Thursday, January 8, 2015

My Italian, home, water, free birth Part 2

 Later that morning, around 6:45am, my husband departed with our older son to get blood work done at the metabolic unit at the hospital in Padova. We had also taken a sample of our newborn son’s blood for them to examine for genetic conditions. At 7am our translator enthusiastically called. “I just saw the missed calls! Oh my, is it time!? I am so excited! I will call the midwife!” I laughed and let her know that she had already missed all of the action. The baby arrived, the midwives had come and gone, and we had gotten sleep. She was surprised that it had happened so quickly, and profusely apologized for missing it. She came to visit me a few hours later and meet the new guy.
Our landlady from upstairs also came down to visit as she often does, and I opened our front door, greeting her with a new baby. She was shocked as I told her the story of his arrival in their bathtub over the night. Around 9 am some of my girlfriends came to visit with their little ones and all of our kids had a mini play date at my house. This is another thing that would not have been able to happen in the hospital. I would have been stuck there for two days and my Italian friends would have been unable to get onto the base and my girlfriends with small children would have been unable to visit, as children are not allowed in the recovery rooms. I recalled my first son’s birth. My husband spent most of the time attempting to unpack our newly arrived household goods, and I had one visitor. I had no one to show off the baby to, and it was quite lonely and dull in the hospital. There was also no Internet available and I was unable to even let the family know that he had arrived. Here at home we had Internet and were able to video chat or call most of our family that same day. Even the post birth situation was a vast improvement at home from my time in the hospital.

Later that night our sweet friends snuck over to decorate our fence line and car, announcing to all that passed by that our new son had arrived! It is the custom here in Italy to place ribbons on the fences and houses for occasions like this. There are many colors of ribbons, but I don’t know what they all signify, just that blue is for boys and pink is for girls. I am quite fond of this tradition and the Italian's exuberant celebration of life.
A few days later my good friend and neighbor took some family and newborn photos for us. She is so talented and I love the way they turned out!

Most people desire to have their newborn's photos taken when they are sleeping so they can pose them easier, however I am partial to the open eyes as it shows glimpses of their personality more than a sleeping baby. 

Just to show you how talented she is, let me tell you that this photo, never actually happened! We were unable to get both children to cooperate for a joint photo. So she took one of each time they were cooperative, and photoshopped them together so I could get a brother/sibling photo. ^_^

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Italian, home, water, free birth! Part 1

