Venice. Growing up it seemed enigmatical, a city framed with bright, turquoise water. It seemed romantic with gondola rides at sunset. It seemed unreal how there was a place on earth with no automobiles.
My imagination declared it as the city of Italy. On February 15th, it became a reality. However, this magical place I would visualize year after year was a lot harder to access physically than mentally. It took hours to research transportation and housing. Which train company? What time? Where to? Where from? How much? Little did we know accommodations were even more complicated. Hostel or hotel? Which is cheaper? Which has the better location? Are the reviews good? How many beds? Are they private or shared rooms? Are they mixed or same sex rooms? Is there a tourist charge? All of these questions were being revealed as we got closer and closer to our destination. It was a process I have never done before and it was long, exhausting, frustrating at times but extremely exciting.
After our preparations of transportation, housing, money, and food we were on our way to Venice, Italy at 7:30am with full backpacks and immense anticipation. This was my second time on a train and I forgot how awesome it was! The space was more comfortable than an airplane, the landscapes whipping by were beautiful and I felt special riding on a piece of transportation that was used by many before me.
The moment we got off the train our jaws dropped and stopped in complete awe. The sun was sparkling on the water as boats of every kind rowed up and down. Usually when entering a new city you hear honks, smell smoke, see traffic, but Venice was nothing our eyes have been exposed to before. After introducing our cameras to the spectacle, with no map and very little knowledge of Italian, we decided to charge for the streets of Venice. Were we going to get lost? Yes, but it was Venice, the biggest human maze, and we were ready for the challenge!
A kid in a candy store is what we looked like. So many different landscapes we needed to capture but our feet were going faster than our eyes; we wanted to delve deeper and deeper into the maze. What a journey! There were so many shops of high fashion, blown glass and delicious food. Artists sold their Venetian paintings nearly every outlet there were in this web. We found ourselves lost at every hour, but we didn’t care because that was an adventure in itself that we could not pass up. For example, wandering gave us the knowledge that now we knew the first church we passed two hours ago was only five minutes from our hotel; lessons learned.
After a long walk around town and translating of Italian directions, we found our hotel, Hotel Iris. We handed the receptionist our Euros and passports and in return received the key to a very simple hotel room. Three twin beds, a few shelves, a wardrobe, and a bathroom fit for one. It was convenient, safe and just what we needed to live in the city of Venice for the weekend.
Absorbing the view and the culture was our way of getting to know Venice. We explored the whole city from every direction. We experienced the city life, the ocean life, the residential life and everything in between. We got caught up in the tourist traffic in San Marco with picture taking and shopping. We became familiar with the peacefulness of the ocean, sitting on the dock for hours watching the gondoliers, taxis, and fishermen rowing across God’s big, blue creation. We observed life from the outskirts of town; cotton sheets hung across from building to building. Among these experiences we also ran into the park where we saw the tranquil old man taking a stroll, the hidden restaurant where we had our first Italian sit-down dinner, and the night life experience at the local bar… One does not need to go through tour guides to completely see a city.
An imagination turned into existence as a veteran of Venice. What a learning experience this was to make this dream come to life. My independence was discovered further presenting more of what the world has to offer me… Ciao World!