Venice is magic. Really it’s a special place. The photos don’t do it justice. Actually I didn’t even take that many because I wanted to just relax and take it all in. I could spend a week in Venice just exploring and of all of the places we went this is the place I want to come back the most.
Our coach dropped us off in a marina area where we boarded a water taxi and headed to our hotel, which was very centrally located about a 2 minute walk from St. Mark’s Square. Our hotel, The Bauer, was on the Grand Canal and surrounded by water on 2 sides. It was by far the best hotel we stayed in during our trip. After we settled in our tour director showed us the way to St. Mark’s square and then we walked a little further and immediately got on a gondola for a ride complete with live music! Watching my grandma during this ride fulfill her lifelong dream was a gift. You could just see the joy in her eyes. I am not sure if I have shared the back story on this, but when my mom was child my grandparents owned an Italian restaurant. My grandmother was an artist and painted a picture of the Grand Canal in Venice from a photograph and it hung in the restaurant for the entire time they owned it. Coming to Venice and seeing the Grand Canal was at the top of her bucket list.
After the wonderful gondola ride we found a restaurant and had a nice dinner. We were warned to stay away from St. Mark’s square for food as those restaurants were significantly more expensive so we found something down one of the alleyways. After dinner we grabbed some gelato and headed back to the hotel. Grandma chose to stay at the hotel but the rest of us went on the optional evening out which included a boat ride down the Grand Canal at Sunset (probably one of my favorite things on the entire trip), and then a glass of wine at one of the outdoor bars in St. Mark’s square to live music.
The next morning we did not do the optional excursion so we met the group later in the morning and boarded a boat to the Murano glass factory. Venice is known for glass blowing which is a very skilled art. We were given a demonstration by one of the professional glass blowers and then had some time to shop. Honestly the pieces in the factory blew me away. They were so detailed and ornate (and really expensive). I got a small piece for my aunt (who was supposed to come on the trip and sent me in her place when she could not come). I wish I had taken a photo of it before I mailed it to her because it was amazing. I also got a few pair of earrings for myself which were more in my price range. In Venice there are many places that sell glass, but most of it is not true Murano glass. There are actually only 5 places in Venice to get the real thing.
After the glass factory we went by boat to Burano Island. Unfortunately my camera died so I have no pictures of this place, but it was adorable. All of the houses were painted very brightly in different colors. We had a really nice (and huge) lunch in Burano followed by some shopping. I bought a few scarves and a definitely not real “Murano glass” bracelet. It was a really fun afternoon despite the blazing sore throat I unfortunately woke up with that morning.
After the near hour boat ride back to our hotel we had some downtime and our tour director came with me to a local pharmacy. I wanted to get something similar to Emergen-C to boost my immune system with the onset of the sore throat. After some chatting back and forth with the pharmacist (between her and the tour director in Italian) I walked out with some sort of thing to be added to water daily for 12 days. The liquid came in little glass bottles that sort of looked like essential oil bottles. I had meant to take it the next morning and completely forgot and of course had it packed in my checked luggage. So I still have it and I guess I’ll try it next time I feel a cold coming on!
We ended the evening with a group dinner to say goodbye. It was unbelievable that our trip was already over. Even now I can’t believe I’ve been home for 2 weeks!
I know it was really hard for my husband that I went on this trip without him. Of course he understood the circumstance, but with IVF looming in our future it will be a long time before we can go to Europe together. I know it’s different for him because he is already in his 40’s and while I know he wants to have a child, he mostly wants it because he knows how much I want it. I know he would be just as content to do a big international trip every year since he has already had that part (of being a father) of his life fulfilled with his son. It’s something that weighs on me pretty heavily.
I feel very blessed I was able to share this trip with my mom and my grandma. I will treasure my memories from this trip forever and I know how blessed I am.