The last time we saw The Barrs was in a preview of Venice where they celebrated daughter’s Kaceys birthday in St. Marco square during a fireworks festival honoring long-ago plague survivors. However, the family told Kacey all of Venice was celebrating her birthday. They were not far off as, nothing ever seems straightforward in Venice and what a wonderful thought for her to remember for the rest of her life.
Venice never quite seems real, but rather an ornate film set suspended on the water. The alluring sceneries, timeless architecture, enchanting language, cuisine, the people– it’s impossible not to love Italy! Few countries in the world can rival Italy’s cultural legacy. There’s something magical about this place. I decided to write about the Barr’s time in Italy on a slower level for some reason, as it seems like a dream.
Imagine the audacity of building a city of marble palaces on a lagoon, Venice, capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a marshy lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. Its stone palaces seemingly rise out of the water. There are no cars or roadways, just canals and boats. The Grand Canal snakes through the city, which is filled with innumerable narrow, maze-like alleys and small squares. If you are in Venice, then travelling down the Grand Canal is a must. Going in the evening must be amazing with the reflections of lights on the canal. You can buy a travel card for the Vaporetto if you intend on going down the canal more than once, with times ranging from 12 hours to a week. The canal itself takes between half an hour to an hour depending on how you choose to travel. Beats the bus!
Dodges palace is a must. Doge’s former residence, the Gritti Palace, now a supremely elegant hotel that reopened last year after a 35-million-euro renovation. technically orivate chapel. Next door to basicilla priceless artwork. Feasts of days gone by are available in miniature at happy hour, when bars mount lavish spreads of cicheti (Venetian tapas).
Bring your camera, because when you find the iconic Bridge of Sighs, you will probably want to take a photo, or two, or three. This is one of the main attractions in Venice and ever days literally crowds of visitors come to the bridge, just to walk across. I was interested to learn that the bridge was actually once used by Italian prisoners, en route to the dungeons. The bridge is fully enclosed and features two actual layers, so that the prisoners going to and from the dungeon would not bump into each other. Well that’s what they say anyways.
The Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) is where you will find the Bell Tower, which is actually a part of the basilica. The Campanile has become quite a sight on the square and is around 100 metres tall. It was built in the 10th century and then some 800 years later, disaster struck, it fell down in 1902. It was then re-built, although somewhat slowly, and is now as beautiful as it probably ever was.
Venice lives on like a kindly maiden aunt, always alive, but you are never quite sure for how much longer.
Here’s hoping she has a few more years left, because as Trevor said, you just have to keep on going to visit her.
As Robert Browning once said, “Every one soon or late comes round by Rome”- and that was the next stop for the Barrs.
Part 1- Travels with Trevor Barr–The Overture
Part 2- Travels with Trevor Barr Sous La Ciel De France
Part 3- Running with the Barrs through Spain
I must say that Trevor was pumped for Italy…but he most looked forward to Rome (and Pompei). But I had been to Venice before and knew he would love it. He was just curious (as always) but waiting for Rome! Lol. But when we arrived and exited the train station to the immediate sights that are really out ofnthis world (amazing architecture, a hymn in the air…not kidding…and gondoliers in stripes shuttling people about everywhere….I turned back to look at him with a smile as we exited the train station and he was visibly in awe of his surroundings. It’s another world. That was truly one of the most satisfying moments of the trip for me.
The city is a maze of narrow canals and alleys that not one photo or video I have seen yet truly does justice (I think that is why I will erernally love that city). Maps make no sense ar all. Lol. You just have to wander and explore and navigate yourself while being so visually stimulated you feel like you are in the real Santa’s village. And it is a city. Sure….a tourist trap to some extent like many others….but it is a city full of residents, workers, students, people and pets going about their daily life.
It was HOT when we were there (feel like 40). Trevor’s suit case at that time had busted wheels when it came time to leave. Another thing I will never foeget (nor our kids) is how Trevor navigated us back through countly winding streets/alleys and over countless pedestrian (of course) bridges with stairs on each end back to the train station in 40 degree weather while carrying a 40 lb (minimum) suitcase on his shoulders. While the rest of us leisurely pulled our luggage behind amd follwed him (while at times saying “Dad….you sure this is the way?”).
Turns out after we left, the city of Venice placed a bi-law against suit cases with wheels. You get fined big bucks now if you pull one in the city.
I should say also that while accommodation is on the pricier side in Venice, London is more expensive. And souveniers including glass blown jewelry, dishes and art and of course masks 🙂
Do not hesitate to go. I’ve been twice and want to return.
I meant to say souveniers are CHEAP
🙂 Rome is next and thanks jen.. that made me laugh:)
Love this… going to add this.. if that is okay. anything you want to add send to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes you can add it.