Posted by: Anique | December 6, 2010

As close to Heaven as I might ever get

Gelato + Venezia = Paradiso

Walking through a Venetian Plaza towards a canal and yet another tiny pedestrian street while licking a chocolate gelato in the sun, that might just be as close to heaven as I will ever get!

We visited Venice for two days (3 nights) from the 18th to the 21st of November. I have dreamt of visiting Venice since I was a little kid. I have always been fascinated with Venice thanks to some fantastic books set there. And an interest in a city that has only canals!

The ten minute train ride from Mestre to Venice felt similar to our plane ride across the ocean. I kept thinking “Am I really going to Venice? Am I dreaming?” Coming out the train station to face the Grand Canal really made it real. I am here, I am REALLY here! We decided to take the Vappereto (Water bus) to San Marco because we had really heavy backpacks. After our cruise down the Grand Canal we met our landlady in San Marco and followed her through the tiniest streets EVER!   Some were so narrow you could touch both sides at once! The streets were windy and almost identical, although some had a few bridges in them. Our apartment was nice and cozy on the inside but it looked really run down on the outside. It, like all the other apartments,   was in a gray wall of buildings on a small calle (street).  Our landlady warned us that if we heard a siren it meant that there would be a tidal flood for the following 6 hours. The next morning at 5 o’clock, Dad was awakened by the noise of a siren. After Mom came back from her run, she told us that San Marco square had flooded completely and there were platforms to walk on if you didn’t have rubber boots. We went into our calle after breakfast to find the canal at the end of it over-flowing and the alley filling up.

We walked towards San Marco as quickly as we could because we wanted to beat the crowds but we got stopped a few times by flooded calle.  San Marco was really flooded, I guess that makes sense seeing that it is the lowest spot in town and in borders the lagoon. The water was almost knee-deep in places, but since we didn`t have rubber boots we stuck to the platforms even though they were crawling with tourists.  Come to think of it, it should come as no surprise that San Marco is the lowest place in Venice because it has the Campanile, San Marco’s basilica (all marble), the Doge’s (huge) place and the big building with the arcades that lines the square.  The water had gone down a bit by now, so we headed towards Rialto Bridge trying not to hit the touristy streets. Even they are super narrow, so it is often a people-jam on them. When we reached the Rialto Bridge, we discovered that the wooden walls that you can see from the outside are vendors’ booths with a walkway in between.  On the other side there was a fish & fruit market that sold octopus and squid. There were a flock of gigantic seagulls, as big as birds of prey! We wandered through the streets for ages and eventually started getting hungry. We found a bakery and a square with a bench. We were going to start eating lunch when we realized that stores might close at 1pm and we might not get our first Italian gelato!! Panic! Dad said that we could eat our lunch in backwards order, so we found the nearest gelato place and got one big cone each. As we were walking through the square towards a canal and another tiny calle, while licking gelato with the sun beating on our backs, I said to Dad “This is about as close to Heaven as I might ever get!”

After that we hit the calle again, this time in the direction of the train station. On the way, Dad told me that my Christmas gift from Mamie & Grampa was a souvenir from here. I started to really look into store windows and think about what I should get. Near Venice, there is a tiny island that is the home of many fantastic glass blowers, so there are lots of glass shops throughout Venice. They have all kinds of stuff but I particularly liked the jewellery and the animal figurines. I also liked the Carnivale masks. We don’t exactly have space for a full size mask and my uncle Michael bought me one a couple of years ago, so I was leaning towards a smaller packable mask.  I looked and looked and finally, on the very last day I bought a beautiful silver and blue dolphin necklace made of glass. I had spotted it earlier but I thought it might look too big on me. In the end it fit perfectly! I absolutely LOVE it!!!! (Thanks a million, Mamie & Grampa!)

Venice lived up to its expectations in being a fantastical story-bookish place! I have to say, though, the houses could use some renovation, painting and over-all pick-me-ups! I loved it and would like to go back again! To be there was wonderful because it had always been a dream and now it is reality!!

Your adventurous friend

Anique

P.S. To see my pictures CLICK HERE

To see Dad’s pictures click here

To see Owen’s pictures click here


Responses

  1. Anique,
    Great description of Venice and great pictures. I visited Venice in August and it was so hot that there were hardly any tourists. However we had to shower at night due to the heat! Did you take a Gondola ride? I thought it was neat how they had ambulance boats and garbage boats, etc. I too was shocked by how narrow the streets are. I was just wondering if you found that because you now have a better understanding of French that you could understand bits of Italian as well? What great languages.
    Cheers,
    Krista

    • Wedidn`t take a gondola thanks to th GIANT prices but we took Traghetto.A Traghetto is a ferry a cross the grand canal that is in a non-fancy gondola.

      • I took one of those too ( the ferry not gondola, cause there was a wedding going on). What was your favourite ice cream flavour!?!?!?!?!?! mine was Fior de Latte ( milkflower). it tasted like icing YUM!!!!!!!!!

      • I can’t tell you what my favourite Gelato is but Nuttelata ( chunks of chocolate and chocolate sauce) was pretty darn good!

  2. Venice is unforgettable. So great that you’ve now added it to your memories. I was there once in summer (never again!) and once in spring. I am dying to go in the winter. I think it’s hauntingly beautiful.


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