Venezia! Queen of the Adriatic Sea
September 14, 2014
Many of you know that my husband Richard travels on a regular basis for his work. In fact he's on a plane going somewhere pretty much every week, if not multiple times a week, and has already logged over 100,000 air miles so far this year alone. He's been in more countries and various cities than most of us could ever dream of seeing in a life time and frequently even needs to have additional pages added to his passport. Understandably he's rarely interested in going much of anywhere (accept Kauai) when vacation time rolls around.
This year was different though. When I asked him what he would like to do with his vacation time he unequivocally responded "I want to go to Italy!", somewhere his travels had not yet taken him. Okay then, I'm on board with that. Italy it is!
Our original plan was to go to Rome and then maybe the Amalfi Coast because, well, it seemed like a given that if you go to Italy you go to Rome. I couldn't stop thinking though about someplace my Facebook friend Cha-zay had recommended which was Lake Lugano on the Italian border of Switzerland, and in looking at the map we realized it was very close to Venice as well as Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera, another spot that had come highly recommended. And frankly after being in London for the last 4 months, we really wanted and needed something more low key.
So the plan was all set and a new dog sitter found for the Lu. First, we'd fly from London to Venice where we'd spend a few days and pick up a rental car for our drive south to Cinque Terre. After several days of fun and sun in CT the next leg would be to drive north to Lake Lugano, hang by the lake for a few days and then travel back home via Milan. Perfect!
What I remember most about arriving in Venice was the look on my husband’s face as we traveled into Venice from the airport on the water taxi. It was the most relaxed and happy I had seen him in quite some time and it was a joy to see.
The second thing I remember is how gosh darn beautiful it is when you arrive on that water taxi and your first view of Venice is from the water. There really is nothing like it.
Venice is part of a group of 118 small islands nestled on the Adriatic Sea which are all interconnected to one another by an intricate system of canals and bridges. It's an extremely busy city, packed with both locals and tourists alike all trying to get from one place to the next via the ancient and extremely narrow streets. It's truly like one big maze and can be a bit overwhelming at first. It doesn't take long to realize though that you can't really get lost as all roads lead back to somewhere.
I couldn't help but be reminded of a time when I was backpacking it in Thailand and an Aussie staying in our guest house returned around breakfast time after his night out and shared with us that he was so pissed he couldn't remember how to get home. (For those of you unfamiliar with Aussie or British lingo he wasn't saying he was angry...). Long story short is that he told us he just kept turning left all night until he eventually made it home.
So my advice for navigating the Venetian maze .... just keep turning left!
Just Keep Turning Left!
The water ways in Venice are not only beautiful and fun, they are a great way to get around. Alongside the infamous gondolas which are mostly used by tourists, you will see water taxis and various types of motor boats making their way from one end of the city to the other via the canals. I was intrigued by the small boats stacked high with boxes and goods for delivery as it hadn't occurred to me that there was really no other way. No place for UPS trucks here ...
And yes, we went or a gondola ride even though it was "touristy" and we knew we were paying a crazy high price for the half hour experience. Was it worth it? Absolutely. You see the city in a completely different way and you really can't come to Venice and not ride in a gondola. Right?
Our gondolier was named Christiane and he was lovely, pointing out things we might not have noticed and explaining to us the history of the city. We planned our ride for just before dusk so we were able to see the city as it began to light up for the evening. It was beautiful. And romantic too.
Wikipedia tells me that the entire city of Venice as well as the lagoon is a Unesco World Heritage site. The architecture is unlike anything you have ever seen. I couldn't help feeling at times like we were at Disneyland or perhaps on a movie set. You can easily get lost for days winding through the tiny streets doing absolutely nothing. And that's exactly what we did.
Accept eat gelato ... wherever and whenever we possibly could.
Venice is an amazing city. It's an amazing place to just be and to enjoy. The sights, the colors, the flavors. Even just taking the time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life like dangling your feet in the water or enjoying the sun setting over the water at night.
Here are some of my favorites for you to enjoy...
Until next time from beautiful Cinque Terre!
XOXO, from me and lu