Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Midweek Blahs and Vacation 2: Still Dreaming of Venice

If, like me, you spent Sunday night watching the 2.5 hour series finale of Lost, then you can probably relate to how I felt on Monday: emotionally spent and more than a little sorry for myself on a gray morning. Anyway, to comfort myself, I'm thinking of my trip to Venice. It was the kind of vacation where calling your boss to quit your job and stay indefinitely was clearly a temptation and there were moments where it seemed like an entirely reasonable thing to do.

Here are some of my favorite things about Venice.
View of the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge

As a traveler you expect that certain sights will be over-hyped and don't live up to expectation. However, occasionally there are some that wildly exceed your expectations. (IMHO: examples of the over-hyped are Picadilly Circus, Mona Lisa and most Cathedrals; while those that more than lived up include Sagrada Familia, the Colosseum and just about any piece of marble Michelangelo happened to touch.) My point - and I do have one! - is that Venice is NOT overrated. This is a place you should visit at least once, simply to witness it's unique beauty.

Phineas on a bridge in the Cannaregio area

I find it completely appropriate that this gem of a city is named after the goddess of love, and even less of a wonder that it was the home of Giacomo Casanova, the famed...well...Casanova. Just walking around Venice is wonderful unto itself, especially if you go off the beaten path a bit and wander through the warren of narrow alleys, courtyards, canals and bridges, which we did. In fact, my favorite activity was wandering the city and nibbling at cicchetti (Venetian tapas) and sipping prosecco, the local drink of choice. Seriously, that Venice is ground zero for a great sparkling wine makes me feel like all is right in the universe.

The Hunchback of the Rialto

We started every morning browsing in the Rialto Market, where fish and produce is sold to locals. Later in the day, we would see the same seafood and produce on restaurant menus.

Piazza San Marco from the top of the Campanile

Lest you think all we did was walk and eat and sip prosecco, we did visit the Doge's Palace, the Campanile (tower), and the other sights in Piazza San Marco. Should you ever go to Venice, I highly recommend the "Secret Itinerary" tour of the Doge's Palace. It visits all the hidden places in the palace (ie: back offices, torture chambers and the cell where Casanova was held).

Phineas in a gondola - I was in the gondola too,
precariously hanging out over the water so I could get this shot.

I also recommend taking a Traghetto or "Service Gondola", which ferry passengers back and forth across the Grand Canal at various points for a mere 50 Eurocents. Keep in mind you are traveling across the Canal while most of the traffic is going up and down the Canal, which was rather exciting. By the end of our trip, I rode like the locals did: standing up! Oddly enough, this was a smoother ride than the NY City subway system. Speaking of crowded subways, definitely visit Venice in the off season. It was the first week of May when we were there and I would not have wanted it one bit more crowded or overrun with tourists than it was. (What? Who? Me? A tourist?!?! Nonesense! I am a traveler - an entirely different breed than tourists.)

Notice how the tower in the background leans - a common sight in Venezia.

But most of all, visiting Venice is about just being in Venice; soaking it in. One picture perfect moment is followed by another, especially if you are there with someone special.

Phineas looks like he has mischief on his mind.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love your eloquent blog about Venice. With a recommendation like that, who wouldn't want to go!