During my birth experience with my first child, I determined at that moment that the next birth would be a home birth. The whole situation had been nothing but stressful and depressing, and I was eager for an entirely different experience. And I certainly got it with the home birth!
            To start, I sought out information on home births and midwives, and it was a long process. I started on the base and asked the OB clinic’s front desk if they had information about local midwives. The surprised secretary told me they did not have such information, but here was a packet on the dangers of home birth. Ha, thank you, but not what I was looking for. I then went to TriCare, our military insurance company, to discuss what they may and may not cover. They will not cover a cent of the birth or midwife and I was asked to sign forms saying I had been informed of all this. That was fine by us, we had saved specifically for this occasion, but I thought I would give it a go nonetheless.
            I then searched out midwives in the area. The nearest were located around 1 – 1.5 hrs drive from my place. I contacted women I knew who had previously done home births here in Italy and then contacted the midwife that looked most compatible with me, Caterina.
            Caterina came to my house and met with me, along with her assistant and a translator that I had hired to assist with smooth communication. My Italian has certainly improved during my stay here, however my speech is still very basic and to ensure accuracy I wanted a more fluent person as our go between. My translator is a dynamic person, able to change hats and do many jobs. Her main job is as a maid, and that was how I originally met her. She is also my neighbor, living only a few doors down, and we use her as a sitter from time to time. When I called and asked her if she would be interested in translating for me and attending my birth, she said it would be an honor and she would be happy to.
            We all gathered at my place and I interviewed the midwives, giving them the lengthy questionnaire I had prepared; it was about 5 pages long. We started very general, from her schooling background and what made her want to be a midwife to her experience with nuchal cords and breech. Some of my questions made my translator rather uncomfortable. At one point my translator blushed as she saw the next question on the sheet. “Oh you don’t really want me to ask her that… do you??” “Yes, of course! I think it’s good to know.” Rather hesitantly she asked the midwife if she had ever lost a baby at a birth she delivered. The midwife smiled and replied she had not lost a one.
            We were a good fit and I quite liked her. She was expensive, 175 a visit and over 2,000 for the birth, which made my husband reconsider, however in the end we went with it and signed the papers to make it official. I continued to be seen by the OB clinic on the base at my whim. They did two ultrasounds and 4 appointments total. It was great doing it this way. The base clinic had 5-6 OB’s that would rotate, so you could end up with any one of them the day of your delivery, depending whom was on duty. Because of this, the front desk would try to schedule you with someone different every time you went in so you at least got to meet them each once in case they were your doctor the day of the birth. Since I wasn’t going to deliver with them though, I didn’t have to abide by this policy. I found a midwife I liked and she was the one I met with each appointment. And neither did I follow their schedule of going in every month and then every 2 weeks. I went in when I felt like it, 2 of those appointments were simply so I could get my ultrasound results. It was fabulous to have consistency and be able to see the doctor only when necessary. 
Washed and folded! Lucky kid is set in hand-me-downs.
            The next manner of business was to prepare. I like to plan and organize as much as possible for everything, but that can be difficult to do if you don’t know when the baby is coming. As such, my first order of business was to consult the calendar and pick a date for the baby to arrive. Labor can be induced in numerous ways, and I find that the majority of my friends opt for various routes to induce, as after 39 weeks, most pregnant ladies are exhausted and ready to be done. Most people get their membranes stripped, but I hear this is quite painful, and not always successful. My friends who have done it have also usually had inconsistent practice contractions for a very long time and sometimes bleeding before real labor begins, and even then their labor can be long. Sometimes it doesn’t work well and they have to go back in for another attempt a week later. I wasn’t fond of that idea, and neither do I think it as natural as one could do. Other friends have scheduled a day and gone in and started the Pitocin in order to attempt and begin labor. Though these labors also usually take a long time, and seem to leave the baby in distress more than other options might. I wanted to induce labor in a more natural manner.
            My husband and I did it with our first child, though not entirely meaning to. I did a few things that were recommended, not putting much faith into it but hoping to no longer be pregnant, and he came the next morning! After that and my experience with cancer, I was a full believer and read up on natural induction techniques. So my hubby and I consulted the calendar and picked a day we favored. We wanted to have the little guy before the end of the year so we would be able to file him on our taxes and also for the sake of the grandparents. My brother and I have this thing going where we trade off having kids every year so that our parents will receive one a year (This also makes it easy for them to remember their ages!). He had already informed me that he would be able to take 2015, so if I didn’t get mine into 2014 I would mess up the whole system. We also wanted a day that would maximize my husband’s leave. He automatically receives 10 days from the day of the birth. So if we were to have the baby on a Saturday, four of the days in his given leave would have already been days off. In order to maximize it we thought a Monday would be best. We also wanted a date that was easy to remember. Now all the boys in the family have birthdays ending on the same digit.
            After selecting the date to shoot for, I consulted my various calendars and methods. I consulted the moon phases since his conception (knowing that date was very beneficial!) as they say it is far less successful until after a certain amount of phases have passed since the conception date. It was going to be close; he was going to be just barely past the mark, as long as God didn’t decide to send him sooner, then we could make that day work. Then we got to work preparing! I had the weeks prior all mapped out.
            I was definitely thrown off schedule when we were unexpectedly hospitalized with our firstborn PKU child due to crazy high PHE levels, however my hubby was able to take care of things and keep us on track.
My guys, building the double stroller. ^_^ I had wanted a double jogger, 
but after much debate we settled on the one my hubby was partial to, a sit and stand.

