[singlepic id=19 w=320 h=240 float=right]There is something about flying business class that makes you feel like you’ve been accepted into an elite club. You can’t help but feel special when the flight attendants are tripping over one another to bring you the softest pillow and wipe your mouth for you after you scarf down your duck and pumpkin bisque appetizer. Now I know why celebrities get so full of themselves. After pretending like I thoroughly enjoyed my Greek salad, I got to dig into my much anticipated meal of Strozzapreti pasta with eggplant sauce and ricotta cheese. I felt bad for the people sitting in coach, eating their pretzel appetizers and ham and cheese sandwich entrees but the feeling of pity was drowned out by the savory taste of Belgian chocolate cheesecake.
My brother and I were giddy with excitement but we’re trying to act very cool and collected, as if we fly business class on a regular basis.
I think we gave ourselves away when we started pressing all the buttons and pouring out and opening all of the contents in the business class bags they hand out. After putting on the complementary socks, lotion and Chap Stick, I settled down to stare out the window while I listened to classical music (this could be one of the reasons why I don’t have that many friends). How did they expect me to sleep through the night? It’s not like going to ITALY is just any other ordinary day. I did manage to sleep through breakfast though, but don’t worry, when we got off the plane, there was a $22 sandwich at the airport with my name on it.
If you ever find yourself on a plane, but you don’t know where it’s headed, there is something you could do to figure out where you are. If you walk outside and everyone, from the 13 year old girl in pigtails down to Scruffy the dog is smoking, then congratulations, you’re in Europe.
The second I walked out of the airport in Venice, the first thing I saw was a blonde girl who couldn’t have been more than 14 years old, in a floral dress with a Marlboro between her fingers (I don’t know if it was actually a Marlboro, but that’s the only cigarette brand I know, so I’m going to assume that’s what it was). Do you know what I was doing when I was 14? I was waking up early on Saturday morning to watch the new episode of SpongeBob SquarePants while I ate Lucky Charms cereal in my pajamas.
We left the airport and joined about 30 other tourists on a vaporetto (water bus) that took us for a 15 minute ride through the Grand Canal, a 2 1/2 mile long “highway” that splits the city. As we drive (or swim?), we are surrounded by brightly colored petite houses (mainly in shades of yellow, orange, pink and beige), along with cafes on every corner, stone towers and cathedrals and the Papadopoli Gardens. We reached the Pontile di Santa Chiara (embarking station) and believe me when I tell you how much fun it was to roll our suitcases down the cobblestone streets, having to stop every 4 seconds to pull the wheels out of the cracks.
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I read that Venice has a stench that rises from the sea, but there was no such smell (you mean you SHOULDN’T believe everything you read on the Internet?). In fact, you couldn’t even smell the sea water and there wasn’t any garbage floating around, like I had expected. There are motor boates and gondolas everywhere and there was virtually no space between the red-roofed buildings. There were flower pots hanging out of every window and small boutiques every few blocks.
Our apartment was quaint, with two bedrooms, a kitchen separated by two sliding doors and a bathroom with a pisuar (I thought this was a small bath to wash your feet in). We could open up the window and stretch our arms out to shake hands with our neighbors. After putting on our Sherlock Holmes capes and digging out our magnifying glasses, we embarked on a journey to investigate the “city built on water”. The streets were so small that you couldn’t even spread your arms out all the way, although I’m not sure why you would want to do that in the first place.
I was running around with my eyes wide open and a gaping mouth pointing at the tiny supermarkets (about the size of a CVS), the antique architecture from every era and century and the Renaissance buildings such as the Palazzo dei Dieci Savi and the Palazzo Farsetti (Venice City Hall). There’s just a very appetizing, laid back atmosphere, with peaceful trickling water everywhere you turn and perfect weather created by the subtle breeze, given off by the sea.
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There were children playing soccer in the streets. When was the last time you saw kids playing in the streets? The only time I go outside is to get the mail, not that anyone besides my orthodontist sends me any letters. After asking 4 people for directions and buying 3 maps, we managed to find our way to St. Mark’s square. The first thing we did was visit the bell tower of St. Marks, which was built in the late 800’s. It had an elevator inside; I didn’t know they had that technology back in the day (small joke). I have no idea why whenever you visit a new city, the first thing you have to do is climb the tallest building they have, but it’s practically law.
The second the elevator stopped, all of the passengers oohed and ahhed together because the view was much better than the views we usually see (my every day view is the T.V.) My mom said, “You can really see why Wagner and Hemingway loved Venice so much.” I don’t know what she was talking about; I assumed they were just some actors that she liked or something. The St. Marks square also contained the St. Mark’s Basilica, a cathedral that you must enter to appreciate the perfect combination of gold, marble and historic mosaics and paintings
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