Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Venice Is Simply Stunning

 Ah, Venice!  It was amazing.  I had never been, and Mrs. Spew hadn't been there since her college year abroad.  I had an epiphany: water = scenic and old = scenic.  So, yes, Venice is scenic squared.  Just beautiful in pretty much every direction.  Even or especially the worn down buildings look great.  Our timing was pretty great, as the weather was comfy (a bit too comfortable for the one mosquito in our pensione room). 

Because we are already onto Venice, I am going to listicle may way through my realizations/observations we had along the way:

  • Wow, there are a lot of bridges.  As Mrs. Spew has some knee issues, we noticed each and every bridge.
  • So glad we were not in high season, as there were a ton of people already, and those bridges are chockfull of people taking pictures. Plus most of the pathways are pretty narrow so things get congested quickly.
  • So many restaurants!!  It was easy to find amazing food--the hard part was deciding which place to eat.  The pasta was simply terrific as was everything else.
  • When I did my Italian trip as a college Eurailpass person, I had to limit my gelato intake due to budget constraints (the US had coordinated with Europe to push down the dollar just before my trip!).  This time, I was only restrained by the threat of reflux as I am going to gain weight on this trip, so be it.  I tried a different flavor each time, and enjoyed them all.
  • Dogs?  Heaps of dogs but so little grass.  The green spaces in Venice are far and few between.  Sure, some beautiful parks and gardens on various edges, but you can go on a long dog walk and not see any grass.  
  • I don't know if this is a regional thing or a fashion of the moment, but there were a fair amount of young women with the fiercest eyebrow game I have seen.
  • We didn't go into any of the major museums/cathedrals due to timing and very long lines.  But we did bump into various smaller, amazing, quite funky exhibits along the way.  My fave was this one
  • Did I mention the food was amazing?   Best pasta I have ever had.  The pizza?  I am still a homer--American pizza >> Italian pizza.
  • We didn't gondola as we had blown the budget for that on a water taxi upon our arrival that... dropped us off not so close to our pensione.
  • Oh, and that pensione--tight stairway for our large bags.  It was partly run remotely so we could use use the codes given to us to get in.  It worked once I figured it out.  The place was in a super convenient spot, but our bathroom was not on the same floor as our room, which did not work so well in the middle of the night, especially for Mrs. Spew's knees.  
  • Bread always costs money (plus a service charge is always added), but we kept getting free shots of lemoncello.  Since Mrs.
    Spew doesn't drink such stuff, I had to step up and take a second shot for the team.  Yum.

    So more than a few
    examples of anarchist grafitti
  • Saw plenty of signs, graffiti, offices for far left parties and movements including, yes, communists! Gasp!
    Glass blowing demo at the Glass Cathedral

  • Venice is part of an archipelago with other islands in the lagoon.  So, we took a water bus to Murano to check out the glass blowing industry and shop for souvenirs and gifts and then onto Burano for the brightest colored buildings.  It was worth the trip although the water bus from the first to the second was very, very crowded.  Again, glad it isn't peak season.  The new tax to limit visitors is probably not going to work--unless it is sky high--as the place is worth it.



Burano is pretty
Holy packed boat, Batman









We are now in Milan for the last part of our trip beyond Berlin.  Mrs. Spew gets a few days in my apartment there before heading home, and then I have about 10 days before I head back as well.  It has been a great Beatles week (8 days) and a great three months.  I am very lucky--this whole thing has been a terrific experience.  Which reminds me:

Don't use the word terrific in Italy, as I did in a text to our Venice pensione manager, and she interpreted it as terrible or terrifying.  She was much relieved when we figured out the confusion.  I was really happy, not really upset.



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