I have been very, very bad at running In the Wabe for the last few months. This blog is photo-based and I’m just exasperated with my camera! Hopefully when I get a better lens I’ll be more inspired to post here, but I feel I’ve hit a wall.

Things have also been really busy! We haven’t taken any trips since our vacation to Disney World but are trying to plan something now. I did spend a week in Venice (commuting 3-4 hours every day) for a literature class called Expatriate Writers in Venice. After visiting Venice so much I was beginning to tire of it, but this trip has renewed my love for the city! It was nice getting to explore more suburban areas and studying work inspired by the city.

I was a bit shy with my camera, which I’m regretting now.

This is my class! A few of us live here, but most of the class flew in from elsewhere in Europe. I’m second from the left.

A gondolier’s workshop in Venice. It was strange walking up on this–if you haven’t been to Venice you wouldn’t know that there’s absolutely no wooden buildings there! Everything is so close together that that’s just too dangerous. This workshop felt very out of place.

The Gritti hotel, a frequent in Hemingway’s Across the River and Into the Trees

Venetian cookies, flavored with lemon.

One night we had a literary salon where we dressed as the characters and authors we studied. I went as a horrible rendition of Ernest Hemingway! I’m about as far from Hemingway as you could get, but I like him and couldn’t resist.
Photo by my classmate Karla

Our wonderful professor, Dr. Toni Sepeda! She lives nearby but also has an incredible house in Venice as well as one in Turkey. There are a few wonderful articles about her travels you can easily find online. Her novel about Venice, Brunetti’s Venice, is available for less than $12 on Amazon. I’m very excited to be taking another class with her this semester (this one is not a field study but is just as much fun).

One of the beautiful hand-painted masks I bought as a Christmas present (I can say who for, though!)

How did I end up with pictures showing nearly no water? Here’s a photo of Venice I took a few years ago to rectify that:

Novels that take place in Venice:
The Aspern Papers by Henry James
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
Across the River and Into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway
Many of Donna Leon’s modern crime novels
Don’t Look Now, a short story by  Daphne du Maurier
Italian Hours by Henry James, a travel journal

Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms is one of my all-time favorites (and is far superior to Across the River…), but this does not take place in Venice.  Much of it does, however, take place very close to where I live!  I think it’s a wonderful novel to read for people who live here, especially those here with the military.

Venice has turned into such a big tourist attraction; much of the beauty has been lost of the years. But reading inspired works featuring the city helps restore it to the age when it really was the most magnificent and ingenious city in the world.

Apologies for my month of absence. I know that’s been happening a lot lately, but I haven’t cooked many things I’ve really enjoyed. I hate when a blog I like recommends bad recipes just because they took nice photos of it, so I only post things I absolutely love! I’ve been very frustrated with my camera’s lens lately, so I haven’t even been taking many photos of the recipes I do enjoy.

Joseph and I just returned from a week to Orlando, where we also planned a long layover in New York City. It was a wonderful trip, despite the 24 hour journey there and then another 28 hours on the way home! Neither of us had been to the US in a year and a half, so it was wonderful to feel a bit at home again. I’d forgotten how nice Americans are! I can’t believe people will move out of your way when you’re trying to get through, apologize for bumping into you, and smile when you cross them on the street. I really miss that living here.
We visited all four Walk Disney World parks, the two Universal Studios parks, and Busch Gardens (in Tampa). It is the perfect time of year–we hardly had to wait in line at all! The only time we had to use our Fastpasses at Disney World was for the Toy Story Mania ride, which had a three hour wait since it only just opened.

We got a wonderful flight, hotel, and rental car package through Expendia, so we were able to stay in the beautiful Peabody Orlando! It is a fantastic hotel, and we did get to see the famous ducks. My photo kind of looks like an illustration, doesn’t it?

Of course we went to Magic Kingdom our first day. I thought it would be a bit kitschy, but it wasn’t at all! I was also surprised by the number of single couples there–it seemed like they were all older couples or couple our age (many of who were on their honeymoons).

Cinderalla’s castle was still beautiful, even after I’ve seen real castles, including the one it’s modeled after!

Main Street, USA is pretty much my ideal town!

