Canals, winding streets and wonderful people
04.20.2015 - 04.22.2015 65 °F
Ciao da Venezia!
A week ago I had no idea I would be in Italy but if Venice is any indication of the experiences to come, I can't wait to see what the rest of Italy has in store.
What a stunning place. I have never seen anything like it.
From the Grand Canal to the winding stone streets, the charm of this city is undeniable.
The city is basically an island on which there are no cars or motorbikes, or even regular bikes. Everyone walks or takes a water taxi. The streets average no more than 6 to 10 feet across they zig zag in what can quickly become a confusing maze. Almost everyone has a city map in their hand. Those that don't are often found crying in a corner.
Cafes and restaurants line the streets while gondolas drift by in the adjacent canals.
Venice at night is quiet but equally beautiful.
The city itself is quite small. You can walk most of the city in an afternoon if you really wanted. Faster if you didn't have to stop every twenty steps to check your map. I was only here for two full days and it was the right amount of time.
I took a half day boat trip out to the islands of Murano and Burano, just north of Venice. Murano is known for its glass blowing artisans while Burano is known for its brightly colored fisherman's houses. I highly recommend hoping a water bus out to these islands if you ever visit.
Burano was my favorite. Such a quaint island. It was hard not to be in a good mood with all of the brightly colored houses.
But despite how amazing the city itself is, my favorite part of this stop were the people I met.
The first night at my hostel I met a traveler from Chile. He is literally traveling around the world over seven months. He spoke very good English but it gave me a chance to speak Spanish with him as we grabbed a beer and saw some sites around town.
It was recommended to me that I have a drink at Harry's Bar (thanks Dustin). It is an old bar on the water where Ernest Hemingway used to drink and also the birthplace of the Bellini.
This is a $24 old fashioned from Harry's. It cost more than my hostel for the night. #priorities
Carefully made and filled to the brim with Four Roses, I figured I should splurge on one. While at the bar I met a German couple sitting next to me, Mr. and Mrs. Wagner. We struck up conversation and they turned out to be the nicest couple I had met in a long time. Married for more than 30 years, they own a bed and breakfast south or Hamburg. They are both chefs and recent grandparents. They insisted on buying me two more old fashioneds as we talked at the bar for more than two hours. A good friend of theirs had just suddenly passed away and they stressed the importance of "living now." I shared with them my father's passing and that being a similar reason I was on this trip. We cheersed to living now and to those we have lost and by the end of the night it was settled that I need to visit Hamburg to find a good girl and then I could come stay with them in their hotel and enjoy a good meal.
Fun fact, Mr. Wagner also has seven blackbelts and sparred with Chuck Norris in the 80's.
Simply wonderful people. I wish them the best on the rest of their trip.
Yesterday afternoon I found myself tired of walking and decided to take a seat on the water's edge and enjoy a bit of the sunshine. I heard a couple next to me speaking English (American) and I stuck up a conversation. Their names are Nick and Megan and they are traveling around Europe for a few weeks before returning home to southern Illinois.
We all agreed that the best way to enjoy any city is to grab a bottle of wine and sit somewhere with a nice view and have a chat. Hours later, we had finished five bottles of wine and the sun had set. When we parted ways for the night, we had agreed that I would try to come to Nick's Beer Olympics Birthday Bash in November dressed as the Pope, representing the country of the Vatican. Yes, it is a country. Fun fact. I may just take them up on their offer.
When you meet good people, it is immediately obvious and I was tremendously lucky to have shared time in this beautiful city with them. I look forward to keeping in touch with both couples when I return home.
A few miscellaneous leftovers:
From Berlin I flew over the Alps and had a great view from 30,000 ft.
Pasta and prosecco. Yes please.
Thanks for reading. Off to Florence!