Sunday, December 27, 2015

It's A Gnome-y Gnome World

  I made a big old promise to myself that I would post more, and so's going pretty well.
  Just looky here! I said I'd post about my pals, the Gnomes, before the end of the year... and I think I might just pull it off. 

  This one is a true labor of love, as I have gotten into a little trouble over the years taking photographs of these little fellas. Normally found in the front gardens of private residences, I have to be sneaky and quick. Getting busted is something I just don't want. And it has happened.

  It can go one of two ways...either the owner of the garden thinks it's fine, or I am screamed at/barked at, and chased back to the waiting car where Johnny sits mortified, as I slip into my seat...tail firmly betwixt my shaking thighs.

  Oh, yeah. It's happened. More than once. I've sworn never to do it again...but I'm hooked, I tell you...HOOKED.
  Who wouldn't be? The hunt is half the fun, and when they just pop up, totally's irresistible. 
  Damn you Gnomes, and your cheery smiles and pointy hats and weird ass colors! 
  I love you.

  And here, again... I must say... Johnny is a saint to put up with me and my foto fetishes. Bless his heart. After all, he's the one driving and stopping at my every scream of "Oh-My-God..PULL OVER!" 
  He doesn't even ask why anymore. He just sighs and finds a safe spot.
  I love him.
  So, despite my yearly promise of this is the last goes.

  Ok, so this year, I have gnomes from Umbria and Venice. I found them all over the joint.

(Can I just mention that when I write "Nice" as a one word sentence, I am imagining it in Mike Tyson's voice, with a slight lisp, like in the movie "The Hangover"....?) 

  Like my Mirror Shots, I always think I've found them all, and then I find more that I have not seen before. It's un-natural, I tell you. Where do they come from? Are they gettin' it on somewhere in the shrubbery?

  This guy wasn't. He was all by his lonesome self in an olive grove, just whistling away....

"Hey, where'd everybody go?"

  Mostly I find them in groups of two or three...

If I was a thirteen year old boy, there would be a fart joke here.
No, no, go right ahead. Knock yourself out.

  The thing is, there aren't that many different 'sets' of gnomes or setti nani (seven dwarves), and I do end up seeing versions of the same fellows in different gardens. Some are pretty washed out, color wise...

Working hard in the cactus patch.

Same garden, just across the path.

  Sometimes they are so washed out, they blend in and I almost miss seeing them. Good thing the garden below had a couple of twirly wind thingys. That's what gave the gnomes away.

Another garden of washed out pals.

  In Spello, a beautiful little gem of a hill town south of us, I came across a spot with several small setti nani, all tucked away within a cluster of potted plants...

He's taking advantage of his 'spa privileges' and soaking in a mud bath, I guess.

This guy was really trying to hide.
I see you, dude. You and your little chicken.

I'm not going to say anything about that...umm...that 'mushroom',
 and how he's holding it... and just smiling.
Really, I'm not.

Last of the tiny gang.
These are the smallest I've found. In the wild, at least.
I have to wonder about that cigar, though...Seems kind of macho in this setting.

  I am loving seeing all these guys again, really. Honestly, some I have no memory of. 
  Yikes! They put a spell on me.....


Another gardening Gnome.
You're hired!

I have taken a photo of this fellow, in Cortona, before.
But now he has a stalker, so I guess I'll leave him alone.
She pretty much creeps me out.


These guys were hanging around in Burano.
I love the color.

Same front yard as above.

  The Gnome below is a favorite (so far) of all time. ALL TIME, I say.

  We were on bikes, way down near the southern end of the Lido just outside of Venice, cruising around a neighborhood, when I spotted him. He was taking a break from his construction job, and as most gnomes do, having a nice hit off the old pipe.

  We asked him how it was going, and he said he had another two, three weeks left on this job, but didn't have anything else lined up until spring
  We told him not to worry, it would all work out. He just chuckled and said "We gnomes don't really worry, we know we can always find work gardening, or just hanging around in gardens. I just do this for a little extra cash so I can travel the world and follow the big waves."
  Then we talked about Mavericks for like, an hour.
  Who knew?

  There are Gnomes, and then there are Setti Nani, or Seven Dwarves, as in Snow White 'and the'...
  These are fairy tale characters, often taken right from the Disney animated film, or images conjured from the original Brothers Grimm books.
  I am always on the look out for a full set of Snow White and her seven wee escorts. It's a major score. Sometimes there will be lots of various other figures in the gathering, sometimes not all seven of the 'nani'. 
  All I know is that I can get more than a little light-headed and short of breath when I do have even a slight sighting, let alone a grand party, as below....

We are talking Gnomes & Snow White & The Seven Dwarves!
I am not sure if this is legal in all countries, but hey..this is Italy.

This is a pretty cool mash-up, too.
Almost a full set, but with some 'fillers',  just because. 

Now this is a perfect, and I mean perfect set.
Everyone accounted for, and in good shape.
Nice. (in the voice, in the voice..)

This is a very nice group, but sadly,
they are missing their Mistress.
 Maybe it's more fun without her? I don't think so.

