A Symphony of Life

October 8th, 2015

I had heard of Il Gatto Nero on the island of Burano, in Venice’s north lagoon, long before I went there. I knew Jaime Oliver was a fan, but more importantly, Venetians who respected their culture and cuisine, had told me it was one of the area’s best restaurants.

Hearsay wasn’t enough though. I needed to experience it for myself. So, three years ago, on a cool, cloudy day, while auditioning Venice, I hopped a vaporetto with a friend and we made the 50-minute journey to Burano. (What’s she talkin’ about, the audition?: http://deliciousexpeditions.com/blog/2012/04/venice-the-audition/)


The colorful houses of Burano.

The colorful houses of Burano


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Ode to the “Beautiful” People

May 21st, 2015

Oh, the “beautiful” people! They really do exist, and not just in People magazine.

Arriving to Venice for a 2-week home exchange, I unknowingly stumbled onto the opening of the Biennale—Venice’s famed contemporary art festival, considered one of the most important in the world. However, this story isn’t about the festival, because then it would be about commoners, like myself. Instead, I prefer to delve into the lives of the lovely, the privileged.


Art Delivery

Biennale Art Delivery


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The Truth About Venetian Sports

May 25th, 2013

The term “bucket list” never appealed to me, instead I prefer to say that I’ve compiled a list of future experiences—a wish list that will take me around the world and allow me to discover new places and entertaining people. For the moment joining a rowing club in Venice is high on that list. Even though I’ve never been particularly athletic, I discuss going to the gym and even playing tennis like it’s actually going to happen. But I don’t do these things; I only talk about doing them over coffee and cake. So, when I learned Venetian rowing was more about eating and drinking than actual exercise I knew I had discovered my “sport.”


A Two Man Row Boat

A Two Man Row Boat

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The Red Boot Diaries

May 15th, 2013

I heard angry murmurs of “lazy thieves” and “Why do we pay taxes?” as I waded in knee-deep water spilling over from Venice’s canals. My fellow pedestrians, with their legs individually tucked inside large trash bags, were not in the best of moods.

I knew something was up this morning when a friend handed me a pair of bright red rubber boots and said, “Take these.” I hesitated, thinking she was being overly cautious. I mean, red boots really aren’t my thing. I’m not very good with bright colors, preferring to blend in with blacks and browns instead.


venice acqua alta


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The Not So Old Man and the Sea

July 13th, 2012

I heard him before I saw him. Pounding his keys to a ragtime tune resembling Joplin, his head bent forward, his fingers flying. I can’t say his playing was the best I had ever heard, but his stage was the most unique I had ever witnessed. The young musician and his piano were parked on a small barge heading down the Grand Canal. These sturdy vessels normally haul building materials, boxes, and sometimes mail…but a grand piano? This was a first, at least for me, but probably not for Venice.

I inquired about the floating musician, however, no one seemed to know who he was, nor did they think his impromptu concert unusual. Canal traffic proceeded along as usual: vaporetti, taxis, gondolas, traghetti.


ice cream delivery

ice cream delivery

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Riding in Boats with Boys

July 4th, 2012

“So you pull up on your boat and the girls just jump in?” I questioned Gianni.

I thought I was trying to console a friend’s twenty-year old son after his recent break-up, however his wisdom was greater than mine. I was giving him the “There’s plenty of fish in the sea” speech, with a few entertaining antidotes, but he was one step ahead of me.

“You see, here in Venice it’s easy to get over a girl,” Gianni continued with the utmost authority. “You loose one and there’s another five hundred arriving at the train station. I won’t be alone for long.”


Hard at work, Venetian-style

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Italian 101

June 19th, 2012

True Confession: I’m a linguistics nerd.

I love languages—the soft, flowing melody of French; the challenging, puzzle-like grammar of German; the impossibility of Slovene; the soft sh common to Portuguese and Argentine Spanish. My goal was to speak five languages by the age of 25, eight by my 30th birthday, and then ease off and be satisfied with a total of ten for the rest of my life.

Another True Confession: I’m just a little bit behind schedule.


Another lovely day in Venice

Another lovely day in Venice

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A Dog Depp Afternoon

June 15th, 2012

Johnny Depp is my neighbor. What can I say? It’s true. He’s not my next-door neighbor, nor does he live down the street, but rather across the Grand Canal, only 10 minutes away. I walked by him last week, not recognizing him for who he was, but rather for his strange attire. He wasn’t hard to miss, wearing a charcoal grey fedora hat, a tailored vest, and flashy jewelry. I do believe, if my memory serves me right (which is sometimes debatable) that there were chains involved. Yes, lots of silver chains and large, stone-studded rings. Yes, rings. He was walking with an incredibly thin woman. A waif of almost nothing, dressed in jeans and very high heels. As I passed the strangers I mumbled, “Would somebody please feed her.”

When our paths crossed again later in the day, I did a double take—could it be? I have actually stood next to Johnny, in San Miguel when he was in town shooting, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico.” I was never introduced to him; I just stood next to him for all of 20 seconds. It was enough time to note that he was my exact height, and I was twice his width. I hate to admit it, but this is also true.


Nope, not Johnny Depp. I would never dream of doing a paparazzi number on him, so instead here's an interesting door knob.

Nope, not Johnny Depp. I would never dream of doing a paparazzi number on him, so instead here’s an interesting door knob.

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Opera Lovers and Disco Dudes

June 11th, 2012

By now you may have discovered I have a thing for impromptu dance scenes and oddly dressed eccentrics. So, with this in mind, you won’t be surprised to learn that the highlight of attending La Bohéme at the famed Fenice theater wasn’t the opera, but rather the activity at the bar next door. Before and after performances, and during intermission, the place fills up with theatergoers who order flutes of champagne and glasses of wine. They stand around talking and looking beautiful, being seen, and also seeing.


Speaking of oddly dressed eccentrics, may I introduce you to Elverace Cash (remember?? Elvis + Liberace+ Johnny Cash

Speaking of oddly dressed eccentrics, may I introduce you to Elverace Cash (remember?? Elvis + Liberace+ Johnny Cash

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Ready to Wear…and Eat

June 8th, 2012

When I refer to bright shades of red, orange, purple, and pink I’m not describing the flowers blooming in window boxes all over Venice, but rather the colors of Italian men’s pants. Add a pair of lime green and sky blue and you have their complete collection of summer wear.



“It’s red, not pink,” a Scottish friend once declared after I commented on the color of his shirt.

“Well, actually it’s almost fuchsia,” I countered, not realizing the severity of my words. “Pink, scarlet, salmon, peach…really, what difference does it make?”

“Pink is for puffers, and I’m not a puffer,” he assured me with a growing temper.



Obviously, Scottish, and most likely American men have something to learn from the Italians. Canary yellow, a bold lavender, nothing is out of their range. Throw in some espadrilles and thick white-rimmed glasses and you still have a real man, his masculinity completely intact. (Most likely this board generalization doesn’t apply to dock workers and underlings in the mafia.)

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