There are places in the world you see in pictures and books, but these are places you never imagine seeing with you own eyes. Venice, Italy is one of those places for me, but to my surprise I was actually able to spend a weekend in this place I never imagined seeing. If this isn’t a reason to be thankful, I don’t know what is.
While I am in Europe taking classes we have 3 day weekends, which allows us to travel if we so wish. It is a pretty typical thing for students to do when they study abroad because it gives us the opportunity to see more of the country. There are so many amazing places to visit over here and it was hard narrowing it down, but I knew Venice was a place I wanted to see!
Four of us caught a train early Friday morning and made our way to this city on water. I am not sure if you are familiar with “AirBNB”, but it is a very cool site where people will rent out their homes, apartments, etc. for those who are traveling. It is often a lot easier and less expensive than a hotel. It is also great because you almost get to experience what it would be like in that place. We found a lovely studio apartment on the mainland of Venice (Mastre) and from there we were able to ride a bus 10 minutes across the water to the man island of Venice. I cannot put into words how amazing it was seeing it for the first time.
This city has so much mystery and wonder. You can’t help but think about the history and purpose of a city that is slowly sinking in the water. There are no cars, but instead everyone travels by boat or gondola on the many water ways. Some areas are very populated and bustling, like the grand canal, but it is so easy and fun to “get lost” by taking any alleyway or side street. These areas are almost more beautiful than the main attractions. You all know I love to take photos and in Venice I swear it is impossible to take a bad photo. I will post some below, but they will never compare to physically being there.
Friday, we really just explored and took it all in. We went in and out of several shops and of course found gelato. I randomly picked this cool restaurants for dinner. I didn’t notice until inside, but they had men’s ties hanging all throughout the restaurant. This place was small, but there must have been at least 50+ ties from all over. All different/fun themes! They even had an American flag one! I had seafood risotto I have had risotto before, but never before with such fresh seafood!! It was delicious! Seriously, won’t ever get over that city.
Saturday, we did a really cool food and wine tour throughout the city. They have some really delicious food in my opinion. Because they are surrounded by water they have access to so many different fishes and sea creatures. The tour took us to several local places where we had local food and drinks. As we walked from restaurant to restaurant we learned lots of fun facts about the city from a local tour guide. She was so sweet and so fashionable! We saw the local market with all the fresh produce and fish. It was so lively on a Saturday morning. The perfect time to experience it! All of us would agree this was a great way to see Venice! This city is made up of several different islands. After the tour we decided to venture to one of the islands that is famous for glass making! We got to see a glass blowing demonstration in a real glass factory and it was so interesting! I had never really thought such about how glass is made, but these people are very skilled… They make it look so easy! All the shops, naturally, sold all glass products so we didn’t stay on this island long, but it was for sure something fun to do! We ended the night with dinner, where I got fresh salmon! It was so fresh it still had bones in it! So yummy!!
Today (Sunday), we only had a little time before our train departed, but there was one thing in particular we did not get to do… Ride a gondola! A sweet lady from London, Jane, on our tour told us she had done it before and that it really wasn’t that special. It is very expensive and all you do is ride around, but we decided we needed to be able to say we visited Venice and rode in a gondola! And that is exactly what we did!! Because of the cost we decided to have a lighter breakfast/lunch and buy fresh fruit from the market. I am telling you, that market is incredible! We then went on a gondola ride and even though it was nothing too special, I am happy to check that off the bucket list!
So yes, I am sitting here just pondering how incredibly blessed I am to be on this adventure. Who knows? I would love to visit Venice again one day, but if I never get the opportunity, I am thankful for this past weekend and God’s given ability that allowed me to see this enchanted city with my own eyes. I don’t think I will ever experience anything like Venice! What a dream come true!
This week a will be spending a few more days in Rome before moving on to Florence in the middle of the week! Then this next weekend I will be traveling to Paris! I swear things keep getting better and better!
Stay tuned… I have lots to be thankful for! Stay thankful… Y’all also have lots to be thankful for, no matter where you are or what you are doing!
Southern and Thankful