-E.B. White

Saturday, December 31, 2011

"PROCRASTINATION IS THE THIEF OF TIME" - British Poet - Edward Young. Procrastination - The act of putting off or delaying.Eleven years ago on this eve we decided to not procrastinate (prior to our retirement) and bought our beautiful boat "Broulee (Island in the Sea)".   To our Family and Friends - Please, in 2012 - FOLLOW YOUR BLISS.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mom, What the heck is this on my head?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS -  We decided (well Deb decided) it would be fun to spend the holidays at home in the north country, instead of on the boat in the southern climes.  It has been close to ten years since we have had the whole decorating experience - and got to admit we are really enjoying it. Here are some pics of the fun things we miss out on by going south.

White Swans on the lake before freeze up

On a pretty, snowy, Sunday - the Smith family at a pheasant hunt. 

Georgia & Cooper - taking a break. The guys brought us along to help flush birds - we walked for 3 1/2 hours.

Brad and Izzy - both naturals at this sport.

We were six for six - good job guys - looks like winner, winner, pheasant dinner.

Before the school bus comes - we get some sledding in.

Even Pops and Izzy get into the action

This North Pole Village has been in storage for ten years -

and looking at it through our grandsons eyes - made it all worth it. Of, course not looking forward to the putting away part.

You got to admit - it's kinda pretty - not even tired of shoveling, yet.

Decorating - inside and out.

and December 9th, 2011 - Rick, Deb, her sister Joni & brother-in-law David and her sister Gail - celebrating their parents 61st Wedding Anniversary.

21 days and counting - hoping to be back on Broulee soon!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

OK LET'S GET ER DONE - SEPT. 21 - 23RD - FLORENCE.  It was our last stop on the trip, and now that we have figured out most of the transportation systems, we decided to drop our car off at the airport and enjoy Florence via bus, train, walking or taxi.  A vehicle in Italian cities is almost always a liability, but outside of the cities it is often crucial (they did have a train strike while we were there - so in hindsight we were glad we had rented it).    

Panda Fiat returned to Hertz - dent free, a bit on the dusty dirty side, and filled with fuel (at $8.00 plus a gallon).
Took the bus to within a couple blocks of our hotel - so again, dragging our bags thru the city streets. Naps were in order before our evening round of sightseeing. Our butts are starting to drag - and by now it's become extremely difficult to look at another piece of art, church, museum or bridge - but here we go.
We hiked to the Ponte Vecchio Bridge which was built in 1345 and spans the Arno River.  The shops on the bridge now house Goldsmiths and Jewelers.
We also toured the Accademia Gallery where the focal point is the original David, moved here in 1873. Commissioned in 1501, Michaelangelo was then just 26 six years old.   A Plexiglas barrier surrounds the sculpture and no photos are allowed. However, copies of the statue are throughout the city.
 Seems like alot of work - only to be washed away during a rain storm.
and how fun, a totally white wedding - street side.
The next morning up early with the garbage truck - heading out for our last day of looky loo.
Another copy of the David - it's starting to get old.

I don't even want to know what is going on here.

Hams hanging in the butcher shop - nice chandelier.
The David at Piazzale Michelangelo - from this lookout you have a marvelous view of Florence and the surrounding hills.  

Overlooking Florence

Ponte Vechio Bridge
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, better known as the Duomo

and more - it's breathtaking

and this guy is still at it - what a way to earn a living.

Serious mounds of Gelato

Last Gelato Fix

This is starting to look like a good idea - it's been a long day.

The White one is a one seater van and the blue one is a two seater - our future?

Cargo Van?

Incredible Designer Dresses - this city is a shoppers dream - we resisted lots of purchases - Deb did bring home a cute little leather purse.

The lock thing continues here.

It's our last night here, so after recommendation from our hotel we decided to do the traditional thing and eat a Florentine Steak at the famous Za-Za's.  This is the towns culinary pride and joy - it's a thick slab of beef, resembling a T-bone steak, from large white oxen called Chiamina.  The meat's slapped on the grill and served rare, sometimes with a pinch of salt.  (We were not aware of these details till after returning home).  It's always seared on both sides, and just barely cooked inside (experts say five minutes per side, and then 15 minutes with the bone sitting perpendicularly on the grill).  To ask for it more well done is to incure disdain; some restaurants simply won't serve it any other way but rare. The Salad, again was incredible.

