Relaxing in Venice
The moment we got off of the train in Venice, both Brian and I were smiling from ear to ear. We arrived from Rome at 17:35 (5:35 pm). We walked out of the train station, and there were waterbuses, water taxis and men with luggage carts ready to pull luggage through the cobblestone streets and over the small bridges. Luckily, we had a map to our flat, so we decided to walk ourselves. Our family needs the water. We are so much happier and calmer when we are around it.
The first thing I realized was that having a stroller in Venice is not a good idea. I knew it as soon as I came to the first of many small bridges. Luckily, after I took Andy out and carried the stroller over the second bridge (while Brian managed a hiking pack and two large roller bags) a local man asked if he could help me across. At first, I was wary because in Rome if anyone offers you help they immediately want money; however, this man was truly being kind.
About 15 minutes later, we made it to our flat. We rented it through Airbnb, and it is perfecto. (See? My Italian is getting better!) It is nestled away from the crowded streets in a small corridor right on the canal. It has big windows and doors that open up to the water. It is a romantic little flat, and I would suggest it to anyone who wants to stay in Venice for a few nights. The ceiling are old wooden beams, and the lights are small chandeliers made from Murano glass. There is a small kitchen/living area (which has a pull-out bed for Andy to sleep on), a bathroom and a large room that serves as a bedroom and a small office. The office area is separated from the bedroom by a large bookshelf decorated with English and Italian books, flowers, glass vases and ducks. I am sitting at the small desk right now, typing away as both Brian and Andy take their afternoon naps.
Last night, once we got settled in, we took a walk around the city, bought a few fresh groceries at the small mercado down the street and went to dinner. I brought some of the games my sister-in-law sent us for Andy, and they were a hit. He was able to play them while we ordered. For the last few nights he has only wanted tomatoes, so we order bruschetta, and he eats all of the tomatoes off of the top.
Once dinner was over, Andy got his second wind and was chasing pigeons in the street yelling excitedly, “Go away pigeons!” one moment and, “Look, Mom, boats!” every step as we walked back to our flat. Once Andy fell asleep, Brian and I were finally able to enjoy some adult time drinking Venetian wine and listening to the sounds of the canal.
This morning, we woke up in Venice to the sound of boats paddling outside our windows and an Italian woman yelling at some poor soul from her balcony across the canal. We decided to take it easy today.
We ate some of the food we got from the mercado and attempted to make true Italian café. I wouldn’t say it was a complete fail, but I decided to get a café elsewhere later in the day.
Typically, we don’t let Andy watch any TV at home, but we were so exhausted this morning that we caved and told him he could watch an episode of PAW Patrol. Now I know why other parents let their kids watch TV. Silence! Absolute silence! It was so quiet, more quiet than it had been in five days! I took the opportunity and made time for myself to do some much-needed meditation while Brian read.
Then, it was finally out the door. Our first stop was at an old church right down the street from our flat. It was open to the public, and there was an art exhibit. In the center of the exhibit was a labyrinth made of pink crystals, and in the center of that were four, large, clear crystals.
I have walked through labyrinths before on a woman’s retreat and at yoga or meditation events, but this one was different. I was already feeling good from having meditated, but then walking quietly through the crystal labyrinth, carrying Andy, I felt a sense of peace and calm. Andy was even quietly taking it all in.
Next stop: Murano – the famous glass blowing town. We took a waterbus from the main island to Murano. From the moment we stepped off of the boat to the moment we left, we were surrounded by shops filled with everything made of glass that you could think of. We saw modern and classic chandeliers made of clear and multicolored glass, as well as necklaces, earrings and bracelets priced from two euros to 200+ euros on display in the windows. I ended up buying a beautiful necklace for myself and several gifts.
Andy didn’t care much for the shops (I think the shop owners were glad he didn’t want to come in), so while I shopped a little, Brian sat on a bench in a park and let Andy run around him in circles while bystanders laughed. The only other thing Andy really seems to love so far: the many water fountains. He is completely fascinated with them and insists on drinking from each one!
This afternoon, while everyone slept, I did some yoga on the thin travel mat I bought on my way out of town last week. I didn’t realize there were smaller, more compact yoga mats for traveling, but luckily one of my yoga teachers shared that bit of information with me before I left. I got a great mat at REI that was easy to pack and didn’t take up too much space. After a 40-minute practice, I fell sound asleep in shavasana…what a great afternoon! It was apparent that we all needed a little time to rest and recover.