"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Day 8 - 9 Venice, Italy
Before we left Austria, we packed everything we'd need for our 2-day stay in Venice into our backpacks so we would not have to pull our luggage onto the water taxi and through the streets of Venice. As we drove through the suburbs of Venice, we passed a large tour company's bus parked outside the Holiday Inn. "Ha!" I thought. We'll be staying in a hotel right in the heart of Venice. It's great to be able to step out of your hotel and be right in the heart of the city, whether for an early walk in the morning or a light night stroll. You can make the most of every moment. After we dropped off our luggage at the hotel, Martin took us for a walk around the city and explained how the street signs worked, pointed out some landmarks and assured us that we could not get lost. We had our first Italian group dinner that night and it was delizioso.
The next day we took a walking tour with a local guide who told us about the history of the city and how it was constructed. We went to a mask shop where the artisan showed us the steps he goes through to make a mask and explained the history and significance of the different styles of masks. Our tour ended at St. Mark's Basilica, yet another glorious church. Then we were off on our own to explore Venice. We had lunch (pizza, of course) at a sidewalk cafe along the Grand Canal overlooking the Rialto Bridge. During the afternoon we walked along the canals admiring the architecture and beauty of the city. I had expected the water in the canals to be a dirty green, but it was a beautiful blue-green. The water, the colorful buildings, boats and the bridges exceeded my expectations of Venice.
It was interesting to see how deliveries of goods were made in a city without cars or trucks--from boat to hand truck. Even the ambulance is a boat. To get away from the afternoon crowds, we took a walk along the lagoon stopping along the way for our first Italian gelato. After that I was on a quest to taste as many different flavors as I could. That evening Martin arranged for us all to go on a serenaded gondola ride. The weather was perfect and I tried to be in the moment so that I would be able to close my eyes and relive the experience. It was the perfect way to end a beautiful day in Venice.
ON GETTING INSPIRED!
While the painted ceiling of St. Mark's Basilica was amazing, I was drawn to the tile work on the floor. The geometric patterns reminded me of a quilt. There were triangles, squares, stars, checkerboards and octagons in black, brown, tan, blue, gray, gold and rust. I'd wanted to do a quilt this winter while I'm stuck inside and seeing the colors and patterns on the floor was just the spark I needed to get my creative juices flowing. Throughout the tour, I was in awe of the craftsmanship found in the old churches and buildings. The paintings, plaster work, woodcarvings, stonework, tiles and mosaics have been overwhelming.
- Walking tours
- St. Mark's Basilica and Square
- Serenaded gondola ride
- Lunch on the Grand Canal