Getting to Venice was great, because I was still floating from my experience in Verona. I got to the train station early and jumped on an earlier train. I didn’t know if that would be allowed but I didn’t care. They charged me 8 euros when they saw that I switched. I gladly paid it. When I got off the train, I had a list of instructions about getting on a water taxi. I did not know I would have to get on a boat. Really, I did not know anything about Venice. If I did, I likely would have known it would have required a boat ride. Anyway, my friend and her mom got to Venice a few hours prior so she gave me step by step instructions.
I got on the wrong boat anyway. I am traveling with a large suitcase, a large duffel bag, a back pack, two purses now (I bought another one) and all of my bags from shopping. So, getting around is a challenge and no one is speaking English so I don’t know what I’m doing…. I did know what “this is the last stop” meant when I was still standing on the boat and everyone else had gotten off. I cracked up laughing and so did the guy who was explaining what I needed to do. We had a funny moment of laughter about my mishap and then I lugged all of my bags off the boat, through the building and to floating dock #1. As I boarded, I checked with the man on the next boat that it was going to my stop, he shook his head yes so I knew I was in the right place.
Oh, did I mention there is a rooftop garden at the hotel. There is. Actually, as I write this, I am sitting in said rooftop garden on these cute little white wicker chairs with my feet up overlooking the water.
I can hear the boats go by below and the birds chirping behind me. On my playlist, the song Love Is Waiting by Brooke Fraser is on. It is a beautiful song and I had to stop writing for a second because I got lost in it… She sings:
I watch as lovers pass me by, walking stories, who’s an how’s and why’s….
This is the story of Venice. Everything is romance… Whether you are here as part of a couple or not, you feel the romance in the air. Actually, at one point, as I snapped a picture of the square, I accidentally caught a couple stop in their tracks and start kissing right in the middle of it all. Venice is love….
Karrie and I did a tour of Dogi’s Palace yesterday morning and then she went with her mom and I went back to this cafe in San Marco square. On our tour, the woman said this cafe was the oldest one in Italy, I still have to look that up, but I knew I wanted a cappuccino there. So, I went. I sat at the table by myself, I ordered cappuccino and laughed at myself and my awful attempts at Italian. The square is amazing, I looked around forever. The Basilica and the clock tower are behind me and the buildings, which are all around me are made up of layers of hundreds of arches. Everything is so particular and straight and neat looking. I thought about how long it would take to build this and how it required such a careful and caring hand.
Then, it happens… A man grabs his violin, a woman sits at the piano… There’s a cello too…. AND an accordion! They begin making the most wonderful Italian music. I smile so big because music brings such joy for me… But there is a violin… And I can’t explain it, but the violin (which is one of my absolute favorite instruments) gives me the chills. I am in a trance. I must have been staring blankly for 30 minutes before I realize I had this big dopey looking smile on my face staring at the man with the violin. Is this love? I think I just fell in love with the man playing the violin. Yep, it’s real, I love him. I start laughing.
Here I am, alone, sitting at one table in a sea of cafe tables and people, laughing so hard I am getting an ab workout… And then something else happens…. The clock strikes 12 noon and the clock tower bell starts… It literally felt like the earth stopped spinning. The music was stopped, everyone froze, people who were walking by became still, I felt like every person in the square froze and looked up to the top of the tower. It was only a split second but it happened. It was special. For the next while, I felt that the world was spinning around me and I was just floating in the middle, listening to the music, drinking my cappuccino and looking into the clouds. I wished to never leave this moment but knew I had to… I said I would return to that place though because I had to experience it again.
Did you know that Venice is made up of 117 islands, all connected by canals? I didn’t know that but I read it in a Venice book and it made Venice make more sense to me. Everywhere you go, you’re surrounded by water and bridges. It’s not charming like Verona, but it is breathtaking.
Myself, Karrie and Linda walked along to get to the gondola we reserved for 7:30pm. They were behind and it looked like there was some chaos. They were grouping people together on each boat. We wanted our own boat! We talked back and forth about it for a few minutes and then Linda says something like, “whatever happens is meant to happen, we’re in Venice.” She was right. We got on the boat and our Gondolier in his striped shirt and sunglasses immediately starts singing. It was not good singing though. He was completely goofy, and fun. We seemed to draw a lot of attention from the Gondoliers and musicians. There were four of five boats in a row. We laughed and talked and looked around and listened to the music. It was just simple, fun, uninhibited laughter through the whole ride. At the end, the handsome gentleman controlling one of the other boats rowed our way and handed Linda a red rose. There is this Italian charm that does not get old.
We all returned to the cafe to hear more music and have fruit and gelato. We were still giddy from the boat and we made a connection with the man playing the clarinet. He would smile, we would giggle. When it was an upbeat song, we would clap along and dance in our chair and he would be playful from the stage. The music they made was absolutely beautiful and they also made it fun. We stayed for the rest of the night. We were all in the most fantastic and funny moods. We just laughed and laughed.
I decided I love the square. I have been here three times today and seen it in every different light.
At the end of the night, close to midnight, I got up and took a walk through the square with music coming from both sides and people walking by. I have said before that I have been floating while here because I love it so much. In this moment though, with violins playing and lights illuminating the square, I quite literally felt like I was floating.