Weekend Wanderer Vol. 1 - Venice, IT
I stood dead center as a not-so-lonely wanderer in Piazza San Marco - Venice, Italy - marveling over the beauty of the scene before me. The beautiful floating city has been a dream destination of mine since my teenage years. And there I was - living the very moment that I had dreamt of. Undoubtedly, it was nothing less than magical. As I stood still in my thoughts, thousands of tourists swarmed around me - yet still, the moment was quiet. An energy rushed through my body with each inhale, I was basking in gratitude. This feeling I would never forget. The gentle misty breeze, the unrefined briny scent, none of it I will ever be able to forget.
There are times in life where we are blessed enough to experience moments like this. Milestone moments that we know will change us in some way forever. It wasn't the fact that I was in a foreign place, no that wasn't it. It was the fact that I was living out a dream. That is what we all wish for - to find ourselves in the reality of our aspirations.
I was proud of myself, I had did it all on my own. I thought about the odds that had been formed against me, born to a single-parent family with four other siblings in a poverty-stricken urban city. I had never been the wisest, nor the prettiest, nor the most athletic. I had been a Jill of all trades, but a master of none. But ever since I made it my goal to be the master of my own life, that is when those odds turned into opportunities. My mindset switched, I now consider myself to be capable of all things. And this experience has only made my life that much more interesting.
And even though I took this trip unaccompanied, I felt the presence of my teenage self glowing with admiration for the woman I'm becoming. Something within me had always been aware of the potential that I hold and I knew I had the keys to unlock it within. All it took was a little faith and a lot of courage to dig deep enough to find them. Now that I have, there will be no stopping - only feats and upgrades. With that being said, I welcome my readers to volume one of this continuous blog series, The Weekend Wanderer. Follow me as I continue on this journey of self-discovery and worldwide travel. I hope this comes as inspiration to those who read it and motivate you to make life out of your dreams as it does for me.
The Beautiful City that is Venice
My trip to Venice consisted of two days. I decided to stay not on, but close by in the city of Mestre to save some mula and avoid the annoying buzzing of tourists. My commute in town was only 10 minutes by bus and well worth it. My first day, I took a voyage off of the beaten track and got lost through the charming nooks and alleys lined with clotheslines and character. This is where I came across most of the cities residents. Each step lead me deeper into a trance until I found myself in a walking meditation. It was so easy to get sucked up in the beauty of the setting but I knew I had a destination and only a few hours to see it all.
So with my map at hand, I found my way to F.te Nove, which was my way to the islands in the Venetian Lagoon. I was going to see the Murano, a series of islands known for its beautiful artisan glass making. It was about a 30-minute ride by waterbus to the glass island and it was just as beautiful as it sounds. Once there, I was presented with an array of glass blown sculptures, furniture, and jewelry. Each shop added it's own unique twist to the art of glass making. Many shops displayed signs advising against the use of cameras so my memories are all I bring back with my from the experience, which are really all that I need.
After some wandering over bridges and into even more alleys, I decided to grab a quick bite to eat before heading over to Murano's sister island, Burano. Now, let me tell you something about Burano - if you've ever seen pictures of Venice's streets coated with colorful homes, you were actually seeing images of Burano. And let me tell you something else, those pictures (including the ones that I took above) do no justice to the beauty of these homes. When I first arrived at the port, I took a minute to stand in awe of the vibrancy and charm of the architecture. I mean, I literally had to take a moment of praise to the Most High for allowing my eyes to experience such beauty. What made it so breathtaking was the contrast between the colors of each home and the blooming flowers that hung from every corner. Every way I turned, my eye caught another detail that just sent me more into a high. I was satisfied at stopping here - and I did for a while. But my day was coming to an end and it was time to head back to Mestre for dinner and to prepare for day two, which would include more "touristy" activities in Venice.
I got an early start to day two, I knew that tourist attractions would mean large crowds and long waits - and I was right. When I got to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) I was immediately taken back by the grand architecture of the structures that made up the area. The square was dominated by the Church of St. Mark but it was hard not to notice the beauty in all of its components: Torre dell'Orologio (or Clock Tower), Piazzetta dei Leoncini (two marble lion heads), Procuratie Vecchie (the old procuracies) and Doge's Palace - just to name a few. I decided to see at least one of the attractions and Doge's Palace seemed the most interesting. The wait in line...well, let's not even talk about that. I'm just going to say that it was well worth it. The interior of the palace was like nothing I've ever seen. The scene from afar was amazing but it was the details you get to experience when you're close up that makes it really special. I roamed around aimlessly for a while, admiring all that was before me. The one thing I could've done without was the tour through the old prison that kind of made me nervous (I don't like small spaces 😩 ) Any way, I got out of there and moved on to my next desitnation.
When I travel to new places, I like to get lost and then get found again - so that's exactly what I did. I wandered through a few alleys and into museums, over bridges and strolled along the Grand Canal. I was just happy to be there, the energy of gratitude ran all through my being. I even got to sit in a courtyard at the Ca' Rezzonico Museum where I meditated on what love is and what I want from my future husband. Really, I was inspired by interaction between these two statues in the courtyard:
I roamed and roamed some more, taking in every moment with a childlike curiosity. I knew that this wasn't my last time in Venice, for I would love to experience the city with a loved one (especially for the Goundala rides 😍 ). So until next time, I leave you with these images and my story as a Weekend Wanderer in Venice, Italy.