Sunday, March 29

little islands everywhere

Sunday, March 29
March 28. The girls and I are renting a Venetian apartment for our stay here. It's really nice, and somehow I scored a room to myself (in the kitchen, where the fridge is making noises reminiscent of a mouse...surely not really a mouse...).

Anyway, it's a cute place with three rooms and a kitchen with supplies. Cristina, the owner, is young and super nice.

We enjoyed our first day in Venice with sun, masses of people, and of course pigeons. Thankfully, it was warm (for those used to colder weather in Maas). But just to rewind...The rest of the train ride was a little painful (no sleep and a lady making strange noises in her sleep) but waking up to a view of the magnificent Alps shrouded in fog was quite a beginning. Once we arrived, we took a water taxi, which is how you travel anywhere here, it's basically a small boat that can fit oh, maybe 70 people squished together. You can also walk, because Venice is surprisingly compact.

Around every corner is yet another gorgeous view of the canals and the old buildings directly on the water. It is a classy, ancient city on the water and that's what makes it beautiful.

Of course, when you think of Italy you think of delicious food. YES. My first taste of Italy has been delicious so far. We enjoyed some inexpensive pizza on the way to the main city square, Piazza San Marco, which is known for its pigeons.

We really did get assaulted by those little rascals and have some hilarious videos and pictures of their ambushes. The square was absolutely crammed with people and for good reason- the front of St. Mark's is breathtaking.

Inside, the church is literally coated with sparkling gold. Think of gold crushed up into paste, and then spread it all over the walls of an enormous church. We weren't allowed to take pictures but, well, call me a sinner, but I snuck one! (Actually, a surprising number of my museum and church photos were taken secretly!)

We also rode a packed elevator up the Campanile, the tower in the square, for a 360 degree view of the city.

I love how almost every major European city has a vantage point where you can admire the city's grandeur from above. It was beautiful, and the tops of the buildings are a classic brownish-orange color.

After visiting the square, we took a water taxi around the city and through the Grand Canal, the main river that goes through the city, just to see the sights. It really is amazing. I can't believe these buildings are literally two steps up from the water. Sadly, it started to get cold so we hurried to find some shops to go inside.

Venice is a great shopping area- especially for blown glass, jewelry, and masks. The masks are linked to the infamous Carnival festivities every year. And like many places in Italy, gelato abounds. We couldn't wait to accumulate what ended up a list of over 25 gelato flavors. First taste? I tried chocolate mousse...YUM.

Speaking of food, I had the best tortellini of my life at dinner, with ham and cream sauce. I am soooo tired though- after dinner we just headed back to the apartment and went to bed early. There will be plenty of time to explore tomorrow, too! Ciao!