Item on the to-do list, wash the playpen for baby #2. If you
have one and have never washed it, I highly recommend 
doing it! Despite never using it outside or allowing our eldest
to eat in it, he still managed to grub it up. :P ew

        Two weeks prior we did a deep clean of our house. As in moving furniture to mop underneath sort of thing, and my hubby bleaching the mold spots in our house (the humidity is high in Italy and mold is a frequent battle). We did deep cleaning the weeks prior and the weekend before the planned day made the final touches.
On Sunday the 28th our translator called and asked how things were going and if there were any signs yet. I had had some few random half hearted practice contractions the week previous, but nothing interesting and no labor, so I said no, nothing yet. Little did I know how this simple conversation would later affect things.
We decided that Sunday was the day we began our natural induction process as we were shooting for the next day and I was unsure how long it would take for things to take effect.   I started in the afternoon, as starting too soon might have resulted in him coming a day ahead of schedule. I did everything I was able to do on that one day; from the ridiculous exercises to the ridiculous foods, I did it all. I only ate salads with vinegar and gobs of pineapple and tea until I thought I would vomit it all up.

Part of the reason I had to drink soooo much tea, was that it was not pure raspberry leaf tea, but also part raspberry. I was unable to find strictly raspberry leaf tea locally, so to compensate, I simply drank a ton! Next time, I am going to order the good stuff ahead of time and spare myself the tea overdose.

