Again, I haven’t been keeping up to date with my postings. I guess I could say I’ve had writers-block and I’ve been trying to keep my days as busy as I can (more to come on that later…). So, I apologize. This time I promise to be better.
Every season in Europe, Andrew gets two breaks. Which has been really nice. Last year, we were able to go to Vienna. I really look forward to these breaks, back in North America there weren’t really any breaks. Maybe a couple of days over Christmas and a long weekend during the all-star break. But these breaks actually feel like a vacation and since we’re living in Europe, we can actually turn them into vacations we’d only dream about if we hadn’t had the opportunity to come over here. This year, Andrew and I decided to go to Venice, Italy. It was more of a last-minute decision. When we got over to Austria this year, we already began throwing around ideas of where we would like to visit. Prague kept coming to the top over and over again, so we decided – the first break, we’re going to Prague! But as it came closer, I kept checking the weather and it wasn’t looking so nice. Also, Andrew only had 3 days this year. Factoring in travel time, I felt more time would be needed to see all of Prague. So spur of the moment, 2 days before we left, I booked a hotel in Venice and started frantically planning how to get there, what to see, do, and where to eat. I usually am a big planner when it comes to vacations. I like to have everything set up well in advance and I will constantly check to make sure everything will go according to plan. I’m sure Andrew wishes I was more spontaneous, as do I, but I’d like to believe this extreme planning leaves me well-educated on everything that could go wrong (and usually it doesn’t because of my planning). So, with really only 1 day to plan, I was a little more than nervous.
The trip to Venice is a little over 5 hours. We drove through the mountains of Austria and crossed over into Italy. About an hour in, the landscape totally changed. Instead of mountains, there were vineyards and farms and flat land. We ended up parking our car at an airport parking lot and taking the water bus. By the time we arrived it was pitch black outside. I really don’t know how we found our hotel. For those that haven’t been to Venice, the series of canals and alleys can be so confusing! I had my phone navigation but it was so hard to figure out which direction we should be going in. We finally made it and were greeted by the host. She showed us the room and gave us a map explaining how to get around the city. Thank God, because I don’t know if I would have ever figured it out that night. Starving, we grabbed a bite to eat. The lady at the hotel had also recommended some places for us to go out and get some drinks. The area was fun and lively. We walked from bar to bar, trying something different at each one. It was a fun, much-needed, night out.
The next day we woke up early ready to tour the city. On the corner of our street was a little café. It was really crowed with locals coming in and out to grab an espresso and their breakfast so we figured it was the place to go in our square. I don’t think, in all my life, I have ever had a better tasting prosciutto sandwich. EVER.
I literally could live on prosciutto and I since I’m not a “breakfast food” person, I love having a little with bread in the mornings. This was to die for. (The espresso, not so much. I’m not a “coffee” person either) We finished eating and went to the main sight-seeing square in Venice. Piazza San Marco. I had “planned” to spend most of the morning and afternoon there. The square has a couple of museums, a beautiful basilica and a church tower with views of the whole city. As we got closer, we realized the entire square was flooded and everyone was walking on boards. At this point I went into panic mode. Was everything still going to be open? How were we supposed to get around? I had worn my wellies but Andrew was in his runners.
We followed the boards and made it to the church. We realized we’d had to walk on the boards to see everything. And once I looked closer, I realized I had seen these all over on our way there. This must be their solution to the flooding.
We stepped into the Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco. Laura had told me about this church when I was planning the trip and claimed it was the most beautiful church she had ever been to. When we walked in, I knew she was right. It was covered in gold mosaics. It was gorgeous.
Heading out of the church we noticed people selling shoe covers. After some debating, Andrew got a pair. Now we could walk wherever we wanted! Problem solved 🙂
We then went into the Doge’s Palace and started our museum tour.
The audio guides gave us a glimpse into what life was like during that time and the meaning behind the special paintings, sculptures, and artifacts.
After Doge’s Palace we went to see the church tower. We both had thought it might be a take it or leave it type of activity but I’m glad we decided to just do it. From the top of the tower we could see all of Venice and out into the sea. I could have stayed up there forever. The breeze, and smell, and VIEWS!
After we took a walk along the water, sat down, and enjoyed the weather.
By the time we got back, the square was no longer flooded. We continued to spend the rest of the day getting lost and exploring the city.