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July 11th 2002
Published: October 11th 2005
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Beautiful Gondolas in Venice...wish I had a digi camera back then
My trip to Venice was short, but wonderful! I was working in Oberaudorf, Germany and we had a few days off, so we travelled to Italy. Our first stop was Verona to see an opera and then off to Venice. We only had one day to experience Venice, but what a day this was! I was with my dear friend Daniel and we spent the day walking around Venice. We saw the sights and enjoyed some beautiful weather. Not much money to do anything, I did splurge on a Gondola ride. It was worth every penney! In the evening, we had to get back to our transportation, and got caught in a massive rain storm, it was so big! We got wet, but had a wonderful time running through the Piazza in the rain.

I hope you enjoy reading about my short time in Venice. I really hope to return one day, and next time with my love.....because Venice is so very romantic!

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Here I am in Venice!Here I am in Venice!
Here I am in Venice!

I couldn't believe it, here I was in Venice! After years of seeing pictures in books and watching romantic movies with Gondolas and the canals, I was really here! When we got off of our bus, we were traveling with a group, we got on a boat to take us to the city. The boat was crowded, but I was so excited, it was my first time in Venice...or Italy for that matter. We got off the boat and stepped onto the ground of a busy market place. Little booths selling photographs, jewelery, trinkets and all sorts of souvenirs surrounded us and the narrow streets of the city were full of people. I remember that the day was gorgeous! I bright sun was shining and brought out the smells of the city...some good but mostly bad smells of the canal, still I was so curious and happy to be there. I had a travel buddy who had the same travel philosopy as I did: "Screw the travel map, and lets have an adventure!" So we headed out on our walk through Venice. It was a day I would not ever forget.
The Crowded Streets of Venice, her is my travel buddy in them.The Crowded Streets of Venice, her is my travel buddy in them.
The Crowded Streets of Venice, her is my travel buddy in them.

The streets of Venice were so crowded that Sunny day at the end of July. Many vendors and shops were the source of it. We walked around and soaked in the atmosphere. Being interested in languages, I just mostly listen to people around me speak italian. It was amazing to be surrounded by this beautiful language. My friend and I went into shops, he was relentlessly looking for a pair of sunglasses, I was tagging along. We had the most wonderful gelato in one of the many restaurants on the streets. Gelato: Ice cream and gelato are not the same thing. Ice cream -- iced rich cream -- turns most flavors into pastels. Gelato, a combination of whole milk, eggs, sugar, and natural flavoring -- or fresh fruit and sugar in the fruit flavors -- is a less firmly frozen, softer, more intensely flavored and colored creation, essential to the Italian summer. We kept walking along these narrow streets. I was in awe of the architecture and the cultural differences that I saw. I was envious of the italian's relaxed attitudes and wonderful joy of life.
Piazza San MarcoPiazza San Marco
Piazza San Marco

Are walk led us to the Piazza St. Marco, the only "square" in Venice. It is the only place that is called "Piazza", everything else is called "campi" or "piazetta". In the piazza you can see the famous St. Mark's Basilica. It is an amazing historical experience to see these buildings. The piazza took it's form as early as in the Renaissance! The piazza is a true tourist attraction, complete with luxury shops and souvenire shops. The restaurants are grossely overpriced and the food is not so good, coffee being the excpetion to that rule. The weirdest thing I ever did see: It was so funny to me that tourists would bue bird food and put it in their hands and stand there while FLOCKS of pigeons came to eat it. I really do not like pigeons, and they are full of disease, yet, parents let their children do this and it seemed to be the thing to do in the piazza. For approximately $1.00 you could become a living statue with pigeons all over you...how funny is that!? Needless to say, I did NOT do this, but if it's your "thing" go ahead! :-)
I did it!I did it!
I did it!

