Reason #1 Why I Love Venice and Didn’t Want to Leave:
With a little help from google, I’ve discovered that his name is Joseph Miotti and I could have watched him play violin the entire weekend in Venice and done nothing else and would have been perfectly happy in heaven! I may want to marry him….
Okay, now that that’s out of the way. Venice!
Of all the methods of travel available out there, bus rides are probably my least favorite. However, the view riding through the Alps made it kinda worth the 8 hours in the bus:
And from the rest stop:
The views one we got into Italy were vineyard after vineyard and equally pleasing to me, if not more so:
After 8 hours in the bus, we had to sit through two hours of lectures, slightly brutal, but then we got to get lost in a city designed to make you get lost! LOVE! We took a water-bus (the Venician Subway:)
We were done with our lectures at 5, we didn’t find our hotel or get into our room until 9:30. But once we did, we got to meet Aldo, who didn’t speak a word of English, and some guys from NYC checking out (heading to Austria for the weekend as fate would have it). All six of us, seven counting Aldo, hung out in the lobby for a good while having a blast and the boys lamented leaving as we were arriving! But the room was ADORABLE! I love little old-timey B&Bs:
Having not eaten since the rest stop, we walked the three blocks from our hotel to the Rialto bridge (we were THAT close) and had a fancy dinner RIGHT ON THE WATER:
We then explored the city by night (water at night is my absolute favorite – I can’t help that I’m a night owl!!)
Saturday was for exploring. Even though only a 500 m walk from our hotel, it took me about an hour to find the Basilica of Saints John (Giovanni) and Paul (Paolo). I went here first because this is where an Orsini ancestor, Nicolo Orsini, has a tomb. I looked him up on Wikipedia and it seems that the only thing he ever did was lose battles, but the church/monument were pretty awesome. I love every church I go in more and more!
I spent the rest of the day randomly exploring, attempting shoe shopping (but they don’t make those Italian leathers – or any European shoe for that matter – in my size – trust me, I tried for 2.5 hours!), sipping wine, and enjoying the amazing day!
All the buildings in the city are very close together and the streets can be very narrow, if you couldn’t tell. This allowed me to befriend the neighboring chef across and down one from our hotel room. He even threw me up a peach and I played some Dean Martin for him to cook to!
Saturday night, while sipping drinks waiting for my future husband to start playing the violin, we got a great recommendation for dinner. We had to go down this tiny alley, through a front restaurant for tourists, to a back room full of old Italians. It had to be mafia. The wine list had bottles for thousands of euros. And NO ONE was speaking English except for us. We kept getting stares, and I’m pretty sure it’s because they thought we were FBI. I was too scared to take any pictures, but it was a great meal – I had some sort of lobster pasta. I think other people took pictures, which I will steal as soon as I can.
Sunday was more exploring, but mostly for churches. There’s a church on every corner, so it was just a matter of timing, walking up to one around the time mass starts. In my search, I found a church that had the remains of St. Lucy and St. Jerome. It was really cool/moving to see the remains and people’s prayers and petitions and candles, etc. Sorry for the lack of pictures, most of the churches I went into today didn’t allow pictures to be taken. I also had to change shirts because even modest tank-tops like mine are not allowed. Shoulders must be covered! (I really like this level of respect and it redeemed the whole laser show incident from Vienna!) It actually took about two hours for the timing to work, but I ended up going to mass at a church near the train station that was connected to the Carmelite Convent, so works for me.
Then I had a slice of Italian pizza with just enough time to hop on the train and catch a bus. I didn’t want to leave :(
Tomorrow, we have a law librarian lecture on arbitration materials and then we go to a castle town in the Czech Republic. Tuesday and Wednesday we stay in Linz with various activities arranged. Thursday we have lectures and a visit to a concentration camp. Friday, we say good-bye to Linz and spend the night in the capital city of Slovenia. Saturday, after 14 hours in the bus, we say hello to Dubrovnik and the Adriatic beaches!!!!!! After a week there, I get to go back to Italy. Can’t wait!!