Photos, Travel

Hiking in Venice?

May 24, 2017
Hiking in Venice

I suspect that when you think of hiking, you imagine mountaintop vistas, strenuous climbs, and solitude. There should be trees and dirt and sweaty armpits. Probably bugs, but hopefully a few glimpses of more endearing wildlife.

hiking view

Moment from a typical hike

 

Venice is an unlikely place to find any of these things. Sealevel is nearly always within arm’s reach. The biggest (outdoor) elevation changes occur at the peaks of bridges. No dirt. (Although we did wrap-up our hike with a stroll through a secret garden.)

hiking in Venice

The high (outdoor) point in our hike. Shown is the Rialta Bridge spanning the Grand canal. At its peak, we climbed almost 8 whole meters. And I only had to stop once to catch my breath!

Instead, our flint-tiled hiking path lead us through narrow alleys bordered by ancient buildings, past ornate palaces, mansions, and Byzantine cathedrals. A cool, steady breeze and leisurely pace suppressed our armpit’s urge to do what they do, even if we don’t want them to.

 

With all these differences in mind, the hiker in me wasn’t thrilled by the prospect of several days spent wandering through another major city. I wanted to experience all the things that hiking promises: inspiring scenery, exercise for my body, and my mind (minus the torture treadmill), and a chance to rediscover the inner peace that is so hard to find in a busy big-city life. Unlikely we’d find any of this on a tiny, man-made island that hosts millions of people every year.

 

Venice, you sneaky little city, you’ve been holding out on us.

Continue Reading…

(almost) funny, Bucket-Lister Pro-tips, Lifestyle, Travel

The Ultimate Foodie Guide to Venice

May 18, 2017
Foods of Venice

If Venice is on your travel bucket list and you like to eat, you’re in luck. Despite this tiny pedestrianized island’s dimensions (roughly the size of 2 Central Parks), restaurants, eateries, and fresh food markets are ubiquitous.

While you’re strolling colorful Fondamenta that border serene canals, grab a fresh strawberry or a Gelato. Hell, it’s a vacation. Get both. Not only will you burn off many of those calories while exploring the city on foot, more importantly, I quickly learned that the Venetians have a rule about not letting tourists go hungry.

Foods of Venice

Have you heard of the “Stick vs. Carrot” as a means of motivating the most stubborn of us to action? The Venetians have adopted a similar strategy, except it’s more of a “Strawberry vs. Gelato” thing. And I’m pretty sure the goal is to remind us to stop doing stuff all the time and enjoy the little moments.

 

Continue Reading…

Depression

Is 40 Days long enough for a grown up “time out?”

May 4, 2017

It’s been awhile since my last post. My calendar tells me that 40 days have lapsed. Even if you were to go way back to nearly forgotten eras when life moved syrupy slow and Blockbuster let you check out hot new VHS releases like “Back to the Future” for 2 days before charging late fees, a lot could happen in 40 days.

Some of these 40 day events were paradigm shifting. Noah endured a really long rain storm, and Phileas Fogg made it halfway through his trip around the world in 80 days. Others slip by with hardly any notice, including the lifespan of the female mosquito, which begins and ends in 40 days. (While it may not be relevant here, reminding new people you meet that females are the bloodsuckers, which allows them to live a lot longer than their docile male counterparts, makes for a great conversation starter.)

40 days is also traditionally considered the duration of a grown-up version of a meaningful “time out.” (Lent and our wait for the next season of Game of Thrones are good examples.) This is a time to step back from the busyness of life to reflect on our priorities, to focus on important relationships, and to fix our broken parts.

Continue Reading…

Depression

“I Can’t” because Depression Lies

March 25, 2017
Maple Leaf

Charles Dicken’s introduced the classic Tale of Two Cities with one of the best opening lines of all time:

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…

I could really use an introduction like that for this post. The Spring Equinox has just passed and I should be busy dusting off my neglected Bucket List. We picked an “easy” item from the List as a warm-up. Monica and I are leaving for Venice to eat pizza in St Mark’s Square. I’m supposed to be practicing my Italian. At least enough to say, “Hello, Domino’s Pizza? Yes. We would like to order a large Supreme pizza please.”

 

Instead, I’m losing a battle with this bastard of a companion who is determined to keep me imprisoned. I refer to him as “Eddie, my inner editor,” but his clinical names are depression, anxiety, and PTSD (Eddie is far more palatable, right?). Continue Reading…

(almost) funny, Tales from the Trail

7 tips GUARANTEED to make the most of your bear encounters

March 19, 2017
enjoying bear encounters

I smelled them long before I saw them. It wasn’t the flailing arms and hurried pace of a pair of day-hikers dressed in bright t-shirts and shorts rushing towards me that got my attention. It was their laundry detergent. Tide. Maybe Cheers. Either way, it was delicious enough to break the hypnotic spell that comes from hiking 20+ miles a day for more than two months.

“Hey!” the husband shouted. He was a little out of breath. “Hold up. There’s a mama bear and her baby cub back behind us.” The wife, also excited but a little triumphant, held up her cell phone. “I got pictures!”

Yup. I thought, Definitely Tide.

Continue Reading…