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Fans Post Their Favorite Travelocity Roaming Gnome Vacation Photos

Recently a colleague of ours emailed us a picture while she was on vacation. She had surprisingly found a statue of The Roaming Gnome in a dive shop in Abaco, Bahamas (one of summer’s top 10 family destinations) and had sent us a picture of him. This made us wonder: have other travelers also spotted the Travelocity mascot in unusual travel destinations?

So we asked The Roaming Gnome’s Facebook fans and it turns out they’ve had plenty of Gnome vacation sightings all over the world. Fans posted many pictures of the Gnome on his Facebook Wall in places from Arizona to Haiti, and from Puerto Rico to Italy.

Guest Blog: Discovering Todi in Italy’s Umbria Region

Please join us in welcoming Justine van der Leun to The Window Seat. She is the author of the travel memoir Marcus of Umbria: What an Italian Dog Taught an American Girl Above Love, which hit the shelves this month. You can learn more at her website.

During my year in the bucolic Umbrian village of Collelungo–population, 200–I could open my bedroom window and see the ancient city of Todi, perched high above on a hilltop. Most travelers taking in Umbria hit up the glitzier tourist destinations—Spoleto, Orvieto, Assisi, Perugia. But taking the road less traveled can be even more fulfilling. Not featured prominently in most guidebooks, Todi offers visitors a chance to take in a fully authentic Italian experience away from the throngs of tourists. Really? Todi? If you do it right, certo! Here’s how:

todi

Yesterday’s Venice Flood Worst in Over 20 Years

Even if you’ve never been to Venice, Italy before, most people know that it’s a city defined by water–its vaporettos, gondolas, and arched bridges are essential to the city’s romantic, Renaissance charm. But much like New Orleans, Venice’s seaside perch has always been precarious, and yesterday’s flood comes as no surprise to residents whose feet in December are intimately familiar with rain galoshes.

According to the BBC, the city sees some level of flooding 200 days out of every year (locals refer to the floods as “acqua alta”), but this flood is the largest Venice has seen in over 20 years. The mayor of the city warned both residents and tourists alike to remain indoors unless absolutely necessary, meaning many tourists had an excuse to snuggle up at their hotels and just watch the waters rise. The flood waters did recede a bit Monday afternoon, but are expected to rise again with the tide in today’s early hours.

Photo: St. Mark’s Square during a December 2006 flood.

Meals Made of Italy

My worst international dining experience can be summarized in a frozen moment: I’m sitting in an Andean restaurant jaw dropped as a waiter walks to the next table over with a guinea pig on a plate, spindly rodent feet and all. Probably not the most appetizing way for me to begin a posting on food, but I bring this anecdote up only to contrast against the total glory that is being a cheese-loving vegetarian in Italy.

Venice: Bride or Bridezilla of the Sea?

Getting across St. Mark’s Square, the tourist focal point of Venice, is ordinarily like playing the video game Frogger, but with pigeons. Add in a flood, and the “Bride of the Sea” becomes Bridezilla–delicate to negotiate, ready to teeter over the edge at a moment’s notice, and squeezing out the waterworks for dramatic effect.

This is why, when I told friends and family I wanted to go to Venice in December, I was met with a number of skeptical looks. It is, after all, the rainy season in a city that is sinking, and the time of year most prone to floods. It is also the time of year with the least crowds and lines. Which seemed great reasons to me to pack my wading boots and umbrella.