On Wednesday, we decided to visit Venice which was an hour away. We took the local train and when we arrived in Venice, we walk out of the train station and instantly our breath was taken away from us. Directly in front of us was a bustling canal with swirling waters and huge buildings towering over the water, teetering on the edge.
I've been a lot of beautiful places in my life, but nothing looks like Venice. It's a totally different feel for a city. I was hit with new sensations, and it took me almost the whole day to realize that it was because there were no cars, just bustling people. I don't think I've ever heard the sound of so many people, with the gentle rush of the water and without the noisy sounds of traffic.
When telling people we were going to Italy, near Venice...a resounding 99% said that Venice was awful and dirty and very overrated. I was ready to be disappointed, and again I was blown away. Venice turned out to be one of my favorite places in Italy.
It was beautiful! The weather was perfect. Sweater weather, no coats. We did soon realize a very terrible mistake we had made...We brought the stroller. If you are to ever visit Venice, do not bring your stroller. After the first 3 bridges we realized we were in trouble. Venice has the most bridges of any city in the world. And we probably carried Barclay, like a King on his throne, over half of those bridges. Despite that, we had a ball taking several hours to navigate alley after alley, all with beautiful and charming and cliche scenes of gondola boats gently traveling the water while Italian women hang up laundry to dry. Peaceful and charming.
This is a regular scene for us. Noah looking at a map. It's pretty funny, when we took our first trip together after getting married, it was very apparent that we traveled very differently. I like to blend in, I HATE being viewed as a tourist...and especially as a typical "American". Noah likes to announce to the world that we are there and talks regularly to strangers to get tips on the best places to visit, or directions. He regularly pulls out huge maps and takes a lot of time looking it over...while I'm hiding in a corner embarrassed to death that we have been exposed as outsiders.
Over the years, we have compromised here and there. Near the end of our trip, people were actually coming up to us and talking in fast Italian, because we blended in so well. Huge score on our parts;-)
But every once in a while, Noah had to take out the map:-)
I was overwhelmed with the photo opportunities. Every single turn of a corner provided us with scenes just like this...
We chose a little cafe to have lunch at.
Barclay and I enjoying the local food. Please notice the grumpy lady behind me staring us down. One of the 3 people the whole trip that weren't completely liquified by Barclay's charm.
After hours of walking through narrow streets, it was a huge shock to walk into the square with it's huge open space. It was packed with people and I wondered how they all got there! It was very dramatic and literally made me stop breathing for a second.
This is St Mark's basilica. It's a very well known church in the St Mark's square. To be honest, churches don't really get my blood running. They are so over the top, it's hard to take even a percentage of it in. Noah waited outside with Barclay while I looked inside. It was definitely old, and definitely interesting, but after coming outside, the couple behind me put my feelings straight into words..
"Thank goodness that was free."
We did sit outside while Noah wikepediaed it on his phone. We sat there and read all about how old it was and all that sort of stuff.
One of my favorite parts of this day was this:
Noah and I were sitting and people watching (our favorite), Barclay was asleep on my chest and Noah and I were holding hands. This older couple, probably in their 70's walked by us and smiled knowingly. They came and sat by us and told us that they visited Italy 45 years ago, when they were young and in love...like us. They said that we brought back such a flood of memories to them. We talked with them for 30 minutes. They were from California and house swapped all the time with people from all over the world. They were just enjoying their retired years together in beautiful places.
As they left the lady said,
"I hope that when you're our age, you will love each other more than you do now. I hope you love each other like we do. " And they walked away hand in hand:-)
I love this shot of Noah showing Barclay the boats.
After walking for about 7 hours, all with Barclay on my front or back, I started feeling really really dizzy and sick. We sat down at a cafe and I ordered, for the first time in my life...a ham sandwich. Let me tell you that I am a recent convert and enjoyed that simple little sandwich more than probably any I had ever eaten. I am now a ham sandwich eater.
On the way back to the train station, we stopped in an art gallery. It was original oil paintings by students at the university. Noah and I were drawn to one beautiful painting of a red haired lady reclining in a window. The price was way out of our price range, but we found out that we could purchase it unframed which would significantly lower the price and make it portable. We decided that if we decided to come back to Venice, and if that painting was still there, we might have to make a purchase to remember our trip by...
The train ride home was horrible. By this time, I had a full blown migraine and a fever. Barclay was crying from exhaustion and Noah was doing his best to keep Barclay quiet and keep me from puking. It was an excruciating hour long train ride home. As soon as we got home, I took three IB profen, got in the bathtub (which literally takes over 30 minutes to fill up), I filled it with the hottest water it could produce. After scalding my skin so badly, that my head barely registered, I took a short 15 minute nap and felt like a whole new woman (this by the way is my migraine routine)
I was awakened by Noah saying they had gone out and gotten Gyros. I had heard nothing but wonderful things about these gyros from Andrew and I was RAVENOUS from our day, so I excitedly took my first bite.
This gyro is currently in my top 10 meals of all time. It's got slow roasted chicken and turkey mixed with hot sauce, spicy cabbage, onions, lettuce, and I don't know what else...it was mind blowing how good it was.
A very wonderful ending to a long day of exciting adventures:-)
I'm very certain I would move to Italy if only for that amazing gyro.