  Lastly, we have quite an extraordinary find. And I almost walked right by, because it was in a window of a glass shop on a very narrow and super crowded walkway in Venice. 
  In fact, I was just starting to get bitchy about it all, when all of a sudden....

The clouds opened, and the angels started singing.....
I can't believe I didn't buy this set for myself.
But that is one slippery slope I do not want to go down, friends.

  So, there you have it. And before the end of the year, by golly.
  If you have enjoyed this post, you may want to take a gander at previous posts, HERE.

  Hang with me, Dear Readers...there's more to come!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Day Out: Mazzorbo & Burano

 While going through photos from our trip to Umbria and Venice in the fall, I realized that I had not really taken a true look at them.
  I guess when we arrived back home, we had to hit the ground running...and I just sort of filed them away for another time. 
  Another time? What the? 
  I have got to start paying attention to my intentions! 

  Please, Dear Lord of Blogging...don't let me become one of those bloggers that all of a sudden drops off the map, and when you visit the blog, the last entry was from.. like, 2 years ago….Amen.
  Let's get back to the task at hand.
  We had an awesome trip, and did so much in such a short amount of time. Lots of art, food and stunning views, of course. This was our forth time in Venice, and we always go to take in the Biennale,  one of the longest running contemporary art exhibitions in the world. 
  I look forward to posting more about it soon….

  While visiting Venice, one of our best 'look forward to' outings is a boat ride to Mazzorbo for lunch, followed by a walk around Burano. I do believe we have done this each time we have traveled to Venice. We always have lunch at the same little trattoria, and the walk about afterwards usually includes a stop for a glass of wine before hopping the boat to head back to Venice proper.

  The boat ride is a big part of the fun, as we get to see Venice from out on the water....


It's always good to choose a nice day for this little adventure.

It was nice to see the Campanile without
scaffolding. It looks lovely.

Gets a little choppy when you head out of the Grand Canal.

  Mazzorbo/Burano are about a 40 minute boat ride from Venice, I'm thinking. Just long enough to feel like you've gone somewhere different....And you have.
  Both little island communities are well known for their super-saturated colored houses. These are images famous around the world, for sure.
  I still snap plenty of my own photos...who wouldn't?
  We were early for lunch on this day trip, so we took some time to walk around to the outskirts of Mazzorbo. Not hard to do, as the place is pretty tiny.
  Colorful, though.

I just fell hard for the detail around these windows.

Three separate places to live, distinguished by color, of course.

We came across these beauties in a small garden on Mazzorbo.

Another lovely 'find'.....

Venice just across the way.

  We were there on a Monday, and evidently someone had just been married the day before. We followed this trail of balloons along several fences leading first to the small church, and then to the reception site.

All along the way we found balloons and pink ribbons from the wedding
the day before. I could just imagine the whole community being involved in this.

Buon Fortunata, Giulia and Dario!

  After spending some time checking out the church, which was beautiful, we headed back to our favorite lunch spot, Trattoria alls Maddalena. We had made sure it was open on a Monday, and that the weather would be nice enough to sit outside, just how we like it.

It soon filled up outside, and seemed as though we were the only
folks speaking English. A good sign!

  Naturally in this area, seafood reigns supreme. We 'oooo' and 'ahhh' over plates of whole fried fish and piles of prawns as they go by, but we stick to the few vegetarian items available here.
  For the two of us, it's a must visit...the food is fine... very simple, nothing really super fantastic. We just love sitting outside and relaxing as we watch the small fishing boats slip by. We have been sitting here when fishing boats pull up, tie off, and the occupants just hop out for lunch.
  There are better known places to have meal here, but this one is "our place".

We started with a caprese salad.....

...and some very pretty grilled polenta.

This is what I am talking about, people.
Simple. Tasty.

  As for our main dish, we both had spaghetti with a red sauce. The sauce here is very nice, and the thing that brings us back the most. It totally reminds me of my grandma's 'gravy'....
  I know this looks very main stream, but we'll go again and again, just because. We just love the location, which is way off the beaten path of the over crowded Burano.

Grilled veggies. A must.

We had a half litre of the house white, which we slowly sipped
as we finished our pasta...

…then split dessert.
House made tiramisu, which we hardly ever order,
but this one is very yummy.

  Needless to say, we were a couple of happy campers.

p.s. I had no idea how freaking HUGE those sunglasses are!
p.s.s. they hide many sins....

  Having filled our bellies, we had two choices.
  1) Take a long nap in the sun.
  2) Take a walk around Burano and behold the beauty.

  We went for the walk. Life is too short to nap...especially when you have only a few precious days left in Venice.
  First we went through the little park nearby, and saw the old and leaning church tower...

This is also the vineyard that is now part of the upscale hotel,
Venissa. A bit rich for our blood, but fun to walk through!
You should look into it, though.

  Afterwards, it was just a long, gentle stroll along the canals and through the narrow streets of colorful Burano.......

Johnny says this looks like something out of
"The Wizard of Oz".


"I live in the little yellow house,
between the blue house and the purple house".

  I am so glad I went back to look at my photos. It's like a little taste of something good.
  I hope we can return in 2017 for the next Biennale, and look forward to posting something about the artwork I liked this year.

  Venice is a dream.