Thursday, June 27, 2013

Travel Tuesday - Venice, Italy

Let me take you back in time. Step inside your little time traveling box of choice, captained by your time traveler of choice, and lets go back... lets say two days? Pretend it's a beautiful Tuesday morning. You are just sitting down with your cup of coffee or mug of tea. The children, if you have any, are still asleep (or are at least quiet) and you are in the perfect state of being to read this blog.

In other words, I'm sorry for the delay.

Our topic of the week is Venice Italy. Not to be confused with Venice Beach, California. Even though Venice Beach has equal amounts of interesting attractions and a ninety year old woman who roller blades down the boardwalk in a Wonder Woman bikini. That tale is for another day.

Again, Venice, Italy. Home of the sinking city and the most expensive cup of coffee. I didn't drink said cup of coffee (which I regret) but there is apparently a little cafe in St. Marks Square that sells an espresso for close to forty euros. Which, at the time I was there, translated to close to seventy American dollars. All I can say is it had better have been a damn good cup of coffee with a diamond sitting at the bottom of it and a very attractive Italian man ready to take me to bed.

The city was not under water while I was there but the planks to walk on during its sinking months were present. They made a makeshift little walk way all across the square, winding in completely unnecessary ways in order to add to the maze like qualities of this town. It is easy to get lost in Venice. The alleyways are narrow and long and unless you are a native, you are not sure which way you should be going. And if you see a bathroom, use it. Their public restroom signs are plastered all over these alleyways, directing you to where one is, but it will take you on a small little tour through the city before leading you into a dead end. I considered it to be Venetian humor.

I only stayed in a small section of the city, wandering around the main bay area and entering into mask shops and kiosks selling colorful jewelry and fine scarves. While I probably circled the same ten block radius at least a dozen times, I still found something new with each lap. Venice is an amazingly compact, hot, decadent and sweet smelling city that is filled to the brim with shops and food and people walking with alcohol in hand. Don't make the same mistake I did, by the way, and start drinking at eleven in the morning just because it is a city that allows an open container in their streets.

The canals themselves were just as packed as the alley's, the gondolier navigating through them with an amazing ease and waving and chatting to each other as they passed. Some sang as they dipped their oars in the water, gracefully gliding between crumbling brick and stone and some even wore the stereotypical red and white striped attire in order to add to to the intoxicating atmosphere that this city breathed. But just because these gondoliers live in a city full of romance and Cassanova lore, doesn't mean they aren't going to talk on their cellphone while rowing their boat back to its home.

My only wish is that I could see Venice during its masquerade nights. The shop windows were filled with beautiful ball gowns and feathered masks dipped in gold. Everything shimmered and sparkled and as I sat in St. Marks Square, I closed my eyes and imagined the young and the old all dressed up, a mystery, dancing with partners under stars and candle light. Venice, after all, just seems like one of the few places in the world where fairy tales are a reality.

But then I remember how disturbing those masks actually are and decide that maybe me at one of those Venice Circus parties is probably not a good idea.  

Italy alone inspire so many images. It inspires that feeling of romance on hot sweltering days, the scent of spice and wine filling the air, and more pasta than you could ever want coaxing you into out of the way
restaurants. With the water blueish green and shimmering under the nearly white rays of the sun, Venice is one of the cities out there that truly does deserve the term breathtaking. Now, is it really as I have described? Probably not. But that's the thing. In this compacted little city that is filled with tourists and people trying to make a living, you somehow don't remember if human stench permeated the air. You don't remember if you felt the dirt and grime that usually comes with large cities. You don't remember rudeness or chaos or moments of sweltering exhaustion. You remember feeling beautiful and alive and knowing secretly that most of that probably has to do with the amount of alcohol you've consumed but you don't even care because you have gelato in one hand and you are sitting in the middle of a famous canal, sipping champagne.

Does anyone else have any good Venice stories since I *ahem* have a skewed memory of this place?  Also, has anyone been to one of their circus's? 

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