The day culminated with a pressure point massage (courtesy of hubby) and a little love making ;) [isn’t it great to know that the ingredients that got you into this mess can also get you out!?]. I departed after that. “Where are you going?” my hubby asked. “Walking!” I said with a wink. I read it was important to do things in that order, so walk I did. I put “Whenever, Whereever” by Shakira on repeat and danced laps around our kitchen. I opened my phone to the contraction counter I had ready and my computer to a website detailing the stages of labor so I could figure out my stage based on the time of contractions.
            And lo and behold, the contractions came within minutes. What threw me off were the websites I was on describing contractions and the labor stages. They generally said you would have far apart sporadic contractions and that  Eventually they'll [contractions] be coming every five minutes and lasting 40 to 60 seconds each as you reach the end of early labor”. However, mine were not inconsistent, they were very consistent and quite frequent, coming every minute and a half and lasting the 40-60 seconds.
 I read things like that over and over and was like, shoot, I’m already there? This can’t be it. I only just started, already at the end of labor? The contractions were hardly even painful and I often failed to notice one until it passed. I kept at it though, remaining hopeful, and danced for about an hour in the kitchen. However after that hour nothing had changed and my counter looked roughly the same and there was no increase in pain. I was very frustrated. This must be false labor, Braxton Hicks contractions they call them. I had been so convinced that all our efforts and planning would have set things in motion. We were ready, everything was prepared and the house was spick and span, now was the perfect time! I had done all the natural induction advice I could squeeze into the day. Why hadn’t this worked!? Ticked off, I closed up shop, shutting off the music and electronics and heading to bed at 10:30pm. 
              I fell fast asleep and awoke at 12:15am in pain. hm, maybe it worked after all. ;) Supposedly one way to see if one is having false labor is to vary positions and relax and if the contractions go away, then it’s not the real deal. So I drew a bath figuring it would be warm and relaxing for false labor, or I would be readying my water birth if this were the real deal. Win-win. I hopped in the bath and after 15 mins things hadn’t changed. Oh how exciting, this was it! I phoned my hubby from the bathroom (yes, because we are of the generation that always has our phones on us. I have answered calls while showering before and I knew my hubby would have his cell on his nightstand, so I called him) and told him I was fairly certain I was in labor.  
            His sleepy self rolled out of bed and brought a chair into the bathroom where he sat next to the tub. He was continually yawning and seemed quite disinterested in having a birth right then. I felt bad for waking him and said, “You can go back to bed if you want; this probably isn’t it”. Mid yawn he replied, “Eh, I’ll stick around for a few more minutes”. However within a few minutes, things had rapidly progressed.
Our home birth supplies kit we gathered, as instructed by
our midwife. We only ended up using a couple items, as my 
birth was fairly straight forward and uncomplicated.
Since labor with my first child was 6 hours from water breaking til birth, the midwife had asked to be notified as soon as we determined I was in labor. We quickly decided that this was it and we needed to call the translator who would then call the midwife. So my hubby called, and called, and called… She didn’t pick up. We would later learn that she and her friend had done an emergency cleaning, of sorts, for some military members who were due to have their house packed up the next day for their move. The cleaning company they had booked with canceled on them, so my friend took their spot. She told me later it was a horrific situation. There were vast amounts of mold, it was quite filthy, and mice were literally scampering around the house. Also, their kitchen sink didn’t work; so the ladies had to haul hot water from the upstairs bathroom in order to do the cleaning. After a rough day of cleaning, she was exhausted and sore. After learning that I was not yet in labor, she took some medicine that knocked her out, and she never heard her phone go off.
So my husband continued to call, but received no reply. Then my water broke. “Skip the translator, call the midwife!” I told him. We would have to manage without the translator, and the midwife would know what was up if she received a call from my husband in the middle of the night. So my husband called, and she didn’t pick up either. On one of his consecutive calls, she picked up and let him know she would call her associate and that they would both be on their way. My hubby hung up. Someone was coming, however we both knew they wouldn’t arrive before the baby did.
My husband admitted being quite nervous as he realized it was now up to him to catch the baby. I however, was rather excited. I had always wanted to do a free birth, but to be on the safe side and mostly to make my husband feel better, we had hired a midwife. For me, the fewer the people around, the better. I find they are distracting and only get in the way, whether or not they are intending to help.
Around 7ish minutes after my water broke, our second child was born, at 1:26am. Barely over an hour since I had first woken. My hubby did a great job and it was an excellent bonding time for all of us. DS2 was born with a tint of blue to the face and rings of fire around his irises, but his color came to him quickly and the fire of his eyes was gone after several weeks. I then sat with my new baby in the warm bath and we relaxed there together while my DH made our bed ready. I birthed the placenta not long after that, which we placed in a Tupperware so we could leave the cord attached to the baby. I had no qualms with cutting the cord, however I have read that up to a 1/3 of the new baby’s blood supply can be transferred to them just after the birth through the placenta, so just because we could, we left it attached. We then carried the baby and the tupperware to the bed. I got cleaned up and donned the pajamas I had laid out for after birth and snuggled into bed with him.
Clean up was easy, it was all in the bathtub. While I fed the baby my hubby did the quick clean up. Towels were promptly placed in the washer and things put away. I marveled at how easy the birth had been. Don’t get me wrong, it was certainly painful! But compared to my first son, this birth was far more low-key. It was quick and simple, and our elder son never even woke, and his room is right next to our bathroom. One midwife showed up about 40 mins after the birth. She came and measured and weighed the baby (9lbs 6oz!). My hubby boiled hot water for her medical supplies and then she inspected me. She exclaimed, “Bravisima!” as I had not a tear from my good sized son. She was very impressed with us and found she had nothing to do after having my husband cut the cord. Then the second midwife arrived and we reviewed things and she also found she was not needed and had nothing to do. So they congratulated us and they departed by 3 am.
After they left, hubby and I decided that we would simply go back to bed. So we snuggled down and went back to sleep! Here at home I was in my own pajamas, and no one would be coming in every half hour to do vitals on the baby or inspect me or measure my pee, etc. No one would tell me I could not have my baby in my bed and to store him in the plastic cart instead. I was not hooked up to Pitocin and unable to move freely, nor were there things attached to my arms preventing me from bending and being able to hold my baby. No beeping machines or blinking lights, simply, our room. I was so happy with the stark contrast to the birth with my first son as it had been quite miserable for me. This was precisely the 180o experience I had hoped and prayed for. Hallelujah!  

