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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.

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(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.

 

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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.

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Tales from the Trail

Want to hike like a Ninja? Better check with your Trail Mom first.

March 12, 2017
Miss janet

I’ve seen the movies, so I know all about Ninjas. These solitary creatures move unseen and unheard from destination to destination, accomplishing impossible feats with superhuman agility and stamina. For big moments that require every last ounce of awesomeness, there’s even a blood-curdling battle cry.

Those of you with experience in the outdoors probably already know that Ninja-ing is exactly the same as long-distance hiking. Sure, the metal cups, poop shovels, and Crocs dangling from our 40lb packs tend to make a racket when we stumble over rocks and roots, but if no one is around to hear it, it’s just as good as silence. And we all know that those bi-hourly Snickers breaks aren’t pauses to catch our breath or contemplate the sanity of climbing the mountain in front of us; we’re just giving the mountain a chance to submit to our greatness before we show it who’s boss. Our battle cry (which is sure to elicit a reaction from even the most hard-hearted): “Crap! Where the hell did I leave my toilet paper?”

I understand if you have a few lingering suspicions about your ability to join the elite ranks of Ninja-ing hikers. If it weren’t for the timely advice and encouragement of the Appalachian Trail’s Sensei, I’d probably be right there with you. Continue Reading…

(almost) funny, Bucket-Lister Pro-tips

I am sorry for myself, I no speak in this language very much

February 12, 2017
Bucket-Lister

I don’t know about you, but I got into the Bucket-Lister business for the perks. Trying new things, traveling the world, and immersing myself in cultures most tourists don’t have time for. The pay isn’t great, but you can’t beat these benefits.

 

And I was a natural. I avoided food poisoning from meals that roamed around on the table, filled a passport or three with colorful stamps, and maintained a respectable frequent-flyer status.

 

I even mastered the international Bucket-Lister language. Initially, communication was mostly an intricate series of hand and arm signals that would make any Air Traffic Controller proud. It wasn’t pretty, but I could get a taxi, directions to a restaurant (usually not the one I was hoping for), and a hotel room. However, fluency evaded me until I discovered the real Rosetta Stone. With this handy tool, I rarely had to resort to embarrassing peeks at Google Translate, or flail like a duckling trying to find its momma in order to get my message across.

 

What is the Bucket-Lister’s Rosetta Stone? Continue Reading…