For me, Europe is like my fiancé: it’s the one that has totally taken your heart. There are lots of different options (places/boys) and so many are interesting in different ways, but this is the one that’s clearly “a keeper”. Sure it’s imperfect, but it’s the one that dependably makes you happy. Keeps you interested. Challenges you. Makes you feel warm and cozy inside; makes you smile. Makes you feel like you belong. Like you occupy a particular, irreplaceable niche in its life as much as it does it does in yours. But it’s also been a long time since you had that “first kiss feeling”.
That’s what Venice just did for me. After years of a solid loving relationship with Europe in which I grew to feel that it held no more surprises, Venice gave me that first kiss feeling. I guess, after ages of hearing that it was dirty, stinky and clogged with tourists, I was bound to be pleasantly surprised. The water, the boats, the cheerful Italians, the bridges, the food. Venice is a place you could just wander the streets for days and never grow bored. Every corner is more interesting than the last. It’s a giant labyrinth of bridges, tiny twisting streets and stunning architecture. (We had plenty of laughs as the men would lead us somewhere confidently – only to wind up dead ended into the water.) Underneath all of your enjoyment lies the nagging and unfathomable issue of how such a place could ever exist. Seriously. How did they do that?! But anyway…
We were accompanied by our friends Dan and Anna, and we couldn’t be happier to have shared the weekend with them. I had purposely never gone to Venice, figuring that it would be a shame to waste the romance of it by traveling there solo. So it is perfect that Del took me there for a birthday present, and just as nice to have shared it with another couple that we like so much. I can’t believe I ever held such low expectations for such a wonderful place! In fact, I hope to go back again and again. (Namely, I’d love to take a less strenuous visit, when I can just relax and drink a cappuccino while listing to the water slop against the stairs, boats and houses.) My only disappointment was not being able to see an opera in the famous Teatro de Fenice (sold out), but hey, I can always use an excuse to go back!
If you’d like to hear about my recommendations, I’ll post those tomorrow. Otherwise, I’ll leave you with a couple of photos (as usual, the rest are on Flickr).
Servizio Gondole (from St. Mark’s).
Note: This is a post I did back in 2008 for my former blog “Life with the Others”, which focused on travel and cultural topics. I am working on a new post for Killerboob, but recently I was reminded of the post below and – if you will allow me to be immodest – I like it. So I decided to dig it up and cross-post it here. Hope you like it, too.