category:Travel

In Venice Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's been a wonderful, if very long, day. 

I'm sitting at a little table, with Wifi that works, and I'm listening to the water lap in the lagoon outside the window. 

Seriously, right outside (this is from my window):

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Today, in the time that I've been awake, I've gotten off work, driven home and packed, spent three hours at SFO, taken an 11 hour flight followed by another hour-long one, then taken an hour-long boat ride to find where I'm staying, then walked about a million miles, just exploring and getting lost in Venice. I've been up for about 33 hours now (and I only got 6 hours of sleep in the previous 48) so I think I'm probably tired, but I don't really feel it yet. I've had three glasses of wine, and instead of making me sleepy, they've simply stopped my hands shaking (NO, my hands don't shake when I don't drink. Please. But they do shake when I'm this tired) and it's made made me red-cheeked. My slap-faced rosacea always blooms when I drink more than two glasses, especially when I'm tired. You know the only thing that helps? Extremely bright lipstick: 

Photo on 3-17-12 at 8.27 PM

I just got done dealing with the aftermath of forgetting to send a cancel on a reservation (I thought I had! But it was still sitting there in Drafts). So my cheap lodging just got quite a bit more expensive. 

But you know what? I've accepted that. I'm in the place I love best (I do love Oakland, with all my heart -- but my soul belongs to Venice). I realized something today (again): It's good not to worry about things before they happen. See, I dream at least four or five times a year about trying to get to Venice, and I can never quite make it. I get close (to Mestre, or some equally awful approximation) and then fumble around, never able to figure out how the boats work before I wake up. 

So it was natural to try to worry about getting here today. But I didn't. 

I could have worried about the taxi not coming (okay, I did, for a minute, quite violently, but I got over it). It came. Mr. Singh smelled like vanilla and coconut oil, and he drove like a saint on rollerskates. 

I could have worried about not making the flight. But I did, with thirty minutes to spare (that was with building in 3 extra hours, thank god for them). 

I could have worried about the fact that SFO wasn't able to print me a boarding pass from Frankfurt to Venice (Frankfurt is my least favorite airport in the world -- it's HUGE and busy and I've missed flights there before). But when I got to Frankfurt (after a lovely flight seated next to people who were the perfect combo of chattty/silent), I got my boarding pass within minutes, and I was standing at the gate already, on accident, with ten minutes to spare. 

I could have worried about the fact that Christina didn't answer her phone when I called her -- she was picking me up after two more boat rides to take me to the apartment. But I didn't worry. I just got on the first boat. At Fondamente Nuova, I looked for a phone to try her again, but there wasn't one. Period. Anywhere. 

So I asked at a bar. And bless them, they let me phone Christina from there. I hopped another boat, and I finally realized this: even without worrying, I hadn't really thought I would make it here. I never think I'll make it back. And I did. I'm here. 

And I'm so goddamn happy. 

Wanna see where I'm staying? (OH! The ambulance boat just went by, code three, lights and sirens. That's always fun.) 

And just a few more that I shot from the window while I was making dinner (usually I go out at night to eat, but tonight I was just too tired to do so): 

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Aw, hell. I'm just TOO tired to add any more here. In between writing this and posting it, I went for a long, dark walk to try to stay awake just a little longer. I chased after some students who obviously knew where they were going, and I found a section of town I'd never seen. (The Witch's Garden, that's where I'm going for dinner tomorrow night.) But now the exhaustion has set in.  Flickr set being built here. Love to you all -- more to come. Lots more! I'm home! 

New York, the Recap Monday, December 08, 2008

I don't know where to start, so I'll just jump in.

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Janine, Stephanie, and I went to New York. They are coworkers of mine, but more than that, they're friends. We had such a great time that my stomach muscles still ache from laughing. We laughed almost constantly. If you were in New York last week and heard screams of laughter, it was us, I can guarantee it. We were ridiculous, wonderfully so. 

We were originally slated to stay at the Chelsea, which had been the only room we could get within our price range. But at $331 a night, it was still mighty pricey for our three nights, so at the last minute we Pricelined and got THE BEST HOTEL for only $191 a night (taxes and charges drove it to $227, still a savings of a hundred a night!). We stayed at Murray Hill East Suites, which was right under this beauty:

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Could there be a better view in the world? Comparable, sure. But better, I don't think so. The room was good, quiet, and BIG, with its own kitchenette. Highly recommended.

