Thursday, October 23, 2008

Venice!

Last weekend, Teriann and I went to Venice to celebrate our six year anniversary. That's right: we started dating on October 20, 2002. We have been together for more than a quarter of my life. Holy monkeys.

We took many, many pictures (Venice is by far the most picturesque city I've ever seen) and since there are too many to post here, there's a link at the bottom of this post where you can see the album.

A few things that won't be conveyed in the pictures: 

One of the nicest parts of town is by the Rialto, an extremely old (I don't know what date exactly, but old enough to be referred to in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. One of the characters asks, 'What's new on the Rialto?') bridge that is distinctively beautiful (in the pictures, you'll see that it's white with black arches). Yes, during the first day we saw some great stuff: the Palazzo Ducale and the Basilica San Marco, but what was truly magical was finding some unoccupied steps at the foot of the Rialto just after sunset. The steps led straight into the water of the Grand Canal and the afterglow shining off the colorful waterfront was warm and calming. We took a couple pictures of each other sitting on the steps, but a photo can't capture that sense of utter peace.

I didn't know this until a week or so before we left, but Venice is actually an island. In fact, there are many tiny islands in the lagoon surrounding Venice proper, and the most famous of these is probably Murano, where glassblowers have worked for centuries. The island is almost entirely devoted to glassmaking, and while we saw a couple workshops (most of them are open to the public), the streets (which are canals) are lined with glass shops that sell everything from tiny trinkets (glass flies and ants) to elaborate chandeliers and birds that cost many thousands of euros. The other notable things on the island were a wonderfully un-restored ancient church (I think some of the mosaics on the floor were Byzantine) and actual, real Italians. Italians that didn't speak English or care to be bothered by tourists. There was a sort of get-together coagulating on the square in front of the church, an old man played accordion outside a cafe (okay, probably for tourists), and everyone bustling on the sidewalks was clearly local. All the charm of Venice, but without the crowds.

We both can't wait to get back... and to see more of Europe :)

Click here to see the pictures!

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