Viva Venezia!

“If Venice had no bridges, Europe would be an island.”

June 14-16, 2015

Somehow, and at some odd interval or another, Lizzie and I have found ourselves in the watery City of Water three times. Each visit we were welcomed by torrential rain storms. That’s right, royally drenched every time. It goes with the recurring theme nicely, though. This visit was especially special this time because it was Kathy’s birthday! Lizzie’s sister, Rachel, who works for Emirates, was assigned the flight to Venice on the same day as Kathy’s birthday, so this spurred a multinational visit from the family. Lizzie’s parents graciously offered to pay for our travel from England and lodging in Venice. It was so very kind of them. THANK YOU! But first things first, the story!

At 4:30am, we had an early start to this mini holiday. We flew from Stansted to Treviso, Italy, and then got a bus from Treviso to Venice. Wooo!! We is very excite!

IMG_2958IMG_2955With just a light rain upon entering Venice, Lizzie and I sought to stretch our legs a tad. But when it threatened to downpour on our heads, we headed to a quaint cafe. After all, we were quite hungry after the three eggs, toast and bruised bananas for breakfast. Not that this wasn’t filling, but we required a cappuccino italiano!IMG_2961

A native Venetian for sure

Native Venetian

We were really just passing the time until Paul and Kathy’s train arrived later that afternoon. Rachel, you’ll remember, was also due to arrive, but not until that evening. You see, we didn’t want to scare Venice all at once, so we cued our entrances to the scene. To our great surprise, Matt also made it to Venice for this jolly affair. He make a great surprise at station of Venice trains to say hi meet his parents and to Lizzie also. High five!IMG_3580

Then Rachel made her entrance, which was conveniently clocked to catch the consequential currents of condensation while we waited for her to arrive via vaporetto. If you didn’t notice the alliteration, then I can’t even.

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Pre-soaking

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Post-soaking. It got us man.

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She made it!

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Six necessary cioccolati caldi per favore!

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My first visit to Venice, Italy was coincidentally also with Paul and Kathy. But that time, we were celebrating Lizzie’s return to Europe after her year in Albuquerque with me. It rained then, too! More importantly, though, Paul shared his knowledge of a hot spot for a delicious cena italiana. Such delicacies to be had! Due to the popularity of the locale, reservations had to be made. Guess who made them perfectly and all by himself me!IMG_3612It had been almost three months since our last visit to Italy, so we were excited to practice our Italian again. But I think we impressed ourselves! Ordering gelati, pasti, pizze, e cappuccini was a breeze, molto facile! But this was only the first day! So many adventures were still to be had.

The next day was Kathy’s birthday! So Lizzie and I trekked off to find some fresh goods for colazione (breakfast). Il Rialto market is quite a sweet spot!IMG_3636Kathy announced at the table that since it was her birthday she fully intended on spending at least part of it in a Venetian gondola! Her treat, how sweet! So off we went with much excitement for this quintessential experience of Venice!
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Operatics in a gondola. Stunning.

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Instead of taking a picture of Rachel, I used her camera to take a selfie. #gondelfie #no #umm #venicelfie #yes

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"The true degradation is to work your entire life"

“The true degradation is to work your entire life”

Kathy and I switched shoes. I was feeling pretty good about the trade

Kathy and I switched shoes. I was feeling pretty good about the trade

We explored Venice lots more on Kathy’s birthday, although Rachel had to leave midday to catch her next flight back to Dubai. By the time Rachel left, we had developed quite an appetito, particularly after our short sprint to her airport pick-up van! So, we found a delicious grocer’s shop full of amazing tomatoes, cheeses, pistachio meats, eggplant parmegiana, and some great bread. All very typical, all so delicious!
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After lunch, we ventured to a neighboring island called San Giorgio, as Paul knew there would be less tourists there. “Non sono turista, abito qua!”V 005

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Venice behind us, you can see San Marco’s Campanile just between us

Since San Giorgio also has a very impressive bell tower, we couldn’t resist checking out the views. But it was so windy up there!!IMG_3055V 031

Interacting with a non-interactive, not-permitted-to-enter art display. They tried to get us in trouble, but there were no signs!!!

Interacting with a non-interactive, not-permitted-to-enter art display. They tried to get us in trouble, but there were no signs!!!

After San Giorgio, we decided to trek through more of Venice. We found that the best way to explore Venice is to walk everywhere; and that we did! I think we took the grand canal transportation system twice or maximum thrice the entire time we were there. Simply walking through this grand city is truly phenomenal. It’s the “getting lost to find yourself” logic, I think.

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A real live model in Venice!

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Dayum!!

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A delicious birthday meal at a good old fashioned trattoria italiana

A delicious birthday meal at a good old fashioned trattoria italiana

On our last day in Venice, June 16, Paul and Kathy left after breakfast on the train back to Austria. Since Matt was to leave later that afternoon, we thought it a great opportunity to check out the biennale Venezia, a world renowned space for art exhibits from many different countries. It was…well, a lot of art, and mostly modern, which was congruently difficult to interpret. Overall, it was a great experience! And, I am certainly content knowing I attended the event, especially, you know, being in what was indubitably ancient Europe’s hub for art, music, theatre, and culture.

Following the Biennale, we each grabbed a quick last minute pizza for lunch, again 100% in Italian (and Matt, too!). Then we had to rush back to the apartment to grab Matt’s bags so he could make his flight in time. Apparently he made it to the airport five minutes before the plane was to take off! But he still made it!

Lizzie and I wandered a bit more about Venice, looking particularly for an ice cream parlour. After 30 minutes or so still without ice cream, a microburst (well, it seemed like it) opened up on us and we got wet from our heads to our toes, as did our backpacks! We tried to wait it out under loose shelter, successfully in vain. Finally after 20 minutes, we found a gelateria with the kindest Italian man I have yet met to date. He let us in, dripping wet, and took our jackets from our soggy backs to the pizza oven where they practically dried during our visit there. He promptly made us a small cup of warm cappuccino, free, and gave us cone after cone of gelato while he told us about his life. After this refreshing moment, we prepared for our next adventure by chowing down on chocolate at the seaside. Hmmm!!

MILKAAAA

MILKAAAA extra goloso 😀

Of course, this momentary tranquility didn’t prepare us for what was to come next: we missed our pre-paid bus back to the Treviso airport! We were left with one option: getting a taxi to take us the 45 minute haul to Treviso. Luckily, and I have rarely been this lucky, Lizzie and I were able to get in the same taxi as a German couple on business to Treviso. This meant two things: their company was paying for their taxi ride, and Lizzie was able to communicate with them. Lizzie successfully got our fare reduced from 115 euros to just 20!! Whew, what a day! And what a holiday!!

I would like to conclude this wordy post with a few more words. This quote was tagged on the side of a building on the Grand Canal. Indeed, I think it sums up my opinion of Venice quite well:

Venezia è sagrada.”

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About Jarett Bigej

"It is impossible to eat an ice cream cone in a masculine way."
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