Today was a big one for me. I woke up at 7:30 and got prepared to head out to Santa Maria Novella where I effectively navigated the Rail System by myself. I was able to figure out everything I needed to conservatively travel to and from Venice for under €70. The ride to Venice wasn’t bad and I got there by noon as planned and once I left the train station I couldn’t believe it. I walked out onto a plaza of the epitomized views of the Venetian waterways that I grew up picturing. I am glad that I have had a major fascination with this city and believe that it was one of my favorite place to visit this entire trip. What was better was that I was doing it on my own for once. Kind of a rite of passage in the world of independence.
I quickly realized the intricacies of the city as there are two types of traveling. Extensive water travelling or navigating the narrow and dead-end alleys that maze their way through the city. After getting my ass kicked by my lack of natural direction in Venice I succumbed and bought the overpriced €3 Mappa di Venezia. Really though, it didn’t help much I still got lost and ended up on the south end of the city which opens up to the gaping and dramatic Adriatic Sea. I couldn’t believe it. I can still think back to when I was a kid and I used to dream about this city and the gondolas and a giant Vaporetto buzzing down the aquatic streets. I made friends with a British couple on their honey moon and ran into Salute (the stature of the boy holding the frog) It’s insanity that I have seen that image many times only to stumble upon it while seeking Saint Mark’s Square. Everything next to the water was exactly as majestic as I was hoping for. There was a lack of hustle and bustle and I had forgotten that Venice is the largest city in the world without cars.
After finally finding a Vaporetto station on the north side of the peninsula I ventured my way to find tickets and couldn’t! In a nervous moment I just hopped on the Vaporetto to cross the Grand Canal. It was notably one of the coolest things that I have been wishing to do. From there I was left off at Saint Mark’s square and luckily no one checked my ticket for the ride.
Plazza San Marco had a sullen and rustic façade due to the grey overcast skies that hung lowly above indicating the rain we would get. I swiftly made my way into Saint Mark’s Basilica before the rain and loved every minute of it. The pale golden ceilings faintly glimmered with the rustic stories of the centuries past and I got that feeling again. The one where I feel God’s hand on my shoulder. That’s what I am exploring is on sentiment and that I should be investigating the causal roots of my faith. From there I made my way to St. Mark’s tomb and felt an overwhelming sense of appreciation for my Catholic roots. I took the time in the pews to really lay my heart out there and Lit a Prayer Candle at Saint Mark’s for grandma.
Finally in the pouring rain I went to go under an overhang and it turned out to be the Doge’s Palace which sat so serenely against the Venetian canal. The marble encrusting the ornate fixtures was impressive and the best part of the whole square was the traditional modeled lightposts speckled throughout. After exploring the castle for 50 minutes the rain made it evident that it was not clearing up and that I would be forced to brave its fury. Upon crossing Ponte Academia I randomly stumbled upon the Bridge of Sighs to reflect. It was quite possibly the most important 20 minutes of the day. I realized that I am not better than the people I am around. There is a grand and giant world out there that needs me and I am always going care. It is what I am good at doing.