Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Venice ... 2001

Over the holiday my niece Wendy and I were reminiscing about our separate trips to Venice and it reminded me of the time that my friend Douglas and I spent a month in Italy. We were lodging in Monasteries and, besides the affordability, we’d been pleasantly surprised at the convenience, the cleanliness and the wonderful hospitality that had been extended to us. We stayed in Rome, Orvieto, Bavagna, Gubbio, Cortona and Florence and now it was on to Venice... our destination, the Casa Caburlotta. (the middle building shown in the picture.)

When I made the reservations I had been careful to explain to the Sisters that Douglas and I were not married. Some of the Monasteries were very strict about this and I wanted to make sure they knew that we were traveling friends and would be staying in separate rooms. It was early evening when we arrived and we couldn’t see a light in any of the windows. This didn’t bode well but we pulled the door rope and were rewarded with a bell tone that was loud enough to wake the dead. It didn’t seem to wake the Sisters, however, and it took 3 bell pulls and 15 minutes before a very old nun dressed completely in black (and with a dark frown to match) opened the door. I had verification of our reservations and I presented it to the Sister. She took a long time pouring over the document and finally allowed us to enter. She pointed to a chair and, with hand gestures, instructed Douglas to sit! Then she took my arm and we proceeded to the second floor where she showed me my room and gave me a small packet of instructions. I realized that I was in for the night and hoped I’d catch up with Douglas at breakfast.

My room was quite sparse but very clean and comfortable. The next morning I did find Douglas in the breakfast room and he was still chuckling. It seems that the Sister situated him about as far away from me as possible. He was in the students quarters on the top floor and access to his room was by a set of stairs far removed from mine. However, it was our good fortune to meet a fellow traveler at breakfast who had stayed many times at the Monastery. He said that he didn’t think there was a Sister there under the age of 80 and that they were very strict but loving. I had my doubts about the “loving” part but we were there for four days regardless.

The next days were filled with all that Venice has to offer. We’d leave early in the morning and return after dinner. The Sisters were thawing a bit toward us...although they still made sure that we separated in the front hall before we retired to our rooms. On the morning that we left I was amazed when the most austere of the sisters said she had a remembrance for me. She gave me a hug and a small glass pendant from Morano. I will always cherish that gift, but it was the gift of her smile that I will remember truly was “loving”.

My trip was entirely different from the one Wendy took. She spent 3 months there on an arts Fellowship at the Scuola Internazionale de Grafica. If you want to savor the “real” Venice in all its glory click on here:



Blogger Marie Smith said...

Venice was one of the highlights of our travels. What a unique experience you had at the convent. It would enhance the whole Venice experience for certain. How wonderful!

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your travelogue. Wonderful share. Thanks, Dianne

7:57 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

No doubt the best way to visit a place. So far superior to all those crammed tours.

7:59 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Now that was a fun experience. Those Sisters made your stay absolutely memorable and fodder for a neat post years later.

2:37 PM  
Blogger possum said...

I remember this post!
I, too, have been to Venice, but I really don't remember where we stayed, unlike you! I would have loved to have had that experience! I wonder if they had Doug under lock and key so he couldn't violate anyone! LOL!

today I am frequently shocked at the pictures particularly of San Marco's square under water!

Thanks for the memories!

4:53 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

What memories of what was a wonderful Venice trip, Ginnie. The Sisters obviously took no chances with those staying in their home, but they were very caring as well from yiur recollections.

6:06 AM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

What a great experience. I love reading about your adventures...:)

8:34 AM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Ginnie--too too funny about the separating of you & Douglas that the good sisters accomplished. I presume they never allowed Douglas to see where you were housed to ...what? Prevent him from sneaking in at night? Oh, such a chuckle.

6:43 AM  

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