DS2's first picture ^_^ My older son's first picture looks just like every other first baby's picture. He's in a shirt with the hospital's logo on it, wrapped in a starched white cloth on starch white sheets in a plastic rolling crate with ID bands on his limbs (rather like the morgue come to think of it... lying on a rolling crate with starch white sheets and ID bands. creepy). Our second son's first pic is in our home in clothes we chose and under love knit blankets. <3

Friday, November 14, 2014

Why You Should Never Miss a Nap Time

Advice I was frequently given when my munchkin was first born was to: "Sleep when baby sleeps!" I thought it was solely for the purpose of keeping up on one's own sleep hours, however over a year and half later, I still sleep when my baby sleeps. Despite the possible productivity possibilities nap time provides, some things are more important.  

"But don't forget...
There is a last time for everything.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.
The thing is, you won't even know it's the last time
Until there are no more times.
So while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them,
for when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of these.
For one last time."

(Poem excerpt taken from a poem entitled, "The Last Time" with an unknown author)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

"Next Chapter!"

I recall thinking about the new year, back in 2012, and I recall posting that I felt 2013 was going to be a very big year for me. Indeed, with moving to Italy and having our first kid, and then the unexpected health issues, it certainly was an intense year! 2014 has been different, and I am quite ready for a new chapter in life. Hopefully a more relaxed and slow paced one. ;) 

Here is our official announcement, we are expecting round 2, due December 28th-January 6th.
Our oldest was so excited at the news of being a big brother, that he crumpled his little brother's first ever picture. -_- At least, I'm hoping that is why he crumpled it...

 AND! It's another boy. Whew, clothes and everything else just got waaayyy easier. There is really no prep necessary for this baby. It is so much simpler the second time around! 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

So... What's up with my Health?

That is a very good question, and for a long time I didn’t have a very clear answer, thus I was hesitant to say anything, but now I do believe I have been healed! That may be jumping ahead of myself, and I know I’m terrible at keeping people updated so that’s partly my fault.

A health update is long overdue, and this is a very exciting one to write. Since we started doing scans and blood work in January of this year, everything has been good news each time.

            In May I met with my main doctor and the surgeon who performed my partial thyroidectomy over a year ago now (my time flies!), we were reviewing the results of the ultrasound scans and blood work. The blood work showed normal, healthy thyroid activity levels and the ultrasound results showed the lymph nodes had shrunk! The spot on my lungs was already deemed to have disappeared a few months prior, and we had a solid theory for the unchanging mass in my chest (which I shall explain in a moment).

We were supposed to have another CT scan in late April to specifically see how the mass was doing, as everything else could be monitored via ultrasound. However, in April we also discovered that we would soon be expecting an addition to our family (yay for surprises! Trust, me we did not have intentions of creating another life until we had a better buffer with my health issues, but apparently we excel at conceiving when we don’t mean to… lol). As CT scans are unsafe for expecting women, it was out of the question. Since the ultrasounds and blood work were all positive results, our only concern was the mass in my chest, which despite everything I had done, remain unchanged, (unlike the spot, the lymph nodes, and the blood work. I felt like I got 3 out of 4 and just couldn’t budge that last one).  

The doc did some research and believes that the mass might have been unrelated to the cancer and is in fact a thymus. Everyone is born with one of these, however, after one hits puberty, it is supposed to no longer be necessary and will shrink up, and disappear. She said that although it is rare, it is not unheard of to still have a thymus, and the shape and location matched up with where the thymus would be, however it was flagged as something that should not be there because for the majority of people, it isn’t, so they assumed it went along with the rest of my cancer when in fact it might not be. (Wow, SUPER glad that I didn’t opt to relocate my entire family to the states and get a major intensive surgery to find that out… although they would have treated the rest of the cancer as well, that unnecessary discovery certainly would have been a bummer). Since this is our new theory (along with the fact that I am pregnant), I don’t believe I will be doing another CT scan anytime soon (which is more than fine by me!).

