Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fried Fish, please!

I had been looking forward to arriving in Italy pretty much the entire trip... so when we got to Venice (despite the fact that it was raining)... I was thrilled!!! There is something incredibly special about this place... even in the rain while taking the water taxi to the hotel I knew this. It has this kind of indescribable beauty about it. It's mysterious and alluring and simply captivating. When we arrived to the hotel... the elevator-less hotel... we were wiped! Lugging luggage is not a walk in the park.... especially when the hotel manager tells you dragging it up step by step is not allowed.

Our first priority was to eat. I believe I was way past starving at that point... and for those of you who know me... I'm not a happy person if I don't have food in me. We spoke to a few people in the lobby and they said there was a good pizza place that the manager told them about so when we asked her (the manager) she literally walked us there. The best pizza I've ever had in my life (up until that point)... and to make it all better the name of this place was "Pizza Planet". That's right! Just like the fun zone in the first Toy Story movie. We couldn't believe it. To make things better toward the end of our dinner a large party came in... all local Italians... and it was hilarious watching them! After we ate, Mom suggested we go to St. Marks Square. The sun was just setting and the colors in the sky were perfect. As soon as we set foot in the square I started crying. It was SO beautiful! I've never seen anything like it!

I should mention that when we booked our hotel they said they were giving us a room with a view along the gondola route. Well they were right about the route... but the "view"... it was our neighbors laundry line... whites in the morning... darks in the afternoon.

The next few days were spent walking, shopping and eating. We took our Rick Steves book with us every where and at one point we decided to go to a demonstration of how they make the murano glass. Our good friend Rick told us to just show the shop owner his book and he'd take us to a free demonstration. So we walked in... held up the book... and the look of recognition was instant! It was pretty cool... and their selection was beautiful!

Food in Venice was... alright. If we didn't go to the places that Rick Steve suggested we were mostly disappointed. For lunch one day we didn't have the book so we decided to trust our instinct and go to this particular whole in the wall (since past experience has already taught me that those are the best bets). They didn't have a menu in English (already a good sign) so the waitress read aloud to us our options. As soon as she said fried fish we were in! It sounded perfect! Maybe 10 minutes later she comes out with this very big plate of fried fish, fried squid, fried crab and fried anchovies. In a state of shock we just looked at each other and after a minute or so decided we needed to fix this. There was no way we would eat it... okay I take that back... not that we wouldn't eat it... it's just it was SO much food and we literally only wanted the fish. We called the waitress back to us and told her our dilemma and she said in her thick Italian accent, "I don't understand... this is fried fish". Well we couldn't argue that... they fried practically the whole ocean for us. After lots of hand gestures and some very bad italian on our part we got what we wanted. To their credit... it was very good! So moving on... for dinner that night we decided to go to a Rick restaurant... followed the map... walked a bit and where did we end up? The fried fish restaurant!!! We were already embarrassed about the afternoon so decided to just keep walking.

The other fun part about Venice was mask shopping. We some how managed to find a few shops where they personally made the masks... you could smell the glue and everything. They were SO beautiful. One of the shops we stumbled upon the man made the masks there but also had all these costumes to go with them. He said they use it for a big masquerade party that they have in in Venice in February... I'd give just about anything to go to it!!!

Honestly, deciding what to buy was kind of difficult... but you know how you just know something belongs to you? I had that with the 2 masks I got... especially the one below.

All in all, I really loved Venice. Don't think I could ever live there... but I KNOW I'd LOVE to go back some day!


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