I woke up early on my second morning in Venice to venture out and see the place when it was still quiet—aka before all the day-tripper tourists arrive and before breakfast. I spent about an hour wandering around the corridors and waterfronts just intentionally getting “lost” and then finding my way back to somewhere I knew. The morning was already hot and muggy, with this amazingly thick fog surrounding the city so that you could not even see the nearby islands. It was so beautiful that I think I will make this a habit when I travel to new cities.
A few shots from my morning:
This section of the waterfront is filled with tourists and kitschy souvenir carts during the day.
A quiet Venitian canal
This is a metal sidewalk anchored to the side of this warehouse at the edge of the city
After a yummy breakfast, we did the one absolute MUST on the Venice list: Gondola Ride! We already knew seeing the city by boat was the best, but gliding along in a Gondola felt even more luxurious. If this city has a pace, it is assuredly set by the Gondalas slipping along the narrow canals between the numerous islands and navigating between the tour boats, water taxis, and water buses in the laguna. Our Gondolier spoke 4 languages (Italian, English, French, & Spanish) and had been paddling the canals for 15 years. He had a beautiful baritone singing voice and was happy to tell us stories about the city and answer all our questions. Christiano from Murano (a nearby island famous for their glass) was an excellent Gondolier, despite being too gorgeous for any of us to even attempt to haggle with him about the price.
Me, very happy & relaxed
My view of the city during the ride.
Evidence for my husband that my mother was indeed between me and the handsomest Gondolier in Venice.
My absolute favorite picture of the entire trip because of my mother’s face!
After the Gondola ride, I let the dames wander off to do some shopping (too rich for my blood), and I walked all around the parts of the city I hadn’t seen yet for several hours. There are a million tiny pathways to wander and several different sections of the city to see, some even with fewer tourists than residents. My only guiding rule was to turn down a different path every time I came to one filled with hordes of touristy shops. It really was a great way to explore the city and see some hidden spots that I would have otherwise missed. I wound my way around to places that I most likely could not have intentionally found if I had tried, eventually getting to a place I recognized again before ducking under another corridor. It was a lovely quiet contemplative afternoon for me.
I met up with Mom and Alice again to find a spot for dinner. We snagged the last open table at an otherwise booked restaurant and followed our meals up with traditional Aperol/Campari Spritzs. YUM! I had originally planned to go out to watch the Eurocup Final Game between Italy & Spain after dinner, but once I had a taste of the air conditioning it became impossible to tear me out of the room. I watched Spain thump Italy 4-0 from the comfort of our hotel room, and missed the crying grandmothers in the square nearby at the end of the game.
The next day, Italy mourned their second place finish in the 2012 Eurocup and we said our goodbyes to the city of Venice. We shopped for our last souvenirs and took our last glances of the floating museum city. We had just gotten in the rhythm of the place and finally found our way around a little bit, and it was already time to go home…at least my home right now. As our Vaporetto skimmed the way between the island and the airport on the mainland, I made up my mind that I will most definitely have to return to that enchanting and infatuating place.
P.S. I assure you dear readers that it was ridiculously difficult to refrain from posting an exuberant amount of pictures of this beautiful and oft photographed city. I know seeing other people's vacation photos can be super boring, so I tried to hold back a little.