Tales of a wandering lesbian

The wild blue yonder

The first time I sat down with Frank, I was eager to pick his brain.  He has spent time in many places, and I hoped he could help me work out the cities I wanted to visit.  I told him Venice was on my list.  “I would urge you to follow your instinct on that one.  There is no place in the world like Venice.”  So I put it at the top.

When I came to Italy it was with no expectations, but with thoughts of grand adventures in grand cities.  Four weeks have past.  Four weeks of fantastic adventures and wonderfully people.  I’ve had side trips to Lucca and to Florence; to the mountains and to the sea.  But I haven’t visited any of the big cities I had in mind.  Venice and Rome still sit at the top of my list.

I realized a couple of days ago that I really only have 2 weekends left in Italy.  Wow.  Time to get movin’.  I thought that I would have visited three countries by now.  But the day-to-day comfort of a routine has kept me winding up and down the hill from Fornaci to Barga, happy to have a familiar place to sleep and good friends to talk with – content to learn about myself here.

But now, with the end of this leap in sight, I’m ready to venture out.  I asked around.  None of my family or friends had much in the way of suggestions for places to stay, so last night I pulled out my handy-dandy Rick Steves (tragically incomplete, but terrifically helpful) guide to Italy and started working my way through the list of Venice hotels.  I picked about 16 and started checking availability.  By the end of the evening I had 3 places I really liked.  I sent email inquiries to see what the prices would be (Venice hotels list a range of prices on their websites for each room), and checked the trenitalia website to find a good itinerary.

This morning I woke to a number of emails from various hotels.  I was able to find a three night stay in all three of my favorites, and even talked the fancy hotel down to 80 Euro (which I thought was pretty excellent given its usual price of 145).  And then I got an email from Frank.  A couple of emails and 20 minutes later, and I was in his house drinking coffee and talking Venice hotels.  I showed him the ones I was looking at and he gave input as to the locations and décor.  And I looked at the modestly appointed, “functional” hotel he had pulled up on his computer.  I wasn’t wild about it, but it was in a good location, and was about 20 Euro less per night than any of my picks.  “Why don’t you take a cheaper hotel and stay another night?  Venice is wonderful.”  He had a point.

“There is one other place, but it’s really hard to get in.”  He pulled up the clunky website for the Locanda Montin.  Its homepage featured a picture of Jimmy Carter and a list of celebrities and VIPs who frequent the place.  “It’s a really great place.  Shall we give them a call?”  I agreed – so long as Frank talked.  Five minutes later I had a reservation for 3 (or 4) nights at 50 Euro.  We were both shocked and pleased.  Finding availability was one thing, but the price was unbelievable.

I stayed for lunch and Frank pulled out maps and guidebooks for Venice.  We studied the best walking route from the train station to the hotel and discussed which train would be best.

I’m finding it a wonderful thing to accept the help of other people – whether it’s a familiar place to sleep every night, or directions to the path that leads home, or lunch and hotel reservations.  It’s not something I’ve always been so good at.  But here, where I know so little and am so far out of my element, I’m finding it easier and easier.

Tomorrow I leave for Venice, but I won’t go alone.  I’m leaving with Frank’s maps and guidebook, and the knowledge that my little bed will be waiting for me when I come home.

Bookmark and Share


1 Dad { 11.25.09 at 8:55 pm }

How wonderful to have friends like Frank. Enjoy the trip to Venice Kid and take it all in for all of us. Look forward to your next post from Venice…

Frank…..Thank you for being so nice to my Kristin and helping her enjoy Italy even more than she had anticipated!!!!!

2 Molly { 11.25.09 at 9:38 pm }

Have a wonderful time and Happy Thanksgiving to you.

3 Nat { 11.26.09 at 12:01 pm }

Thanksgiving in Venice? Again very awesome! Enjoy it