I am back in New York now, trying to get back into the swing of my Regular Life. And I've had some time to digest (and sort through the 3000+ pictures that I took!), and I am still completely in awe of this trip that we took, and everything we saw.
So, without further ado - Venice.
Length of stay: dinner, + full next day, + breakfast the day after
We arrived in Venice for dinnertime, on this gloriously overcast, kind of murky-looking day that made the colors of the place just POP. (I haven't edited any of the pictures yet, please bear with me here, you'll have to take my word for it!). You have to come in by boat, and the city just kind of appears on the waterline, like one of those popup books with really cool castles in them.
I wound up running to the front of the boat, leaving the Scooby gang and all my charges inside (woops!) while I MARVELED at this city. I don't know if I've marveled in a while, it was pretty cool. It was almost like my life had become a movie, and I had become much, much cooler. I knew immediately this was going to be one of the most magical places I'd ever been.
We wandered through the streets a bit, through awesome tiny winding alleys that didn't seem like they could possibly be real. Even the "wide" streets could probably only fit 3 people across. We went to a little hole in the wall restaurant, where I had the best red sauce of my entire life (sorry, Grandma!). I will dream about that sauce. And definitely more later on traveling with Celiac.
And every so often, you'd make your way out of these tiny, crowded, winding streets and get a view like this:
The next morning, we began our sight seeing tour in earnest, traversing well over 20,000 steps (according to one chaperone's Fitbit) across the tiny, awesome city. We wandered a bit, took a walking tour, saw an unbelievable glass blowing demonstration on Murano, and got to check out the littler island for some free time.
Glass blowing factory we went to
Beautiful canal #647
The tiniest and most delicious cup of coffee I've ever had in my life, at a tiny cafe on Murano.
We made our way back to the main island, where we got to GO INTO THE PALAZZO DUCALE and hang out in ST. MARK'S SQUARE. This did not stop being cool, at any point on the trip.
For one of the first times in my young life, I started seeing buildings I had only learned about in class and in books. It was staggering, humbling, and weirdly emotional. I think I will be in love with Venice forever.
Cortile at the Palazzo Ducale
They had the most phenomenal collection of art and armor all through the building, with people just casually strolling by it. I guess that's just Europe. In related news, was very stoked for Game of Thrones to come back.
We accidentally wandered into the prison next door, where I learned that I am very strictly NOT a person you want with you in an abandoned prison. The colleague I was with was SO down for an adventure, and felt like we were in an episode of Buffy. I kept wondering if a person in a horror movie would do a particular thing, so we could avoid doing that thing. It was awesome, and creepy, and I would never go there after dark. They had racks + stains on the floor.
Eek, eek, eek.
The view from the Bridge of Sighs.
We visited the absolutely glorious Museo Correr, that I wished I could spend three years in. This was the place that made me promise myself I'd be back.
We went on an absolutely unbelievable gondola ride through the canals, which I will relive in dreams and paintings for many, many years.
Best seat in the house - right in front of the boat!
I was pretty stoked about it.
The colleague I got lost with in the prison (ha!) showed us how to make sure we were buying legitimate Venetian masks made there (not knockoff imports, or anything like that). I was searching for one my fiance might like too, so we could hang it up in the apartment. I wound up with one with music notes (more on our musical roots later!).
After dinner we took a water taxi (!) back to Lido de Venezia, where we had been staying. I skyped with fiance a little bit, got to say hello to my kittens, after watching one of the coolest sunsets I'd ever seen.
We capped our trip to Venice with a quick dip in the Adriatic before heading to Florence. It was cool to go to the beach, and the water felt awesome, but I couldn't wait to get to the Mediterranean. Turns out I was 100% correct.
Reppin' the Damn Yanks even across the ocean, ft. the bathing suit I convinced myself was slightly more teacherly.
Next stop - Florence!