Sunday, January 11, 2009
We departed from a rather rainy Florence via Eurostar for the last leg of my European extravaganza. The train was full, so we had to stand in the cafe car for the two hour trip north. Interestingly enough, we ran into a young German man who we had talked to in a restaurant some nights before. It's funny the people you run into in random places!
I'll admit, I wasn't really sure what to expect in Venice. I knew it as a city of canals, but I hadn't realized just how true that was. The omnipresence of water was quite shocking, especially for a boy from dry Colorado. I was constantly amused by boats for every task, from Fed Ex boats to Ambulance boats to Taxi boats.
While walking around, I got hit with a feeling of 'wow, I'm in Venice' Sure, I get that feeling in a lot of places I go, but some places give it to you more than others, and the two cities that have most impressed me with their uniqueness have been Paris and now Venice. I think part of it is those cities place in popular culture. So many films have use Venice as a backdrop, and that adds an extra layer of wow to seeing the city in the flesh. I mean hey, even James Bond has been to Venice!
Though we were far from the only people feeling those feelings, if anything Venice was MORE crowded than Florence, or perhaps there were just more people in a smaller area. Though thankfully, our convent was in a quiet residential 'suburb' far from the tourist drag. I say far, but of course little in Venice is more than a ten minute walk, if you can find your way through the maze of streets.
I often pride myself on my sense of direction, but Venice defeated me. I was totally turned around and utterly confused on that first day. Part of the problem was the address of the convent wasn't quite correct, but I also encountered the traditional male block of asking for directions. Thankfully, Nick had no such compunction, and we managed to track down our accommodations with the assistance of a kindly old man who knew exactly the convent we were staying in.