Friday, May 28, 2010

Paying Michael & Sam a Return Visit: On an Errand to Find Chance a Pink Bed, Part One

As packed as our March trip to Europe was--with visits to Frankfurt, Venice, Soave, Padua, Verona, and Vicenza--its brevity left so much unseen and undone even in the confines of northern Italy.  What to do, then, but to go back?  Watching air fares, I soon found an itinerary on sale, and under the extracted promise to return with the pink Italian leather dog bed for Chance I'd nixed on our original trip (we'd nowhere to put it!), I boarded a flight for another whirlwind tour of northern Italy.

I won't dwell upon the flight itself--I decided (with mixed results) not to use one of my remaining upgrades to business class since I planned to sleep through the flight--and after a rainy, overcast connection time spent in the lounge at Munich's airport, I was on the ground in Verona, where Sam met me at the train station.  We dropped my bags with a left-luggage counter and headed out for an evening on the town.

After a bit of shopping--we visited Caffee Cubino where Beth had admired the cups and china for sale in the window, where I picked up a set of hand-painted espresso cups and saucers for the great price of 10 euros each--Sam suggested a walk to the Castelvecchio, which we hadn't seen on our prior visit.  This small but impressive fortress was, if I understand correctly, built by the Romans as a deterrent against the Venetians and other aggressive neighbors and had changed hands many times over the centuries.  The late-afternoon sun really lit up the bridge over the Adige River quite well; the "magical hour" of photography came through and delivered.

Sam spotted the composition above; I'd stopped to photograph a pigeon sticking its head out of one of the little arrow slits in the fortress wall, and Sam remarked what a great photo it was going to make--referring to the shadows I only then noticed!

Michael is at the tail-end of his current job in Italy, and of course that has meant lots of little details which have  popped up.  The evening I arrived, Michael had planned to come and join Sam and me in Verona for dinner at their favorite pizza place, but he got stuck at the office late--then had the doubly-bad luck of a flat tire on his way to pick us up!  We ended up heading back to Vicenza, and as Michael had to work on Friday, too, we opted to eat in and enjoyed some great pasta at Sam's capable hands.

Friday morning, Sam and I set out to accomplish the one requirement of my entire trip: to pick up the pink Italian leather dog bed for Chance which Beth had spied out on our first trip.  And to be sure, the prospective costs of shipping for said bed plus the German coffee I picked up amounted to a decent chunk of my airfare (having sent Beth's friend Ursula a small thank-you gift, we're unfortunately all-too-familiar with transatlantic shipping costs!)--and instead of clicking on a web site to make an order, I got to go and visit Michael & Sam to boot.

The pupsters also got some fruit-flavored dog treats, and Neptune received a packet of "grasbits"--catnip and grass-flavored kitty treats. Sam and I hiked around Vicenza a bit, hoping to hook up with Michael as soon as he got done at the office, but alas, Michael got stuck at work again, so Sam and I caught the train for Venice on our own--after a stop for a cold glass of German beer.

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