To be honest, I was a bit disheartened when I stepped off the train in Venice, Italy. Sauna-like conditions greeted my travel-weary body, and as I viewed the throngs of people I was momentarily blinded by all the humanity. My romantic expectations were instantly dashed by reality. Dragging my heavy bags, we joined the crowd pushing towards the water bus, boarded, and collapsed onto plastic seats.
I oriented myself towards the open window letting the cool ocean breeze calm my stress and my humor. At first all I saw was the cruise ship--the mother of the masses--and the stark, almost treeless, city. Brian sensed my mood and with his optimistic wisdom reminded me how blessed we were to actually be in Venice together.
I knew he was right. Slowly, I forced my perspective to change as we motored down the Grand Canal. My eyes gradually began to see and appreciate the unique opportunity, the history, and the extraordinary beauty that is Venezia.
After settling into our hotel room, hand in hand, we began to explore.
We took in the usual tourist spots, of course, but our goal was always away from the crowds. Passage through the "streets" of Venice is done via canal or pedestrian walkway. Some are wider than others.
I enjoyed discovering where the real Venetians live.
There seemed to be a church on every corner.
It was easy to get lost navigating the numerous streets, but with map in hand we criss-crossed the city. Next up: the islands of Murano and Burano where the colors are absolutely brilliant.