Day 35 When You Go To Venice You Must Bring Your Boots

Day 35-  We were up and ready to go at the crack of 11:00 this morning…not sure what took us so long getting out the door. Maybe it was our teeny tiny showers or maybe it was too much time spent gawking out our windows…but whatever it was, we were late getting out.  Yes, so late in fact we missed our free breakfast at the hotel!  So off we went, we were headed to St. Marks by foot, and we had no idea what we were in for!

As we crossed the Spanish bridge, we decided to stop in a cafe to grab a coffee and some breakfast.  Okay, I have to admit that I like Italian brioche (croissant) better than the French ones!  What? Oh you heard me!  So after breakfast we set out on our walk around Venice!  One of the first things that I noticed as we began to make our way to St. Marks was the “tables” were back out and now people we walking on them!  It was like some surreal runway show, except just with your average everyday tourist strutting their stuff!  I noticed on the ground underneath, that there was a little bit of water…but nothing big…so what was the problem? And then we turned the corner to see about a half foot of water…so now what?  Do we get our feet and pants completely soaked?  Or do we walk the “runway” with several thousand of our closest friends?  That was when we spotted them…the coolest baggie booties I have ever seen!  They came in all the colors of the rainbow, basically plastic bags with a foam bottom that you slip over your shoes.  A true fashion statement that says ” I am a super dorky tourist”….because of course all the cool Venetians have really stylish rain boots.  Oh well..we got our boots and off we went.  Perhaps I should pause here for a moment to let you soak in the scene of us trying to put these things on our feet.  I already have to help Russ put his socks on ( in the privacy of our own home though) thanks to his motorcycle accident, put having to help him put his “booties” on in public is another story.

Off we go headed towards St. Marks.  Here is another fun fact…all of the names are in Italian on the signs and the maps…so St. Marks to us is San Marco. Let’s add that to the fact that not all the streets are clearly marked, and there are canals and viola…it is a crazy mess.  Now that being said I guess I need to introduce you to my alter ego…Miss Direction.  I cannot find my way to the bathroom in the U.S., but apparently in crazy chaotic Europe I have built in GPS!  Go figure!  Well we walked and weaved our way to St. Marks.  Along the way, we saw amazing sights…straight out of a postcard… gondolas with singers on them, narrow waterways with beautiful ancient buildings, mask shops, cafes… Just a fantastic walk!  When we got to St. Marks, we were in for a shock!  There was about 2 feet of water on the ground.  There were no pigeons, very few people (only the tourists with our super cools neon boots), and lots and lots of water.  Reid thought that this was the best thing he had ever experienced!  As we were wading through water,  he had the biggest smile on his face!

We walked around a bit and then decided we were hungry!  We stopped at a cafe on a small side street.  It was dry, near the Grand Canal, and it was pretty empty!  We sat down, and Russ and I had the Italian cocktail…an Aperol spritz! An Aperol spritz is an interesting mix…ever so slightly sweet with just a touch of a bitter finish.  It is actually quite good!  Our cafe was a great place to people watch…it was tucked away from the main drag, but we could still see the throngs of people shuffling by.

So here are a few observations and/or thoughts we had as we pondered people and life while sitting at the cafe:

*Europe is a beautiful and amazing place…I made this number one because it is keep this in mind before you read the rest!

* People in Europe smoke too much!!! I mean seriously what is up that??  Come on…it will kill you…or kill us from breathing in 2nd hand smoke!

*Why would you wear high heels to walk on cobble stone streets all day? Okay you might look cute…but honestly you have got to be miserable…oh and it is tearing up your cute heals…sorry!

*Ugg boots are best worn at home.  Listen I love Ugg boots, they are like a hug for your feet…but they are not stylish…especially not with a dress!

*People in Europe are in pretty good shape.  Honestly, I have seen just a few overweight people…and yes they were Americans!

*American tourists can be super obnoxious (sorry but it is true!) Enough said.

*European waiters don’t smile.  I am not sure if it is because they are annoyed at the world…or just at us.  Maybe it is that they take their job very seriously?

*Graffiti is every where! It is actually heart breaking to see how much graffiti there is in Europe…on beautiful old buildings, walls, statues, benches, and yes it is even in Venice.

When our moment of zen was done…it was back to the craziness they call the streets of Venice!  Now here is the beauty of travelling with the Altons…we usually have a general idea of what we want to do and where we want to go…and then we let the day unfold from there.  We are more of the go with the flow kind of people.  We take in the small moments…and just enjoy.  We are not the tour group kind of people…not to knock that way of travel…I know a lot of people who love going on tours, having a schedule and a destination all planned out…that is just not our style!

So we walked and and wound our way through Venice.  We saw street performers (a guy dressed like Charlie Chaplin making oddly high pitched strange sounds…he may want to change his gig…not so good), small back alleys devoid of tourists, and local shops down narrow streets.  It was fantastic!  We walked all day long…and into the evening.

After a quick freshen up at our hotel…we were off to dinner!  The only problem was where to go??  We strolled along the main drag…and kept strolling….and strolling.  Russ was wanting to pick where we ate…and he was driving me crazy!  “How about here” I would say… “No, not feeling it”, he would answer…over and over again.  Finally, we found a small empty restaurant…the reason why all the restaurants are empty is because they don’t usually open up to serve dinner until at least 7 or 8 and so we are lucky to find one open at all around 6.  I love the phenomenon of the cafe/restaurant.  They have someone posted outside by the menu trying to lure you in to eat at their restaurant.  Of course it happens to you, but it is really fun to watch this dance as it happens.  Russ picked this restaurant because he liked the guys “pitch”… we were the only ones in the place.  The food was great, we sat on the outside patio and got to watch the show.  Over the course of our meal, they manage to corral 5 different groups of people into the restaurant.  It was so fascinating to see how people read the menu and discuss whether or not they wanted to eat there…or the 5 other places nearby!  Full and happy we walked back to the hotel to retire for the night!  What a great day!