Venise

We boarded the train to make our way south, winding through the Italian countryside, the fields of green slowly turning into a sea of blue.  A two-day getaway from work in Milan, our destination the magical city of Venice... 

Venice is a world all her own.  An intricate maze of canals intertwined with narrow cobblestoned alleys, all aglow painted in hues of rose, pink, pastels and terracotta.  The buildings are weathered and worn, a melange of textures and colors, perfectly imperfect, as if Mother Nature herself was the painter. Stepping into Venice is like walking into a fairytale placed in a city of long ago.  It is surreal.  Aside from it being the world's only pedestrian city and built on a lagoon, it is breathtakingly beautiful.  You can't help but to be enveloped by the magic of this city upon the vision of your first canal.  All things Venetian explode before your eyes, it is a visual feast not be be believed.  On arrival we took our time and walked to our hotel, forever capturing those first moments in our hearts and our minds.  I smiled profusely as Eric proclaimed "I feel like we are on the set of a movie."  Venice has that affect on you.

It is hard not be captivated by Venice and her worldly uniqueness, grandeur and romantic charm.  This old world city has changed but seemingly not changed... the color palette, the marble palaces, palazzo after palazzo, canals abuzz with never-ending gondola rides and the unique blend of Venetian architecture adorning the city.  Timeless splendor that seems to age gracefully.  The Grand Canal, Piazza San Marco or the Rialto are to name a few of the beautiful sights, but many of Venice's treasures hide in her backstreets. Our days were filled with exploring the hidden passages and alleys endlessly twisting and turning throughout the city.  Navigating Venice can be challenging, we were lost more than not, but that was part of the adventure. We walked for hours, meandering different neighborhoods, admiring the many churches and exploring the outskirts of the city, all the while gasping at the charming detail, the non-stop views and countless canals.  There are a myriad of nooks and crannies to discover and with each turn a new sight to be seen.  I imagine that no matter how many times you visit Venice, you see her through virgin eyes, with each stroll discovering something new - a corner, a color or a facade - perhaps not fully seen or noticed before.

This was my second trip to Venice and Eric's first.  It was interesting for us as visitors to observe the lifestyle and I often wondered what it must be like for the locals to live in their home now crowded with strangers.  Venice is a duality, an old world city layered with modern day and inundated with millions of visitors.  Our days were planned around avoiding the non-stop flow of tourists who move in, out and around the city daily.  There are a lot of people visiting a small and isolated area, which at times was daunting.  It was disheartening to see plastic bottles floating in areas of the ocean... sadly a current day reality possible even in the most beautiful of places but more so a reminder of how much more we all need to do to protect this beautiful planet and its wonders.  But despite the infrastructure challenges and despite the masses of people, Venice is truly a rare gem.

After two days I wanted more time to explore, to visit Burano and Murano, and I left knowing that I will one day return.  My favorite time of day was early morning while the city still slept.  I walked the empty street and watched the colors of dawn softly light the city and saturate the aged facades.  The only sound the sea, the boats swaying in the docks, birds fluttering overhead and the the distant murmurs of fisherman... sheer heaven. I soaked up every beautiful image to cherish forever in my memory... and lost my thoughts as I watched the glassy water softly reflect the world of yesterday...