It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about my European travels, but we will resume the adventure with my stop in Venice – an amazing city I had been to before but was very excited to return to.
Venice sits on the the largest lagoon in the Mediterranean and is made up of 118 islands connected by 465 bridges. Water-filled canals take the place of conventional roads which limits transportation to by boat or on foot since even bikes are forbidden. To get to this secluded paradise, a ferry ride is required. But once there you can hop on a Gondola, a long boat typical of Venice, to maze through the thin alleys (although your gondolier most likely won’t sing for you like they do in the movies). But the real way to see the city is wandering on foot through the countless tiny alleys and over the many bridges.
Our first stop was St. Mark’s Square. Most people are only familiar with St. Mark’s Basilica which is incredible because it doesn’t have a drop of paint decorating it. Instead all the decorations are made completely of mosaics. But the giant plaza also is home Doge Palace, the 1st ever public library, and Caffe Florian which is the oldest coffee shop in the world. A tour guide picked up our group and led us through the maze which is Venice, feeding us history and fun facts. We passed plenty of shops featuring the famous Venetian masks and learned that the masks with the beaks were originally exclusively for doctors, protecting them when treating patients with the plague.
After the tour was lunch, gelato, an incredible glass blowing demonstration, souvenir shopping, and a picture-taking extravaganza before the sun set and we headed to the biggest feast of our entire trip. A huge antipasto platter along with endless bottles of wine were on the table upon our arrival. That was replaced by a vegetable platter and then a risotto. Those were just the appetizers to prep us for the pasta fiasco about to occur. We were warned that it was going to be a lot of food, but I was still shocked when they brought out first carbonara, then gnocchi, and then pesto pasta. And these weren’t small servings – each plate could easily be it’s own meal! Everyone was so full that when the ice cream came out at the end, many people were barely able to get down a bite, let alone the whole thing.
With very full stomachs, we ended the Italy leg of our trip. And thanks to the severe food coma, everyone was able to pass out and get a good night’s sleep in preparation for the for the day of traveling to come.
Next Stop: Vienna