Do you ever have a morning when you wake up feeling all nostalgic for no apparent reason? That is my morning today. I first woke up at 5:00AM (third day in a row for this—grrrrr!) and since I had no ambition at that ridiculous hour, I stayed in bed and started thinking. About Venice.
As you know from my summer recap post, Venice was one of our stops in Europe this past summer. It had been a life-long dream of mine to see this one of a kind city–probably second only to Paris (accomplished in 2004!) on my wish list. She did not disappoint. I was enchanted by every canal, every turn, every dreamy vista. Since I feel the need to re-visit this amazing wonder, I thought I would bring you along with me.
We arrived later than we expected…and we had a few snafus trying to get tickets for the water taxi. No one “official” was around to lend a hand so it was us and another family (of five) trying to figure out how to get tickets from a dispenser and then figure out which boat we needed to take. I had a 50 euro bill. The machine would not allow me to buy tickets with this bill. We had nothing smaller. The other family was trying to pay with a credit card–no dice (and they had no euros on them). There was nowhere to make change or get money exchanged. Due to it getting dark, and because we were quickly becoming mosquito fodder, I told the family (with three young children therefore waking my maternal instincts) I would try buying everyone’s tickets together so we could all get to our hotels. This was our last-ditch effort to get tickets…there was no plan after this. Thank goodness–It took my 50 euro bill (my guess is that the machine couldn’t make the change from the 50e for just two tickets) and we were all able to move on! Although I didn’t care about the money, the father paid me in USD for their tickets. They were so thankful and happy (and I was happy to break away from the father–his attitude was not cool and he had that American Superiority Syndrome in full swing…also known as A.S.S.). As it turned out, seeing Venice for the first time at night was not such a bad thing:
Fortunate for us, our hotel was down by San Marco square so we got to travel the whole Grand Canal. Venice’s spell was at work. Seeing the palaces and bridges all lit up, hearing the laughter of canal-side diners, re-energized my tired soul. Once we deposited our luggage and checked into our room, we were ready to explore. Off to the San Marco we went. The Caffe Florian proved to be one of my favorite places to get that full-on Venice experience. I was seriously swooning–intoxicated by the atmosphere and the music.
We loved the Florian so much that we ended up coming here both nights. So dreamy. Waking to this view from our room was also dreamy:
Not bad for a mid-price hotel, huh?
Views from the palace:
And here is the Florian by day:
After being indoors for hours, we were ready to hit the pavement and really see Venice. We walked aimlessly, looking for a place to dine. We had no agenda for hitting certain restaurants. If something looked good, looked authentic and was off the beaten path, we tried it.
And as we walked and walked these are some of the things we saw:
My favorite walk was on our second morning there. I took off by myself, early, and captured the quiet side of Venice:
My goodness. What a dream.
We decided instead to bid Venice “ciao!” and save those gems for next time. Because there will be a next time.
If you are looking for a place to visit that is so unique and beautiful, please think of Venice. And if you find yourself traveling south through Switzerland by car to get to Venice, when you get to the point on the highway that you have to choose to either continue by way of the tunnels or the mountain overpass, choose the overpass:
You won’t regret it.