Oh, the Places You'll Go: Venice
After Rome, we took a train to Venice.
The first thing you need to know about the Floating City is that it's, well, floating. The city is built on tons of different islands with canals and bridges connecting them all, and there are no cars, only boats. The buildings were all old and beautiful, the canals were incredible and we had the time of our lives getting lost. (That wasn't sarcasm, by the way.)
In other words, Venice was stunning.
Beyond getting lost and enjoying the view, there wasn't a lot to do beyond shop. (Sure, there were museums and churches to see, but we had done plenty of that and no one else likes spending the afternoon in a museum. I'm still not sure why.) There were food kiosks everywhere and they sold the best oranges.
I personally don't care for much shopping (I'd much rather go to a museum, as previously stated) but there were these stationary stores everywhere and I almost died when we walked past them. LIKE HOW BEAUTIFUL CAN IT GET? Anyways, I got my journal in the most beautiful stationary store in the entire world. I wanted one of the leather ones but they were about 56 euros ($62 US) and I couldn't justify spending that much on a journal that I'd be too afraid to write in. (For those of you who don't know, every time we go somewhere I journal, and I buy a journal from wherever we are.))
|There were also heaps of Venetian masks for sale. |
People wear them for the Carnival of Venice
(the link goes to Wikipedia, and the article is worth the
read if you have time.)
One of the things I thought was really cool was going to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square). It was freezing and raining, so there weren't many other tourists around which was a huge bonus. (As a not-bonus, it was freezing and raining, so yeah.)
|St. Mark's Basillica.|
|A café outside San Marco Square.|
(It sounds just a little lame of me, but I was pretty excited to see St. Mark's because I watched a documentary about how engineers are keeping the city from sinking. Basically, there was this huge acqua alta (high flood) in 1966 and ever since then engineers have been working on a solution to the flood problem. They came up with the MOSE project; they built barriers out in the Adriatic Sea to stop water from coming into Venice's lagoon and built massive floodgates that sit on the bottom of the sea, filled with water. When they're needed, they are pumped with air and come up to stop the water. It's so darn cool. It costs about 5.4 billion euros ($602,559,000 US) but apparently it'll pay for itself by all the money they'll save from the damages. Anyways, in the documentary I watched they explained stuff in St. Mark's Square.)
Also, I mentioned we got lost in Venice. It was great. There were so many dark alleys and random twists and bridges and stores and corners that you'd never find if you knew where you were going. (It went against our every instinct to go down dark alleys, but everyone did it and besides, that's where our apartment was.)
We also went to Murano, the island(s) where they make the famous glass. Unfortunately, the factory was closed for the holidays so we didn't get to see them blow glass. Next time, I suppose. (I did get some very beautiful glass earrings, though...)
Especially in Venice, I began to notice how the English language was being used in Europe. English is becoming more of an in-between language between the locals and the tourists. For example, the Italians don't speak Chinese/Korean/Japanese, but they speak some English and so do the Asians. It wasn't uncommon to see a cashier and a Japanese tourist speaking in broken English. I seem to recall reading somewhere that Greek (or maybe Latin?) used to be used like that. I just thought it was interesting.
I was very sad that we only had two days in Venice. There was so much more to do. We didn't even get to go in a gondola! Venice felt a lot safer than Rome, and the city was so unique and beautiful.
Has anyone been to Venice? Who's read The Thief Lord? (I was mildly fangirling the entire time.) Is anyone else addicted to buying beautiful journals?