Sunday, August 21, 2011


Burano might just be one of the most magical places. It really is as if it's the end of a rainbow with so many vibrant colors splashed about.
Getting there is relatively easy with a public vaparetto near Fondamenta Nuove. The journey takes about 40 minutes and boats depart roughly every 30 minutes.
While visiting this sweet little island we learned a few things: crime is virtually non existent, there is one school and the high schoolers get boated over to the main land, and each house is only able to be painted certain colors. The colors were the former house numbers, making the island a special little place. It also happens to have some of the least expensive Venetian souvenirs.

bright pinks
glowing façades
tilting church + rainbow homes
shades of red

peeling paint
main canal rainbow row
oranges and blues
green shutters
colorful canal
pretty pastels
stripes + red flowers 
emily + laundry day

Ciao + Grazie, Italy! 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bangkok Peanut Ice Cream

Stefan chose this flavor, which brought us back to our Thailand travels.

It's reminiscent of Pad Thai with peanut butter, coconut, lemon grass, and ginger with a bit of an unexpected finish - a cayenne kick.

My in laws were also able to visit, so we could share this with them. They seemed to enjoy this unusual flavor, too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

venice sestiere

I put this little map together for the various sestiere in Venice. I love that Venice is shaped like a fish and that each neighborhood has its own charm and special characteristics.

Here are some things you may see along the way and the corresponding location of the sestiere in relation to the fish :

Santa Croce - eyes... quiet area to get away from the crowds. Very pretty and a great place to find inexpensive, yet good pizza. Delightful plazas for people watching.

San Polo - heart... the oldest part of Venice with lots of markets & local shopping, as well as a place to find some night life.

San Marco - belly... this is the most touristy area with Palazzo San Marco / St. Mark’s. There are a variety of shops from luxury to tourist kitsch. Lots of hit or miss tourist restaurants.

Cannaregio - brains... an arty area filled with tattoo types and beautiful plazas. This is probably the best area to find quality restaurants.

Castello - tail... right past the Doge’s Palace it’s tourist kitsch - after that it’s more of the local’s area with lots of green space.

Dorsoduro - fins... lively college area with cheapest food, and of course night life.

San Giorgio - best views of Venice + 16th century church

Guidecca - home to Ex Convento delle Convertite. The Thursday "market" where you can buy produce straight from the garden of the women's prison. That's certainly unique!

Murano - glass maker's island, good for a half day trip.

Burano - an incredible little island known for lace making and its vibrantly painted fishing village.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Venetian Vacation

Our long venetian weekend, to celebrate our anniversary, started with a 6 hour drive down to Italy. Despite having a car we haven't taken enough road trips and with Italy so close it was definitely the best choice.

It also meant we could stop at the grocery to load up on wine, cheese, olive oil, and balsamic to bring back on the way home.

The drive is wonderful... through the mountains, vineyards, and past ancient towering churches, castles, and fortresses.

In Venice we stayed at the Al Ponte Mocenigo, and let me tell you it lived up to its reputation. It's really an incredible place with beautiful rooms and a great location in Santa Croce.

Here are some of the things we saw and did:

beautiful animal masks

carnival masks

intricate door handles

decorated walls

quiet scenes near the canal

Catholic saints

ancient narrow walkways


gondoliers + their stripes

green glowing canals

rush hour at Riva Degli

Pont della Pagila

bridge of sighs

Saint Mark's Church

Saint Mark's Lion

Torre d. Orologio antique + now

pigeons of the past + present

piazza san marco

san polo + the markets

pretty windows

lots of immigrant workers


campo san stae

Doge's Palace

Oksana Mas art work

Grand Canal palaces

local cuisine at the water front

vaparetto rides and gelato

It's sort of strange to visit a city after having already been before. I think back to the first time we went and how mesmerized I was. I'm certain I even said something along the lines of "If I ever win the lottery I definitely want a place here."

Being a more seasoned traveler I notice similarities of places we've been and want to compare places even though they are all unique. All of those experiences make me view the city a little differently.

If you like Venice, you'd probably also like Marrakech or Essaouira, Dubronvik, and Palma, Mallorca. They all share those narrow ancient walkways that make it easy to get lost.

Having waterways as streets sets Venice apart. It also takes a while to get around and is oftentimes quicker to simply walk.