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Brooklyn Bridge! It was cold, but perfect. Just like every other part of the trip. You know how everything goes just right? When everywhere you go, it seems like you were meant to be there? Everything falls into place? The whole trip was like that, to the point that I worried that the plane would crash on the way home, because it had just been TOO perfect.

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After walking the bridge with the girls, I left them to hit the Statue without me: I had a date with my agent.

I was nervous. I was excited.

She was SO GREAT.

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Seriously, I have lucked out in every possible way. We went to Ringo for lunch. We had reservations. Susanna is soooo awesome, even better than I could have possibly imagined. She's the kind of person that I'd pick as a friend if I met her at the bookstore, you know? We had Veuve Clicquot! Seared tuna! Straight-up class, yo! I believe I might have spoken in too many capital letters and I stole two tissue packs (so cute! instead of matches!) and my excited state might be given away by my flaming cheeks above (pre-wine, even!), but it was great. So great. 

Then I went and met my editor. I know, right? She was also awesome, so sweet and charming. I was overcome with a Very Large Afternoon. It did not disappoint.

(Confession: When I was in the elevator at HarperCollins, I grabbed my cell phone out of my purse to take a quick pic of myself. You know how I am. Yep. Dropped it, and it broke into all the pieces a phone can possibly break into. So I stuffed the phone, back, battery and assorted bits into my purse and attempted to be cool as the doors opened. Then when I hit the lobby on my way out, I asked the doorman to take my picture. He hesitated. I said, "Oh, is that not allowed?" He said, "Nah, but I'll do it anyway." So here's the coolest picture EVER:)

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Oh. Yeah.

With my business taken care of, I had a whole day free with my friends in which to see/do/eat everything.

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In St. Patrick's. I loved the way they greeted each other, with kisses and promises to see each other soon.

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A parochial theme emerges. I loved this nun, skating at Bryant Park. She was the only nun on the ice, and she moved smoothly, around and around.

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Still some color.

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These two were so cute. Both were bundled up, wandering through Central Park with their two friends. They threw off their outer clothing and she squeaked, "Quick! Pick me up!"

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Aren't those lines gorgeous?

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The Gretel hat did come in very handy.

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Janine and I could pass for sisters, couldn't we?

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Confession number two: Some of my writing money, someday, when I can, will be spent on a diamond ring for me at Tiffany & Co. In New York. No other Tiffany is like the New York Tiffany. That will be such a good day.

And I will buy it from Melissa, who was so sweet to us. She took the time to show us all the beautiful smaller rings that we still couldn't afford, and she had EXACTLY the same level of classiness that John McGiver did when he played the Tiffany salesman in Breakfast at Tiffany's. She had that quiet seriousness, the confidence that the three silly girls in front of her might really be serious about diamonds. Which we were. Melissa, you made us feel as important as the woman I saw holding out her light blue Tiffany store charge card. Did you know they had CARDS? Wowie.

Honestly, though, we didn't really shop much. A few tchockes, a mug and a pen, and THIS fabulous friviolity:

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A fascinator! It's from a hat-maker in Ontario (can't remember the name now). She had a booth in the Holiday Fair at Grand Central, and I couldn't live without this. Sure, I'm in my pj's in the hotel in the above shot, and I have no makeup on, but imagine: makeup, hair done, and simple black dress? Divine, no?

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The Cartier window was like an advent calendar: the boxes moved in and out, displaying increasingly wonderful and elaborate jewelry. (Not as pretty as Tiffany's, to my mind.) You can see Janine in the bottom of the reflection. When one of the large rings came out on display, she started saying, "Yes. I do. I will. Yes, I sure do."

And we ate. Oh, yes. Thank you for all of your suggestions! I think, overall, my favorite meal was the arugula/feta pierogies at Veselka. Hey, you think this might be the owner's car? (Parked a block from the restaurant.)

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And of course, the pastrami at Katz's.

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We had so. much. fun.

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Suddenly out of steam.
The End.

PS - I heart NY.

 

Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.



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Three years after a horrible tragedy took her son and tore her family apart, artist Kate Monroe is beginning to pick up the pieces of her life and move on. At a gala showcasing her triumphant return to the art world, Kate's world is rocked again when the daughter she gave up for adoption twenty-two years ago introduces herself. 

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.

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