We had breakfast at the adorable Main Street Bakery. I had a very good cinnamon roll–I liked it much more than the Cinnabon one I had at Universal Studios later in the week.

Joseph on the Magic Carpet ride.

Sorry for my absence–my internet was down at home for a few weeks. Shortly before I left I gave In the Wabe a bit of a facelift. What do you think?

One of my best friends Aly recently visited with her sister Maddy and we had a blast traveling around together. Aly & I have been friends since third grade but hadn’t seen each other in over a year. She and Maddy are both over six foot and play volleyball at Trinity University in San Antonio.

They spent a few days in Venice, and I picked them up at the train station there. We spent three days around the area before I sent them off to Verona and then Innsbruck, Austria. Then we met up in Milan and they headed to Monaco alone before leaving from Venice.

We picnicked at Lake Barcis, which I posted about a couple months ago–swiss cheese, mortadella, salami, and cantaloupe.

Maddy and Aly.

Aly’s gelato at one of my favorite gelaterias. Hers was vanilla cream ice cream, whipped cream, fruit, nuts, and chocolate sauce.

One day we headed to nearby town of Sacile. I’d never been but a lot of Americans I know live there. It is such a cute and picturesque little town and even has a river running through it!

Maddy and Aly. Aly was standing a step above her in the photo.

My friend and sort-of-cousin is making her way around Europe and visited me for a week. We became friends one summer before we realized we share a cousin. I hadn’t seen her in three or four years be we got along very well while she was here!

Her first day here we went to Venice. Ellen’s photo

Later in the week I took her to Verona, which is only about two hours away by train. I had been to Verona twice, but each time was on a tour so that I’d only spent a couple hours in the city alone. This day we were there for six and a half hours and really got to sight-see!

The Verona Arena, a Roman amphitheater.  In the summer the arena holds operas!  We saw La Boheme a couple years ago and are planning on going back in August, though we haven’t decided yet which performance to see.

The first stop was of course “Juliet’s balcony,” which is a balcony attached to a wall. It definitely never belonged to the Capulet’s, and as far as I know the balcony wasn’t even attached until the 1930’s. The first time I went to Verona, in February 2007, we saw the “real” Capulet and Montague castles–side-by-side on separate hills, they were over an hour’s car ride away from the city where the balcony is located. Something about that isn’t right.

In Juliet’s courtyard under her balcony there is a statue of her; you’re supposed to stroke her right breast for good luck.

Castelvechhio Bridge

Ellen hangin’ out in Castelvecchio

Me on a small drawbridge that was right next to a large drawbridge

We had to ask some French tourists to take this photo so we could send it to our parents! Ellen’s photo

More on the outfit in the above photos?

Note: this photo was on a separate day!
Dress from H&M, cardigan from J. Crew, t-strap flats from Anthropologie

The links in the right toolbar suddenly aren’t appearing!  I’m not sure what happened–one day I looked and they were gone.

Warning: this is going to be a pretty big post.

Joseph and I recently took our greatest trip so far–four days in beautiful Paris! It was lovely and wonderful, and I can’t wait to go back again! The city is huge, but in four days I got to see nearly everything I wanted.

April 4

One of the first things we saw in the city:

How adorable is this hotel? I’m not normally the “take-a-photo-of-your-Best-Western-suite” type of gal, but I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this cute French room. Much better than a Best Western, in my opinion!

The Arc de Triomphe–this was much bigger than I anticipated. I guess I was expecting it to be around the same size as the arches I’ve seen in Rome, but of course Napoleon went all out on this one!

Every time I walked through gravel my nice leather boots looked hilarious! Joseph thankfully found a rag to clean them off–but not until our second day.

The Louvre! Only Europe can make yellow so beautiful.

This was taken inside the famous glass pyramid! I actually thought the pyramid looked pretty ugly and out of place, but it does make for nice photos.

Our first day there I just had to see the Eiffel Tower! I’ve always thought it was beautiful, but I never expected it to be so big! Pictures can not adequately describe how gigantic it is.

We climbed to the first level, and that was high enough for me. After that we sat in the lawn and watched the tower light up as the sun set. By the time the sky was dark, the tower was a solid orange color. In person it looked like it had completely transformed into an orange that looked perfect with the blue sky–as if the metal had actually changed colors.