Being a dumb American, I did not know Venice was actually Venezia until I started booking my reservations.
My host, Kenneth was extremely helpful and arranged for me a place to stay in a hotel affiliated with a church that was only 65 Euros a night. That was a great deal, considering at this time of the year the hostel was going for over 100 Euros! He also accompanied me to the station with detailed travel instructions. Oh the benefits of having a host!!
I boarded the train and saw that I was assigned to the aisle seat, but no one was next to me yet, so I stole the window seat.
A guy came after a while and sat next to me. He was about my age and looked like he could be my brother if I had a brother. Tall and skinny, with my same shade of blue eyes and wavy dusty blonde hair. I was attracted to him – I’m not entirely sure why, it wasn’t that he was particularly handsome, but there was this energy in the air.
At first he gestured and said something to me in Italian and I gathered it was about stealing his seat, but he was OK with it. There was a long silence and then for some reason I decided to say back in English, “I’m sorry for stealing your seat”. And he spoke English back! It wasn’t the best English ever, but it was pretty dang good, especially when you’re not used to hearing anyone speak to you in your native language in so long!
He pointed out the granite mines as we passed. I asked about life in Italy. He told me about how he was getting his doctorate in electrical engineering was traveling back to his hometown for a dentist appointment. As we talked we naturally moved closer, we sat so close we touched. I said something about how sad it can be to work at a place where people are coming in with chronic lung disease and he hugged me and held me close.
Next thing you know we were kissing… We passionately kissed and kissed until he had to get off the train.
I walked off the train in Venice stunned. That just happened. Yep. That just happened…
Kenneth told me there weren’t any cars in Venice. I thought he was exaggerating – he wasn’t. I caught the city boat to get to where the hotel was. It was a perfect location, down a narrow walking street, near a quiet public park. I ate pastries from a nearby bakery on the roof-top terrace watching the sunset over the city.
I bought dresses as gifts for my family from a street vendor. Then I walked the streets at night feeling fancy in my new floor length white cotton gown. The yachts had all come in to park and it was so much fun to watch couples strolling, artists drawing portraits and cathedrals all lit up. I felt wonderful, walking through the coastal breeze with the smell of the ocean and the sound of waves surrounding me.
The next day I wandered the streets. Every building was historic and ornate.
Art shows were everywhere. Art was everywhere, painted on the ceiling, carved into the stone and wood of every building. It was wonderful and overwhelming. I was blissfully exhausted by that night and decided to leave the next day.
The next day I took the boat to the train station and when I got there I saw the train to Milan was leaving. I wasn’t even going to have the time to buy a train ticket! In a panic I caught the boat back to the hotel – hopefully they still had my room available! I rushed in and fortunately they hadn’t even cleaned my room yet. I was so relieved! I opened the door and there was my phone charger still plugged into the wall! I figured it was a sign that I was suppose to stay another night.
I enjoyed another day and night, mostly enjoying my private space. I was so happy to have my own room and bathroom, since I had been sharing the entire trip and in the morning they had a giant complementary spread of bread, meat, cheeses and espresso. It was such an excellent find!
I have so many photos for Venice! So many pictures of art and architecture, and they are beautiful, but I mostly enjoyed the people watching.
There were so many tender moments of people watching, so while I have lots of artistic photos and I could have focused on them and attempted to educate myself and whoever reads this on art history, I decided to showcase the ones I ended up enjoying the most. The light shining in from behind an alcove, the couple on their wedding, the children playing, the people strolling.
And I almost forgot! I had the best gelato I’ve ever had in my life! It was lemon with ground mint leaves!