So, where does this leave me? I asked her, continually at each appointment in fact, if this deems me as a clear bill of health. She continued to say, no, not exactly, and that my condition should continue to be monitored over the next few years via follow up ultrasounds and blood work. I am fine with such monitoring, but not getting an official diagnosis for, YEARS?? That was a depressing thought. This limbo of either having or not having cancer could last for, years?? (I suppose this would be considered remission, the state when one has decreased or no signs of cancer in the body, but cancer may still be in the body, just not currently active. If it doesn’t return after a couple years, THEN you are considered cancer free/cured. At least, that is what I understood from the doc and my subsequent research)

It is now August, which marks an entire year since my diagnosis as having final stage metastasized cancer. When I last spoke with my doctor (the military has since moved her to another base), she said she believes I have experienced a miracle as I am in excellent health and it has been a year since my diagnosis as having final stage metastasized cancer. Although she couldn’t declare me “cancer free”, she seemed satisfied with saying she felt I had experienced a miracle. I'm going to go with it and take that as close as a yes as I’m going to get. I was hesitant to announce this, seeing as it wasn’t entirely official, and may not be by doctor’s standards for another few years, but I don’t want to spend the next few years in a feeling of limbo, so I am going to think of myself, and treat myself, as being cancer free. Unless they discover otherwise, that is what I am. My health has done nothing but improve since that diagnosis, and if anything changes, I will be sure to let you know :)

With that, I have so many big THANK YOU’s to say! I found I have such a wonderful (and extended!) community of people who love and care about me and I don’t know that anything I say can really repay all the kindness I have been given. Thank you for the notes, the gifts, for the meals! (that was huge, thank you so much to everyone who made a meal!), the care for my family, and watching my little one when I was exhausted. Thank you for the encouragement and support you gave my family and me in our time of need during a peculiar journey. And thank you most of all for your prayers! I am quite convinced that each and every prayer helped, so thank you for contributing to my little miracle and keeping me in your heart. 

Jeremiah 33:6 “Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them; and I will reveal to them an abundance of peace and truth.”

I received a lot of inspirational verses throughout the last year, this one was one of my favorites and it is still written in my house. I hope if you ever need it, you will remember it.

Photo credit: Hannah Luedeke! (Sorry, I don't have this one with your name already on it)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Vintgar Gorge - Slovenia

             On Saturday morning of the 5th, we decided to part from the lake to visit Vintgar Gorge.  Vintgar Gorge was a scenic walk along the Radovna River.
It was about a 5-10 minute drive (roughly 3.5 km) from Lake Bled and the well-posted signage made it an easy find. Tip: Drive past the restaurant for parking. Some people see the rows of parking and cars lined on the side of the road as a sign that it’s a really packed day and decide to park at the first spot they see and walk from there, however if you drive past the restaurant to the gorge entrance, there is plenty of parking spaces and you don’t have to walk the whole distance.
They did charge an entry fee of 4 per adult, 3 for students and 1 for children, but I suppose it is needed for the upkeep of the boardwalks.
It was a beautiful place to be sure, however a bit more crowded than my liking, and my spoiled self grew up in a beautiful place with many river walks that seemed just as picturesque as Vintgar Gorge, so why this one was a tourist attraction with an entrance fee mystifies me. 
The Wooden Bridges were fun to walk over and cross. I saw some people with strollers, however we opted to use the back pack to carry our little one, and he slept for half of our walk. 

This is a dam, but the path was so close we all got well misted as we walked by. It felt great!
Photo of me, courtesy of my sister!
The walk was pleasant and the water beautiful. I recommend going early to beat the crowds and the heat.

Above right is a picture of myself in front of the Šum waterfall, the highest river fall in Slovenia measuring at 26 meters. You will find it at the end of your gorge walk, just before you turn around and return the way you came.
We definitely recommend grabbing lunch at the restaurant located just before the Gorge entrance after your long walk. We thought the food to be delicious and well priced. Bonus, they have a playground for kids. Hurray!
The Sunshine Bread was devoured. I suggest getting this warm loaf as an appetizer!

