But am still discombobulated after Milan-Venice-Madrid-Amsterdam-Brussels in less than two weeks. I am not a savvy traveler like my friend Elizabeth, who goes to Europe for ten days with one carry-on. I am also not good about Asking–luckily, Richard is (although i think he is still harboring murderous intentions toward the Flemish, whose eagerness to give directions is not matched by the clarity of such.)
Still, what a wonderful honeymoon. Venice was sunny but cool and relatively uncrowded. We stayed at the palatial (literally) apartment of a friend of R’s, situated near the University and the wonderful Campo Santa Margherita, a square that was always lively with little kids, dogs, college students and produce shoppers, depending on the time of day. TWO gelato stands and several restaurants.
Even with the wonderful food (vitello tonnato, YUM) gelato (licorice, YUM), and art (angels to inspire Tomie de Paola for a lifetime), what I loved most were the vaporetti, the little public boats that could take you everywhere around the city and between its islands. While I knew that Venice had canals and lagoons and gondolas and all, I didn’t quite get that water or walking were the only ways to get around. I could definitely live like that.
There were a few children’s book moments. On Murano, i bought a little glass lion for Mads, who used to live downstairs and was enthralled with Pinkney’s Lion & the Mouse, and who we would visit in Amsterdam. (His older sister Julia got an elegant glass-bead bracelet while two-year-old terror Lizze received a jumping-jack Pinocchio, which I think will give me nightmares.) And at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, which was filled with well-groomed and earnest young American interns, I was probably the only person to notice the startling resemblance between the paintings of Peggy’s troubled daughter, Pegeen, and those of children’s-book illustrator Nick Sharratt: