Italy: Venice

Arriving in Venice from France was a breeze.  Ryan Air was amazing.  The price was bare-bones.  The hardest part was buying the tickets: it took 15 prompts to make the purchase after they offered add-ons like rental cars, insurances and gifts.  We made sure to print our boarding pass to avoid the 60 Euro penalty (WHAT?!?).  Then they boarded early…good thing we were on time.  The seats didn’t recline.  There wasn’t even an in-flight magazine.  But when all was said and done (and you followed the rules), we arrived 30 minutes early to Venice and they offered a cheap shuttle from the airport to the city.

Venice is a collection of 118 islands with 150 canals and more than 400 bridges among a labyrinth of narrow streets and dead ends.  The stucco buildings were a little dilapidated.  The crooked alleys were full of surprises.  The worn cobblestone was lovely except on our ankles.  But it all added to the charm and ambiance of the city.  And then there were great little eateries waiting to be sampled around every corner.  One recommendation: get exact directions to your hotel before arriving.  Otherwise, plan for a few hours of searching.  We only had one full day to explore Venice, but honestly, it was enough.  We had a few authentic meals, a couple scoops of gelato and plenty of time to lose our sense of direction.

Our first priority was to relive the sensation of having fresh pasta and a liter of house wine at every meal.  A table full of Italians even laughed at us (I like to think with us) when we tried to explain to the waiter that lunch is just as good as dinner to order a whole liter.  By the way, why is Italian food so much better in Italy?

We started our day in St. Mark’s Square where we stared in disbelief/disgust at the people covering themselves with pigeons.  We searched for an old Cartier ring (an ongoing mission) to replace one that Joshua’s grandfather lost years ago.  (How does Cartier not keep an archive of their jewelry?)  I was able to pick up some shoes for our “formal” night on the cruise.  Flip flops and hiking boots can only get you so far in the “real world”.

The 35 Euro per person gondola ride was out of our price range, so we were happy when the water taxi to the port gave us all the pictures we could have hoped for.

We’ve been living a different life for the past few weeks…a little higher class than usual, and we plan on keeping that up for the next 12 days!  Bring on the all-inclusive cruise!

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