My Husband and I each got different kinds of trout in garlic butter sauce. yum!

I apologize, I don't know what this is. When I asked my sister what it was, she said "Heaven". LOL. It was some sort of cheesy ham dish in sauce... that is as much as I know. That, and it was apparently scrumptious.

If you would like to know more and see beautiful pictures from others, try here:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Venice Bookshops

Today I took my visiting sister to Venice. I’m not sure how many times I have visited there now, but each time is a new experience as different guests have desires to see different aspects of Venice and Venetian culture.
            This excursion may have been one of the more pleasant visits I have experienced, simply for the fact that my neighbor watched my LO all day and I got to experience Venice child free. I sat on the train and took care of business instead of chasing my toddler up and down the aisles. I didn’t have to wear a large sweaty backpack to carry him, or a stroller (which we tried last time, and with all of the bridges in Venice, that was a miserable experience. Venice is NOT handicap or stroller friendly…) And when lunch time rolled around and the family next to us had a child melting down and screaming, I got to happily munch my Panini and be thankful to be child free. I don't think I'll be returning with children to Venice any time soon... 
            My sister is not one for historic buildings or touring museums, which is a nice change for me because I’ve certainly done those a few times. Instead, she wanted to visit the bookstores of Venice. This was a unique experience all it’s own, as the pictures show below. We stopped at several bookshops, which have been around for many years and held very old books, but our favorite was the Acqua Alta Bookshop.

This bookstore can be found at: and is open from 9:00 am - 8:00 pm daily.

              The Bookshop’s interior had several narrow adjoining rooms, overflowing with books. What made this shop stand out was not it’s assortment of both new and old books, nor the amount or genre range they spanned, but how they were stored.  All of the books were piled into boats, barrels, and even tubs! Some smaller wooden boats were turned side ways and mounted onto the walls, an interesting twist on book shelving!


What bookstore would be complete without the bookstore cat?
 The bookshop had an opening right onto the water (as seen in the picture left), and I am unsure whether or not the books are all stored this way to protect them in case of flood (which is frequent in the Venice rainy season, and the water level in July was already RIGHT at the bookstore's edge!), or if it’s solely to attract visitors and make this quirky bookstore stand out amongst the rest. Regardless of the reason, it was certainly fun to explore. 
             The open air nook for reading right on the water was a peaceful and enjoyable way to pass the time. We also got to wave at the curious tourists taking gondola rides as they passed by the opening.

          Through one of the bookshop's exits is a courtyard, and in this courtyard the bookshop has piled, strung, and glued together numerous books to make a large, colorful, book wall (The Great Book Wall of Venice? ha!) And one can reach the top of the book wall by a book stair case on either side. Atop the weathered book staircase, you can walk along the book wall and overlook one of the Venice canals. 

Here my sister lounges atop the large book staircase, browsing through the Italian version of Harry Potter. She ended up purchasing the unique book as a souvenir of her time there. The Italian version seemed quite a bit different than the English versions I have seen, and the pictures were drawn in an Italian style and all the characters had Italian looks and hair cuts. It was a good laugh!
We did stop in San Marco Square, and also crossed the ever-crowded Rialto Bridge and later viewed the Bridge of Sighs, but visiting the bookshops had been a new adventure, one not packed with tourists like the more popular stops, and it was a good change of pace to pick a less traversed and desired part of Venice to explore.

No matter how many times I have done Venice, each visit always seems to end the same: with me and the guests running across the island to catch the next train. My sister and I caught our train home with a few seconds to spare. I have found that towing bags and not knowing quite where one is going, it takes us an average of 40 minutes to jog from San Marco Square to the train station (just in case you ever happen to be in that situation... there is my time estimate for you).
My sister, unbeknownst to me, quickly snapped this pic as of me leading the way as we wove  down narrow alley streets towards our destination.