Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In Venice Once Again

Last week I needed a change of scenery. 

It was one of those weeks when it's just too hard to live away from everyone I love, and I needed to get out and distract myself. I thought about going shopping or heading to the park, calling a friend or getting a gelato. Everything seemed too quick and escapable, not enough of a distraction. While hard times make it challenging to live away from my family, it also provides wonderful distraction opportunities in the ease of travel. My flight home wasn't until Saturday, so on Thursday morning I woke up early, made my way to the train station with my already-packed carryon (I had never unpacked after Florence), and headed to Venice. 

As soon as I arrived, I quickly found a vaparetto to Burano, an island I'd read about but never visited

This filled most of my day, but left plenty of time for a little gift shopping I'd been hoping to do. I always love the little paintings you can find artists creating and the various piazzas, as well as a gift shop that I've now visited (and over-bought from) three times called Zacaria's. The artwork here is incredible! They use pieces of handmade paper, Murano glass beads, dried flowers, ribbon, even scraps from candy wrappers to create gorgeous, colorful, intriguing, collage-like (do I have enough adjectives yet) pieces that I just can't get enough of!

Other than the shop, I didn't look for anything this time. 

I let myself get lost in thought as well as in the winding streets, and was grateful for it. I did try and follow my iPhone map to get to Zacaria's, obsessively tracking my little blue dot. I have to say, it detracts from the experience. I got frustrated and it really didn't seem to help me much, as the streets twist and turn, and some don't seem to have names at all. When I was trying to find somewhere in particular, I stopped observing. I stopped noticing the crumbling bricks and the fact that residents were starting to fill their flower boxes as spring set in. But when I looked up and just let myself get lost, the magic of Venice took over. 

This was especially true Friday morning. 

I had a few things to take care of before my flight the next day, so I woke up uncharacteristically early for breakfast and one last walk around the city. My train wasn't until 10:00, which gave me a few hours to get myself lost again. While Venice is constantly packed with tourists once the weather warms up, the early mornings belong to the locals. The streets were nearly empty, and I reveled in the ability to stop and stare wherever I wanted without the fear of being trampled or smacked with a selfie-stick. I loved stumbling into a quiet square where the only people were a few children playing  a quick game of soccer before school, completely unaware of anyone trying to maneuver around them without getting hit by a ball. The streets stayed empty until about 8:45. In the end, I was VERY grateful for the little "Ferrovia" signs around the city that pointed the way back from the train station; otherwise I'm sure I'd never have found my way back (especially once my phone died!). 

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