A night in a FIVE STAR…

Hilton-Stucky Five Star and Pugiotto’s in Venice…






I have never stayed in a Five-Star hotel so would be the first time. I arrived in Venice on Tuesday afternoon and soon after de-boarding the train that comes right to the Grand Canal Piero with his four year-old son, Cristiano  showed up in his boat to take me to his home on Isola Judiaca only four hundred meters where he works as a concierge for the Hilton. Natasha, his wife works there as well in the gift shop.

Shopping for lunch

They have a cute little place of their own and after walking from where he moors his boat we walked into a simple but charming AIR-CONDITIONED apartment. Natasha finally arrived home at eight to an incredible meal put together by Piero, one of my favorite Venetian chefs. This boy, he do know how to cook.

The first night I would stay with them on a rather comfortable couch right beneath the air conditioner and was warned that if I got cold, I could do this or that -not a chance! After days and nights of almost intolerable, sweltering heat, I was happy to sleep in my clothes if it should prove necessary. What is cold to an Italian is tepid to an American. There are many apologies regarding moving air to which I say, “Bring it on!”

Imagine trying on clothes in a dressing room where the temperature is forty-one degrees, humidity at 90% and not a hint of air? Jeanne nearly suffocated once while trying this in Napoli. She panicked as anyone from America would though the Italian’s seem to take sweating in stride.

Booking in at the Hilton

The next morning as soon as possible Piero booked me into the Hilton as his Uncle Tony at a measly sixty euro for a night. Soon thereafter we were back on his boat treading through the canals of Venice dodging this gondola and that delivery barge. Again, it was a sweltering hot day and the sun beat down on us. Sadly, to make matters worse, my camera had begun to fail me and no matter how much time I spent adjusting this setting or that, the camera would not shoot into direct light, the only light we had.

Murano at eye level

Recognizing that not everyone gets a personal and free tour at eye level, I took what pictures I could, though none, it seems, turned out to be particularly impressive. Piero announced that we would soon be out into open water and then we would catch a good breeze which should make the day more enjoyable and this was the case. He put up the canopy to cover us but the wind was so brisk that it broke a strap and left us with a pile of canvas. All of the time, I did my best to hide behind the skippers shadow. He took me across to Murano where they have the amazing glass factories. Next it was on to Burano an island made famous by its brightly colored houses. He made one more run to the first settlement in Venice where now only eighteen people live. The island was the first to be separated from the sea and provided a bastion against the invading hoards coming from the north.

My morning coffee taken here.

With pizza in a nearby restaurant our day ended. In the morning I packed and waited for Piero, Natasha and Cristiano to come by boat and take me to the station and off I would go to Verona for a day to myself before ministry in Trento.


My camera was failing fast while in Venice so some of the photos re pretty “Iffy.” Next, I do want you o know that the Five Star wound up costing me sixty Euro. This isn’t bad when one considers that my Two Star night in Milan cost the same amount. Here’s a picture of my exciting Two Star experience. It wasn’t only the room that was horrible. My next door neighbor was an African that called his friends on the phone in the middle of the night. Have you ever heard African’s talk on the phone? They scream.

Fishing with Jerry N. and Mark P. …

On one of the mornings I drove out to White Lake with Jerry N.. There in Packenham we met Mark P. for breakfast and then out to the cottage where we launched for a morning of bass fishing. Frankly, we’re never sure how this might turn out but the truth is, White Lake

All Large Mouth

has rarely disappointed me. Such was the case today as the three of us landed about ten keepers before 1 in the afternoon. When cleaning fish the trick is to act incompetent. This will mean that Jerry and Mark will take over which they did. In the end I took back to Jeanne and the skillet about three pounds of dressed largemouth bass.

Just several days before a violent storm blew across the lake knocking down huge pines and demolishing a number of cottages on the north shore.

Here’s a photo of some of the damage it caused.

Entry 4 / Norway and England

I don’t know where I am but it is pretty.

The left side of Smyrna Institute

I am here now. Wherever here is, I am there. I was picked up and delivered to my room in a lovely three-story building that houses the Smyrna Bible Institute. After getting settled I met the Headmaster, Reidar Gamst and a variety of students coming and going.

The right side of Smyrna Institute

Norway is and Norwegians are very much like Canada and Canadians. Yesterday we had a heat wave here. The snow (for the most part) is melted and the Norwegians have kicked off their shoes and like calves released from the long winter in the stall they are ready to party.

Everything is relative. In the south we know when it is warm and when it is not but northerners have no way to tell. At the first hint of warmth they are ready to go for a swim.

A Canadian was once asked by an Indonesian, “Do you have summer in Canada?” “Of course we have summer,” so said the Canadian chap. The Indonesian came back with this. “What do you do in the summer in Canada?” To which the Canadian replied, “Well, if it falls on a Sunday, we usually have a picnic.”

I owe this joke to Paul Strand who is not normally known for his joke telling. Paul Strand is a Minnesotan of direct Norwegian extraction who served as a missionary in Indonesia. The only thing I changed is this, he used Minnesotan for Canadian but the reality remains the same. Minnesota and Canada are interchangeable words.