

The bus ride to Venice is about 25 minutes from the airport and €15 return. We caught the No.5 but there were other bus companies to choose from.

Straight off the bus and striking a pose by the Grand Canal.

Straight off the bus and striking a pose by the Grand Canal.

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It truly is a wonder. It’s unfathomable why you would build a city on water but I’m glad someone did.

It truly is a wonder. It’s unfathomable why you would build a city on water but I’m glad someone did.

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Our elusive Rialto Bridge

Our elusive Rialto Bridge

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In Harry’s Bar, probably one of the most famous bars in the world, probably only second to Cheers.  I have heard from some people that they found it underwhelming and over priced. I know where they’re coming from but it’s appeal is in the fact that it hasn’t changed from when it opened in 1931, it might not be bold and sparkly, but it is full of character and old world charm of a bygone age. I love 1930’s deco style so I was more than happy. Even if I was supping on tonic water instead of a Bellini….but seeing as they’re €22 a class it’s probably best I didn’t! Hahahahaha.  I got my joy vicariously by watching Leonie drink the world famous Harry’s Bar Bellini, she even ate the chicken croquettes that we were given with our drinks, she’s not got the most adventurous palate but when in Rome and all that…or in this case Venice.  I do love the Continental way of serving “free” nibbles with drinks. I absolutely love that!

In Harry’s Bar, probably one of the most famous bars in the world, probably only second to Cheers.

I have heard from some people that they found it underwhelming and over priced. I know where they’re coming from but it’s appeal is in the fact that it hasn’t changed from when it opened in 1931, it might not be bold and sparkly, but it is full of character and old world charm of a bygone age. I love 1930’s deco style so I was more than happy. Even if I was supping on tonic water instead of a Bellini….but seeing as they’re €22 a class it’s probably best I didn’t! Hahahahaha.

I got my joy vicariously by watching Leonie drink the world famous Harry’s Bar Bellini, she even ate the chicken croquettes that we were given with our drinks, she’s not got the most adventurous palate but when in Rome and all that…or in this case Venice.

I do love the Continental way of serving “free” nibbles with drinks. I absolutely love that!

Watching the world go by, trying to keep hydrated while as the same time wishing it wasn’t just sweating out of every skin on skin contact point.

Watching the world go by, trying to keep hydrated while as the same time wishing it wasn’t just sweating out of every skin on skin contact point.

A lady actually stopped us to say how lovely our outfits were. This dress is an absolute corker. Thank you Toff for being sponsored by Dorothy Perkins! ;)

A lady actually stopped us to say how lovely our outfits were. This dress is an absolute corker. Thank you Toff for being sponsored by Dorothy Perkins! ;)

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This was taken when we arrived back at Marco Polo airport, soon after this we pretty much collapsed. I’m surprised we were able to board the plane. Hahahahaha

This was taken when we arrived back at Marco Polo airport, soon after this we pretty much collapsed. I’m surprised we were able to board the plane. Hahahahaha

At the end of a hard day I dumped my stuff and hit the hay. What a wonderful adventure! Can’t wait for the next one.  Bag from Ralph Lauren, and my trusty Ferragamo sandals served me well yet again. I bought them while I was I treatment for cancer 9 years ago. And although they were expensive I think they have served me well. They are comfy and they look great and they have travelled the globe with me.  What are any of us waiting for!? We are only here for a little bit and there’s this huge planet to see.    If you’re wondering what sort of effort a day out to Venice would be, it’s quite simple. It’s 21, 441 steps of effort. Hahahahaha

At the end of a hard day I dumped my stuff and hit the hay. What a wonderful adventure! Can’t wait for the next one.

Bag from Ralph Lauren, and my trusty Ferragamo sandals served me well yet again. I bought them while I was I treatment for cancer 9 years ago. And although they were expensive I think they have served me well. They are comfy and they look great and they have travelled the globe with me.

What are any of us waiting for!? We are only here for a little bit and there’s this huge planet to see.

If you’re wondering what sort of effort a day out to Venice would be, it’s quite simple. It’s 21, 441 steps of effort. Hahahahaha

Che cosa state aspettando

Che cosa state aspettando

And what wonderful memories and souvenirs I have of my grand day out. The obligatory fan, the must have gondolier fridge magnet and a rather sweet Murano glass snail. I rather like the fact that snails roam wherever they choose because they take can their house with them. :)

And what wonderful memories and souvenirs I have of my grand day out. The obligatory fan, the must have gondolier fridge magnet and a rather sweet Murano glass snail. I rather like the fact that snails roam wherever they choose because they take can their house with them. :)

Leonie just sent me this photo, me enjoying a tonic water in Harry’s Bar. Such a party animal. Hahahahaha

Leonie just sent me this photo, me enjoying a tonic water in Harry’s Bar. Such a party animal. Hahahahaha