Chewbacca Would’ve Had Trouble in Italy

As the keeper of three incorrigible dachshunds, a three-legged Australian Shepherd, and a Bengal cat prone to STD’s, I was hardly surprised when my trip to Italy was jeopardized by a wayward pussy.

Since we live in the same neighborhood, my traveling companions offered to give me a ride to the airport.  Our flight was a 9 p.m., and they were to pick me up between 6:30 and 7.  Knowing my traveling companions, whom I’ll refer to as “Nathan” and his “lovely wife,” I knew my pickup would be somewhere around 7:10.

At 7:15, they pulled into the driveway, where I was sitting on my suitcase playing solitaire on my iPhone. As the mother of teenage daughters, I have learned to play solitaire when waiting to hear the clop-clop of their high heels on the stairwell, meaning they’re FINALLY ready to go.   Somehow, solitaire works for me.

Nathan and his lovely wife were late, by the way, because they couldn’t corral their cat.  They were having the hardwood floors in their home refinished during the trip to Europe, and the cat was discombobulated by the furniture moving and suitcase packing.  When it came time for them to leave and for kitty cat to go stay with the wife’s mom, kitty caused a ruckus.

My cousin, who happens to be a Delta pilot, drove us to the airport and got us to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport in record time.  Thankfully, efficient curbside check-in and light traffic in the security lanes on a Thursday evening had us at the gate with time to spare.

I’ve never been a huge fan of flying, and those overnight flights in economy class are the stuff of nightmares for me.  Well, they used to be.  On this trip, I discovered the magic combination of Ambien plus KLM’s complimentary glass of wine with dinner.

I woke up when the captain was saying the Dutch equivalent of “Put your seat backs up and store your shit.  It’s time to land.”

As a public service to my readers, I offer this advice:  Don’t EVER change planes in Amsterdam’s Schipol airport.  That’s the one the crotch bomber fooled back in December.  Now, they’re cavity searching all blonde-haired Americans to make up for that grave mistake.  Trust me, a direct flight to Italy is the better choice.

All the travel hassles were forgotten, however, when we landed in Venice.  A ten-minute walk took us to a water taxi that delivered us to a spot on the Grand Canal just a short walk to our hotel.

John Berendt, who wrote the bestselling Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, wrote a book about Venice called The City of Falling Angels.  The book opens with a devastating fire that destroyed the Fenice Opera House in Venice in 1996.  The Fenice has since been restored, and our hotel, the Fenice Hotel, was within steps of the Opera House.  I’d also picked up a book called A Thousand Nights in Venice by Marlena de Blasi.  It opens at a small wine bar called Vino Vino, which I spotted just steps away from our hotel.  Needless to say, I felt right at home while pulling my suitcase over two bridges and several cobblestone walkways on the way to the hotel.

Right at home, that is, until I got to my hotel room. The shower in my room was nothing more than a hose attached to a spigot, and it was not attached to the wall.  It had to be held by hand.  SinceI have as much hair as Chewbacca, it’s pretty much impossible to lather my hair with one hand.  And shaving in Venice?  Wasn’t. Going. To. Happen.  I now know why European women are legendary for not shaving their armpits.  They can’t.

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