I first fell in love with Italy in 1993 when I spent a summer outside of Venice with some incredible host families. Venice was a magical city that has since become the standard by which I judge every other city by. That's pretty tough to live up to...
So, returning there with our students 16 years later was, as they say so often, epic. I wasn't sure if Venice would hold the same wonder, magic for me that it did while I was there in high school. I wasn't sure if I'd simply fallen so deeply in love with it because it was the first place I'd been where I was kind of on my own, away from mom and dad. And I will admit that I was fearful that my memories of Venice would be so overinflated that I would be disappointed in the real city.
I am happy to say...Venice remains my favorite city in the world. (Outside of Burlington/Brown's Lake, WI that is....)
It is still a city of wonder, of beauty, of romance, of magic. There's just something about it that can't be put into words...it's just something you have to experience. It has that certain je ne sais quoi to it...
We spent quite a bit of time wandering the back streets of Venice and I'll admit that we got lost. Again, sorry guys!!! I still lost my breath as we turned a corner and there was Piazza San Marco. The church still takes my breath away and the view looking out into the lagoon is still my favorite in the world.
We toured San Marco and for the first time ever I went out onto the overlook on the second floor that overlooks the piazza...and that's where I almost killed myself in Venice. I was out there admiring the view when I stepped backwards as I was turning, missed a step, and went flying forward. If not for the railing, I would have gone over the edge and landed SPLAT on the very piazza I was admiring. My camera skidded to a stop just before going over the edge. Thankfully, I didn't kill myself, but I did jack up my ankle pretty bad and spent the rest of the weekend hobbling about.
While in Venice we explored Doges' Palace, Burano, and Murano. When I was in Venice before I didn't make it to any of these places and it was great to see them finally.
All in all, my return to Venice was everything I'd hoped and some things that I'd rather forget ever happened. My love affair with Venezia continues and what really excites me is that even though I will be away for my birthday this April I will be spending it in Venice...can't ask for anything better for my big day!