For a long time I had a dream, to ride in a gondola in Venice. I had seen gondolas in movies and read about it in books. It seemed like such a romantic thing to do, and frankly, I couldn't imagine being in VENICE and not riding in a gondola. All day I would tell my friend:"I want to ride in a Gondola! I want to ride in a Gondola!" (Just like that...all day...he was so annoyed!) So finally when we saw a series of gondolas docked, I said "This is it!" I asked the gondolier how much it was to take a trip on the canal...he said it was the equivalent of about $95.00 US! I was amazed! It was SO expensive! I didn't think I could afford it, so I went on my way, dissapointed and sad that it was so expensive. We kept looking around and I stopped at another gondolier, he had the same price. I was so sad. Then I thought to myself: "When will I ever be in Venice again? When will I ever have the chance for this experience again?" So, I decided to do it! I bargained with the gondolier and got more time...like an hour in the gondola, but for the same price, but I never have regretted it. It was the experience of a lifetime.
Things to Expect when you are in the Gondola!Things to Expect when you are in the Gondola!
Things to Expect when you are in the Gondola!

So you're going on a trip in a gondola, what do you expect? First of all, gondola's are beautiful and surprisingly comfortable, like you're sitting in a big comfy chair. There is a lot of room you can sit more than just two people if you wish. For every gondola there is one gondolier and they are dressed in traditional gondolier outfits: striped shirts, little scarf, black pants and hats. The view from the gondola is amazing. As you see here in the picture you get to see these wonderful windows up close and in detail. Riding in the gondola is surprisingly very smooth and very relaxing, that is if you can stop thinking of how much it is costing you! People wave at each other from the bridges and other gondolas, just an amazing experience. The canal: One thing that I did not bargain for is how strong the canal smells. I could smell it from the street, but being on the canal it was a lot more present. It isn't a pleasant smell, but it only bothered us for a few minutes, then we forgot about it. Do the gondoliers sing? When we watch movies made in Venice, the gondolier always has a glorious tenor voice and sings Puccini or neapolitain songs. Is this true? Well, not really. I didn't hear any singing on the water and when I asked the gondolier if he would sing, he shyly said no. This made me sad and I asked again, knowing that italian men love women, I used my batting eyelashes, he finally agreed and proceeded to sing something from "The Barber of Seville" He did not know that opera was my profession, nor did I tell him. He had a lovely voice and it was sweet of him to sing.
Ponte di RialtoPonte di Rialto
Ponte di Rialto

As we are riding along in our gondola we passed under the Rialto, one of the most famous bridges and sights in Venice. The Bridge was built in three years, 1588-1591, it is an amazing site! In The World of Venice, Jan Morris paints an affectionate picture of the Rialto Bridge: "Structurally, it was a complete success--during rioting in 1797 they even fired cannon from its steps, to dispel the mobs; and for myself, I would not change a stone of it. I love the quaint old figures of St. Mark and St. Theodore, on the station side of the bridge. I love the Annunciation on the other side, angel at one end, Virgin at the other, Holy Ghost serenely aloft in the middle. I love the queer whale-back of the bridge, humped above the markets, and its cramped little shops, facing resolutely inwards. I think one of the great moments of the Grand Canal occurs when you swing around the bend beside the fish market and see the Rialto there before you, precisely as you have imagined it all your life, one of the household images of the world, and one of the few Venetian monuments to possess the quality of geniality." How to get there: It's hard to miss the Ponte di Rialto. From the train station or the Piazzale Roma, simply follow the signs to "Rialto." The same applies if you're walking from the Piazza San Marco. (Just head for the clock tower, cut through the arched passage, and follow the upscale shopping streets known as the Mercerie until you reach the Grand Canal, then turn right and walk two blocks to the bridge
The end of my day in Venice!The end of my day in Venice!
The end of my day in Venice!

This brings me to the end of my little day in Venice. I had a wonderful time looking around, soaking up the atmosphere and having coffee in the Piazza, and listening to the language. I will not soon forget it, and certainly hope to return. I hope you have enjoyed this little diary of my travel to Venice. I certainly enjoyed remembering it ! :-) Ciao bello/bella

8th October 2005

Jacob, my crystal ball shows that there is a trip to Venice in your future and you HAD BETTER plan on a Gondola ride for your bride!

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