A Maze of Exquisite Waterways (Venezia aka Venice)

18 May 2013

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You know the feeling when you are so anxious for something that you don’t know what to do or how to control yourself? That is how I felt when I woke up this morning and prepared to head to Venice. The neat thing about Europe is that everywhere you go there is something that is different at your new stop from your previous destination. Each city has its own unique charm that cannot be duplicated anywhere else.

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Each city owes this to the creativity of it’s founders and people. Over time people change, and as a result their city changes with them. I find it interesting to compare and contrast the differences between the countries. I really believe that the charm and heart of cities lie in the creativity of it’s people. The canals, bridges, shops, homes, streets, churches, and art are all so unique not only between two cities but within the city itself. Venice is a city that tops my list of the most creative cities in the world. People vacation to cities with beaches, history, wildlife…and creativity. The interconnected canals that connect city life, the boats and gondolas that maneuver so fluently within them, and the architectural brilliance of buildings that spring up straight out of the water with their doors and windows situated for perfect access from both the streets and canals is absolutely stunning.

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Venice is an island city in the Adriatic sea, the northern part of the Mediterranean that sides between Italy and Croatia. Venice was originally a port town and still is. As you journey into the city you will see giant harbors, cruise ships, shipping cargos, and a variety of large and small boats carrying things in and out of the city. Venice really is as different as everyone says it is. There are no cars in the city, only cobblestone walkways and canals of all different sizes providing access to homes, shops, and restaurants. As I strolled throughout the beautiful city I was thinking about what sustains the life and cash flow of Venice, and as soon as I hit San Marco’s square I had the answer. Tourists. The place was absolutely jam packed with tourists! This has been by far the most crowded destination we have traveled to. The neat thing about Venice is that you can choose whether you want to hang in the “tourist” spots, or if you want to explore (and probably get lost) in the small canals that run between the homes and local shops on the outskirts of town.

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Venice is a photographer’s dream. Everywhere you look there is something that stands out, something that is picture worthy. Everything in Venice is picturesque and gorgeous.

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Gondoliers and their beautiful Gondolas…They sing with their beautiful Italian voices and awe those in their gorgeous boats and those onlookers from the city streets. Awww….I miss it already

We arrived in Venice, and although I purchased a map, we chose to wonder aimlessly through the narrow streets and charming piazzas to see what we could find. It was incredible how much we saw and how many charming little surprises we found. Just like Rome, Venice is a city where it a good thing to get lost because if you don’t chances are you will stay on the tourist route and miss out on a lot of the little things that bring Venice it’s charm and wonder.

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We arrived back to Padova (only a short 30 minute train ride from Venice) in the early evening. It was nice to have a few spare minutes to get on the Internet and set our next plan of attack. The next stretch in our journey will be the most rigorous and unplanned. We know we want to get down to Southern France, Barcelona and Madrid before arriving in Paris…but we want to limit our time on the trains as much as possible so we can spend it exploring the cities! I came up with a plan that I think will be the best for what we want to accomplish. We will wake up early on Sunday and travel to the other side of Italy and cross the border into Nice, France in the early afternoon. We will have the whole rest of the day to relax in one of the cities that hosts some of the best beaches in Europe. From there we will take a night train into southern France and eventually make our way into Spain. That is the plan we came up with in our few spare minutes of downtime-which was pretty productive let me tell you!

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Gelato for breakfast. Healthy, I know.

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Pizza Bites, Italian style!

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Living off of baguettes! Just like my mom 25 years ago!

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Sea food on Italy’s Eastern Coast.

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Licorice…giant licorice EVERYWHERE.

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Italians really like Donuts…they along with licorice are everywhere you look!

Jason had the evening planned for us which involved a Young Single Adults talent show and a night out in the city center of Padova. The unique thing about our travels has been that we get both the tourist and local view on the places we go. It can’t get any better than exploring main city attractions by day and then hanging with locals in the evening for a relaxing, fun time understanding what really living in the city is like.

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Jason was very kind to show us around his hometown and introduce us to several of his friends, many of them unable to speak or understand English. Language barriers are hard. I knew they were nice and really fun by the way the interacted with others, laughed, smiled, moved, etc…but not being able to speak with them really dampened how close of friends we could become. It is interesting realizing how much language affects our lives. As I study the history of creativity and innovation in conjunction with trying to understand all the different languages that people are speaking, I can’t help but wonder how the first languages were created. Someone must of just starting making sounds and pointing to objects assigning verbal cues with physical matter. Later words may of evolved to describe feelings and thoughts, a more complicated series of things to describe. Pure creativity was abundant in the early development of languages, and still is today. New words are coined everyday because people take the freedom to experiment and play with sounds and their meanings. When you think about all the things that affect your life, big and small.

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Look mom! Your favorite German shoes…

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The Popo in Venice!

I loved both Padova and Venice, both were very welcoming and friendly. Traveling South to North and West and East in only a few days has really given me a unique take on all the aspects of Italy. I honestly cannot choose one part that I like better than all the others. I loved it all…

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The Cathedral in San Marco Square, known as the Basilica of San Marco, was beautiful and everything was carved and painted in gold. The square was gorgeous as well, but PACKED with people so for the majority of our visit we escaped to the less touristy spots, filled with beautiful narrow canals and bridges. Although we did hit the market in the center of the city…where bakeries filled the air with delicious aromas and chocolates and homemade soaps line the street shops. Have I said enough times that I LOVE VENICE?!

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