This time last year I was immersed in planning a trip to Europe to visit Spain and Eastern Europe with a stop-off in Venice. Part of my nerd-girl research included late-night cramming sessions with movies set it the places we planned to visit. That’s how I found Bread & Tulips / Pane e tulipani, an Italian movie set in Venice who’s characters are “strange and wonderful, romantic and quirky, and above all, lovable (to steal a line from Ebert’s perfect summary of the movie).” I watched it three times in two days, though I could hardly afford to spend my time so recklessly, what with “the big trip” to plan and all. When we finally made it to Venice that spring, I was emotional drained and not sure what to expect but I fell in love. The city was everything promised and more. Wandering the maze of cobblestone streets and canals in the moonlight was dreamy and wonderful.
Cut to 2011. I’ve been feeling a bit restless and wistful. This time last year I was plotting our attack on the Spanish hill town of Ronda and trying to make educated guesses about the best way to get from Zagreb to Dubrovnik with public transportation. This year I’m sitting at the computer trying hard to illustrate the concepts of moisture management and odor control in a unique way. I find myself staring off into middle space contemplating grocery budgets and lawn care. Not the same thing.
Time to retreat into the world of make-believe. When I realized Netflix is currently streaming Bread and Tulips online, I was ecstatic. I’ve already watched it twice in the past week and as I write this I’m plotting ways to squeeze another viewing into my busy schedule. I’m enjoying every minute of it. Memories of visiting Venice and strolling through the skinny, damp streets at twilight add delightful richness to the already perfect movie. Watching now, I remember last year’s anticipation – eagerly soaking up the big-screen version of the city before I’d been there in real-life. I see Rosalba playing her red accordion and can’t help but smile. Sure, it’s nothing like the real thing, but it’s a wonderful story set in a beautiful place and that alone makes me very, very happy.