Europe Trip Part 4: Venice

Venice: A Living & Fragile Postcard
Gondolas-in-waiting

Venice is hard to describe, and even pictures don’t really convey the charm and almost other-worldly quality of the city. It’s a fascinating place, with a rich history. It’s also a beleaguered place–by both an over-run of tourists (sincere apologies, Venice!) and by¬†rising sea levels. It is quite tragic to imagine this magical place disappearing into the Adriatic sea! And in case you are wondering, Venice looks just like it does in TV shows and movies (trust us, we watched several things when we got back out of nostalgia!). We were fortunate to miss the heaviest tourist season as well as the time when Piazza San Marco becomes a wading pool (the time is called “acqua alta“). But it was obvious that the main island (Venice actually consists of 118 small islands!) that holds the attractions of Venice was too crowded in the center (and eerily but beautifully empty just a few streets away, as we happily discovered).

One attraction we cannot fail to at least mention is the Venice cathedral on the Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Basilica. Fascinating history and architecture, plus an interior that is unrivaled in the world. They don’t allow photos (although many seemed intent on ignoring that rule…), and our time there was rushed since we were simply herded through at our appointed time. But it was the most exquisite ancient church we have ever seen. Fortunately, there are some pictures online and it has been featured in a few films, but unfortunately, these truly don’t capture the awe-inspiring beauty inside. We paused at a small altar to pray while we were there–the place inspired devotion.

Rather than recount several vignettes from Venice (what? no food reviews?), we decided to simply create this picture postcard from this most enchanting city. This was the one part of the trip where we had some real travel stresses (a hectic close call making the train from Florence and a near-miss of our Gondola ride), plus some chilly, rainy weather, and a shorter stay (only 2 nights instead of 3). So it seemed fitting to just display some of the beautiful scenery and let that speak for itself (with some helpful captions!). Click the photos for a larger image.

Enjoy. And do go if you have an opportunity. It is like no other place on earth. Click for a larger image.

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