Italy: Adventures in Venice
Italy: Adventures in Venice
Our vacation began in Venice! The canals are beautiful, as expected, but the city really doesn't have any streets. Like... no streets. It has alleys. Oh Brother, does it have alleys. They call those alleys "streets" but that is a gross misuse of the word "street." :) We spent three wonderfully lazy days in Venice, just wandering down random streets, seeing the sites and stepping into whatever random restaurant we happened to be standing next to when we were hungry.
The Big News!
Some of you have already guessed at the Big News (I'm looking at you, Shannon)... In front of Basilica di San Marco (see photos below), I got down on one knee and I asked Theresa if she would marry me. :) I'm pleased to report that, after a small panic attack, she said Yes!
I was really nervous when I asked, so I wasn't as elegant with the proposal as one would like, but apparently my other good qualities were enough to convince her. ;) And because it seems to be a popular question, I'll include an up-close picture of the ring. It's just a symbol, in my opinion, but it's shiny so people always want to see it. :)
We stayed at a great little bed & breakfast called Barababao near the Rialto bridge (a famous landmark in Venice). The Barababao is a demonically themed restaurant on the first floor and a set of vacation rooms on the second floor. I loved taking photos during breakfast because the restaurant is filled with all sorts of demonic looking masks and artwork.
Piazza San Marco
One of the most famous locations in Venice is the Basilica di San Marco, aka St Mark's Cathedral, in Piazza San Marco. The Piazza is gorgeous containing the Basilica (Cathedral), the Camponile di San Marco (Bell tower), as well as the Doge's Palazzo (Duke's Palace) which housed the central government of the city in previous centuries. The moment we walked through the archway into the Square, I was overwhelmed and impressed with the size and beauty of the architecture.
In addition to my secret plans to propose, being in this location had a special, nerdy significance. I played Assassin's Creed 2 which takes place in Venice, Florence, Rome, etc. and so I had already "been" to these locations once before. Standing in that spot and recognizing the locations from the video game was very surreal. The last photo in this set is me being silly, pretending to be Ezio Auditore climbing up Basicilia San Marco to get to the secret Assassin's entrance.
Global Climate Change!
St Mark's Square has several drains built into the ground so that rainwater can drain out to the ocean (much like the rest of Venice). However, rising sea levels are actually causing the ocean to encroach into St Mark's Square through the drains during high tide! As the ocean rises, the sea water just seeps up through the drains and begins flooding parts of the Square. The new show VICE on HBO did a segment about it and so when we were there I decided to keep an eye out for any signs of it happening. Sure enough, as high tide started in the day, the staff at St Mark's Basilica had to rearrange the line and set up ramps so that visitors stayed above the water.
Basilica San Marco
These reliquaries are not symbolic... look closely at this photo. You can see the human thigh bones in these containers. In the back corners of the case are skulls as well.
This is the Bridge of Sighs, so named because it is a fully enclosed tunnel-bridge from the Doge's Palace to the Prison across the river.
This is a photo from within the Bridge of Sighs. This would be one of the last glimpses of the outside world a prisoner might get.
Just south of the Doge's Palace is this bronze statue of St Mark with St Mark's bad-ass winged lion.
One of the best things about a vacation can be the food and Italy does not disappoint! Theresa and I had amazing dinners as well as wonderful snacks and desserts every day.
Next up... Florence!