Monday, April 17, 2017


Last week I was in Venice at a writer's retreat. This opportunity came at such a perfect time for me, that I remained convinced the world would snatch it from me, but it did not. 
I decided trying to recap a whole week was silly. 
This retreat was organized by Rachael Herron - who I knew before the trip, and we spent mornings from 9am-12pm gathered up, working with writer prompts and sharing writing.  The group was writers at a mix of stages in their writing journey, fiction and non-fiction, and the propmts and excercises had meaning and help for all.  It really is, I would have thought, a tricky balance to making things useful and workable to as wide a range as we had, and yet it really worked.  
In the afternoon there were optional excursions, but it was incrediby easy to opt out, whether to explore on your own or to split into a smaller subgroup.
Basically, it was delightful.  I loved the trip.  I loved the people - some of whom I knew or internet knew beforehand, and some of whom I did not.  I was like writer summer camp.  You know, in Venice. 
I had not been to Venice before, and I loved it and see why it calls to others. 
Italy, you may have heard has a pretty carb based food tradition, which is terribly dangerous for a carb addict like myself.  There were signs in some places for vegan this, and gluten free that, and so there were options.  Had I been staying longer than seven days, I would have made a better effort to find a greater variety, but my suffering, if you call it that, was delicious. I even found a Venetian wine I liked, which for a picky wine palette like mine was a win. 
So, some numbers. 
Number of gelato consumed: 4. 1 with Bailey's on it, so while it was very tasty it's possible the Bailey's and whipped cream influenced my feelings. 
Number of pizzas eaten: 1. It was large and probably should have been shared or saved. Oops. 
Number of sights seen: At least 7.  It depends on if you count things pointed out on the walking tour, or wandered past or all the bridges and boats and towers spotted. 
Number of neighborhoods or sestieri wandered through: 4. And we took the vaparetto to Burano and Murano. 
Number of boats ridden: 10.  At least.  I may be missing one.  
Number of bridges crossed: Innumerable. 
Number of times I got lost: 1. Fortunately I was with someone who was ready to find the adventure in it.  We had headed in what I thought was a mostly northerly direction, and turned out to be north and west, which I figured out when I saw the signs for the train station.  We were adopted as we tried to follow some o fhte signs directing us to the vaporetto, that seemed to disappear and then reappear in ways that were not super intuitive and she spoke a lot of Italian at us, despite our clear lack of understanding.  We followed her, kind of (we were backtracking from a dead end) and then found a museum courtyard where we managed to convey that this was what we meant to find, and the nice smartphone had enough signal for us to verify our speadiest way back to the Grand Canal.  Certainly, the nice museum people also could have helped us so we were just the tinest bit lost but we got to see more of San Croce than planned, so there was that. 
It also appears possible that Italian mosquitoes do not like me, or are at least slow to recognize me as fresh meat.  This will require further investigation. 
Pictures of things and food.