For a long time, I've watched friends post their pics onto their FB pages from their European holidays and added cities and sites to my 'bucket list' as a result.
ONE DAY we'll go.
Well, one day is here, and we're 4 days into our Italian Adventure.
Every so often, this expat life makes me stop and take stock of where I am and what I'm doing and how very lucky (tho Mum says there's no luck about it, we're fortunate) we are to be experiencing what we do. This is one of those times. Europe is so far away from Australia - even tho thousands of us travel there annually.
Neither G nor I did the Europe backpacking thing most young adult Australians do. Not only was I crap at savings, I didn't have the travel bug like friends did.
Europe for us, heck, anywhere for us, is a first. And we're experiencing it together (Barcelona was a great city for that), and with MissM. We've made a few mistakes along the way but think all that has come to benefit us this trip.
We knew we didn't have to spend a tonne of money on hotels as we'd hardly be in the room; the hotels had to be clean and comfortable and central to train stations (we are travelling between cities by train) and we knew we didn't need a lot of clothes so long as they mixed'n'matched and were easy to wash'n'wear.
MrsS and I went to Prague together as neither husbands wanted to go. We walked from morning til dusk; we booked tours and took time to snoop into open doors. We urged each other to buy one more piece of memorabilia (I still love the candle sticks I schlepped back with me)
Travelling with husbands (and kids) is so different. G likes to travel, but he's not really into galleries, museums tho he tolerates them for me. His max. was 3 hours at the Lourve. I get a wee bit selfish as I love galleries and museums and reckon it's taken me this long to get here, and I'm not wasting a second.
Venice was amazing, tho I'm sure there's oodles we didn't do. It doesn't bother me (really) cos what we did was fantastic.
As we crossed the bridge to Venice on the bus, I wept. MissM and G thought it was hilarious, and G warned her there will be more happy tears to come. Try explaining happy tears to a (nearly) 10 year old!
Schlepping our suitcases to the hotel in 36'C was not pleasant but we managed it. G is such a great navigator. MissM and I blindly follow his lead.
Our hotel was nothing special, in fact it was a wee bit disappointing but we weren't in it much so it didn't matter. The location was great!
Our first days we strolled the canals, we ate, we were overwhelmed with the shops.
Don't buy the first piece you see ..... walk around, make a note of where you saw it and the price. You can always go back. Like with most purchases of this nature, while on holidays, they look amazing and you really want one but think seriously about what you're going to do with it when you get it home. Just because it looks fantastic in the shop doesn't mean it'll look great on your wall. The mask I initially wanted is not the one we bought for that reason alone. As it's all wrapped up for the trip home, I can't show you a photo.
The clothes, shoes, accessories ......... incredible how they all stay in business!
We stepped into magnificent Churches; we walked the Jewish Quarter. Personally I would have loved to have had a guided tour of Venice but was out numbered. Suffice to say we saw lots but have no idea the history behind any of it.
St Marks Basillica. WOW! Check times of tours to make sure you are there at the right time, we weren't. The Piazza is stunning and crowded.
We bought a 2 day ticket on the vaporetto (water bus) which worked out much cheaper in the long run than paying €7 per person, per trip. Be warned tho, they get very crowded, and it can get rather stuffy. Working out which vaporetto to catch is pretty easy, and the signs are well posted. The other advantage of a prepaid ticket is you don't have to wait in line to buy single trip-tickets. You walk past everyone else, and swipe your ticket BEFORE getting on (but not when you get off. We thought this was kind of odd, cos no matter how long or short your ride is, it's the same price, which makes the day tickets very reasonable)
Murano Glass is e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e and there's an advertising campaign alerting you to the official stamp of Murano so you don't get fooled into buying an inferior product. We took the vaporetto to the island of Murano, opting not to do a tour as we'd heard they were expensive, and quite frankly not worth it. Going unaccompanied was easy. As soon as you walk off the vaporetto there's people promoting their studio over another.
We paid €3 each for a 10 minute demo, with hard-to-hear audio. MissM kept saying 'it's just like How it's Made but for real'. Personally, the tour and demo at the Waterford factory was much better. The Murano shops were endless. The craftsmanship is incredible, as are the prices.
Pace yourself with gelato! We had small tubs so that we could eat them before they melted; and if we had two or three in a day it didn't really matter.
MrsH strongly recommended we visit the Peggy Guggenheim Gallery, which we did. MissM wasn't convinced until she saw an original Alexander Calder and then she was smitten having studied him in class during Art Week. Then she saw a few Degas inspired pieces and again, she was hooked. G, not so much.
|Small piece of Calder's mobile|
One could imagine the grand parties in days of old ....... but as MissM kept asking, why build homes on an island surrounded by water? How do you move in/out of apartments?
We were in awe watching the working-boats bringing stock to the shops, or luggage to/from hotels; the water police and ambulance, the construction materials being ferried in and unloaded.
I think Venice is a magical place to visit, and we only scratched the surface, but I also think it would be a challenging place to live, least of all dealing with the thousands of tourists.
I could go on, but I won't.
Google Venice, then go to Venice.
So now it's me posting pics to FB, and I'm loving the opportunity,
On to Florence .................
You been to Venice?
What are your thoughts on living there as opposed to visiting?