Friday, September 24, 2010

Sun drenched Venezia!

Venice, filled with tourists in July, was already buzzing early in the morning.  It  quickly became very warm as we ventured out to explore the magic of the city.  St. Mark's square, a piazza in front of the famous cathedral was filling up with those who were patient enough to wait in the queue for a chance to view inside.  The line was already winding its way around the buildings walls.  (We decided to forgo this idea - mostly because it was so hot already and we had only planned one full day here.)  Although we had not really eaten breakfast - only a few things we had brought from the car - we were now definitely on the search for authentic Gelato!

In front of St. Mark's Cathedral

We meandered along winding sidewalks, sandwiched between century old buildings, while small motor boats and gondolas jockeyed for positions in the narrow waterways.  I was continually amazed how they were able to transport people, belongings and necessities in a flotilla of mismatched boats and barges and never seeming to collide with each other.

A flotilla of gondolas, barges and small runabouts

A typical sidewalk filled with shops, tourists and Venetians.
Store fronts and family homes lined the narrow sidewalk

Sometime before noon, in a quiet neighborhood, we tasted what was to be only the beginning of many flavors of gelato.  I began with lemon and chocolate.... heavenly.  We sat on a rock wall that lined a canal, watching small businesses taking care of daily routines and just relaxed in the warmth of the city.  There were many moments like these for me... sitting back and thanking God for my family and this moment together.  Two years ago I could not even fathom traveling with out Al at my side, but somehow I feel he wanted me to make this trip and the memories I had of our time here (nearly 30 years ago) made me smile and thankful I had come.

Simple moments, simple treasures
Gelato and family

We headed back to the Grand Canal for more sightseeing - and of course making our way over the Rialto bridge - crammed with people and shops purveying only what the elite would think of purchasing.  Wandering past one of the canal restaurants we came upon the most delicious looking pizza - huge slices of fresh tomatoes and pineapple.  We knew this was our menu for lunch - along with a beer or glass of wine - after all we were in Italy!

Looking back at our restaurant under the red canopies

It was so relaxing to sit outside under a red canopy and watch the world float by.  We lingered for as long as we could and headed back out to the sun baked sidewalks to window shop and meander back to our hotel, gather our swimsuits and towels and take the boat over to Lido Island for a "refreshing" swim in the Mediterranean and of course more gelato!  Such a life!

On the boat to Lido
Arriving at Lido Island

Lido, even though it is also centuries old, has a totally different flavor - more open with gardens and trees and automobiles!  It seemed a little odd to cross over the water and arrive at what seemed like a different culture almost.  Back to reality in a sense.  Finding our way to the swimming beach, we took turns floating and bobbing in the sea water.  It felt so nice to cool off and just do nothing - except smile, laugh and wonder why on earth people should lay nearly nude on a public beach!  Women who were topless on the sand, would then wrap themselves in a towel to put their clothes back on:)

One more stop before returning to Venice and our night out for dinner - gelato!  I don't remember exactly what I had but I'm pretty sure it was one scoop of lemon with a scoop of hmmm... raspberry, I think!

Ryan and Emily had met an artist on the plaza when they were in Venice previously, who had advised them about a tasty, locals restaurant -  so after putting on our finery we stepped out to another golden lit evening - along with many others, who were making their ways to dinner or walks in the cooler evening. Hundreds of people were out but again, it felt quiet and subdued.   Before returning to our apartment for the night - I wanted to take a picture of the golden hued sea with the majestic architecture in the background.  I opened my camera, turned it on, set my scene and pressed the button... a very strange click occurred and my camera suddenly quit.  Oh sadness... my trip had just begun.... thankfully Michelle and Ryan would continue documenting our travels so I will still have a few pictures to share.

more to come....

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