This was actually after we sent it back to be cooked a little more - we did not know you should not do that.

Ok, so the desert was to die for.  This trip has been amazing - Taxi to airport at 5:00 AM - Back to real life.

Chow little buddy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

VENICE - SEPT. 19TH & 20TH - Well here we are again with a car in a city that does not allow cars.  So once more, we parked our car ($25.00 a day) and took the vaporetto (ferry boat) to Piazza San Marco schleping our bags behind us.  The city has no major streets, and addresses are hopelessly confusing - so finding your hotel can be a challenge.  We had reservations and our one request was that it had a canal view - so needless to say we paid dearly.  After alot of rechecking of our map, we finally found our hotel, checked in and quickly headed out to start sightseeing.     
Arriving in Venice

Again, greeted by lots of people -

and, of course, the entertainers.

Back to our room for happy hour on our private balcony - and check out our $450.00 a night canal view - you can make out the tiny bridge that spans our very tiny, tiny canal.

Yes, this would be our view from the terrace - we can almost see St. Mark's square - well at least the Campanile (bell tower) and it is in the square.

 Proscecco will definitely make things look better.  Then it's time to head out for some night sights.
Relaxing on our private terrace.

St. Mark's Square (we found there to be less crowds at night - nice).

The Rialto Bridge

The Bridge of Sighs - closed for restoration.  Supposedly, a condemned man would be led over this bridge on his way to the prison, take one last look at Venice, and sigh. 

WHATS FOR DINNER -  a veal dish that was very tasty. 

and finally - spaghetti!

The next morning up early for breakfast supplied by our hotel (makes the $450.00 a night less painfull) and then off for a day of touristy things. 

The Campanile in San Marco Square - this dramatic bell tower replaced a shorter lighthouse, once part of the original fortress that guarded the entry of the Grand Canal.  The lighthouse crumbled into a pile of bricks in 1902, a thousand years after it was built. The golden archangel Gabriel at the top always faces into the wind.  

 St. Mark's Basilica was built in the 11th century.  It's decorated with booty from returning sea captains - a kinda architectural Venetian trophy chest.  The bones of Saint Marco are buried at this site. 

St. Mark's Basilica - wow, have a few marble columns.

We decided to hop on a vaporetto and tour the Grand Canal - Venices "Main Street".  At more than two miles long, nearly 150 feet wide, and nearly 15 feet deep it is the city's largest canal.  It's the remnant of a river that once spilled from the mainland into the Adriatic. 

San Marco  - view of the Doge's Palace. 

Gondoliers along the canal route.

Or if you like you can hire private boats to get you here and there.

Or perhaps a Venetian taxi (like speedboat limos) would be another option.  All I know is it gets crazy - glad we stuck to the big water ferry.

Venice's sleek black Gondolas are a symbol of the city.  With about 500 gondoliers joyriding amid the vaporetti, there's a lot of congestion - looks like an accident waiting to happen, to me.

DHL delivery Venetian style.

Coming into the Rialto Bridge vaporetti stop - time for some walking.

Constructed in 1588, it's the third bridge built on this spot.  Until the 1850's this was the only bridge crossing the Grand Canal.  With a span of 160 feet and foundations stretching 650 feet on either side, the Rialto was an impressive engineering feat in its day.  Earlier Rialto Bridges could open to let big ships in, but not this one.  Now much of the Grand Canal is closed to shipping. 

View of Grand Canal from Rialto Bridge.

Back on the ferry to do our final tour of the day - Murano Island - famous for glass factories and glassmaking musueum.

Glassmaking demonstration.

A pull here and a pull there -making the blob into a glass horse.

The finished product.

After you leave the demonstration they make you exit thru their very pricey showroom - "no pressure, no pressure" - next thing we know we are being escroted upstairs to a private showing - again, "no pressure, no pressure".  A half hour later we were still trying to leave - explaining to the gentleman - "we really need to sleep on the decision to spend $12,000.00 on a piece of glass and that we would be back tomorrow".  ARE YOU KIDDING ME? No pressure my ass!

Last night here,  - Arrivederci Venice