There are those times in life when you are personally challenged Have you ever had a time like that? Maybe you promised yourself that you would run a 5k when you turned 60, you challenged yourself to get a specific job promotion, or you tried to cook your first Thanksgiving turkey (AND invited your mother-in-law).
At some point in every person’s life, we all experience certain types of personal goals. Be they small, large, or seemingly insignificant, their personal merit is not measurable.
I had a similar personal challenge as I was reflecting on all of the places I have been, trips I have taken, and experiences I have had. All of those experiences were phenomenal, but I realized something was missing.
I hadn’t taken a trip all my myself, which is something I promised myself at the onset of this incredible 4-month journey (Brian Elsasser would say vacation).
So, being that I had never been to Venice and I couldn’t live in Italy for 4 months without visiting, I decided to go.
But, when I went to purchase the train ticket home on the same afternoon, I realized that I had selected (and paid) for a train that left the next morning.
Freak out moment.
Time to REALLY expand my personal goal horizon.
I was going to Venice and staying in a hotel by myself.
And although the hotel appeared to be shady on the outside (and it really was), the staff inside were accommodating helped me to navigate, and made me feel welcome.
This was after I roamed around the city with 2 large bags for 1.5 hours attempting to locate this place.
I was frustrated, tired, and had a giant knot in my neck. Desperate for help, I finally called the B&B hoping they could help me. You see, I was attempting to find it by it’s street name, but Venice just doesn’t work like that. Venice works by the “number” so if something were to say 284 Carveggio. That means its in a district of Venice, and you have to go on a scavenger hunt to find the correct residence.
Luckily, after I called the nice little hotel, the manager came out and met me in the exact location that I decided to become immobile at.
I was starving…because you know, I hadn’t eaten in like 2.5 hours.
I was so hungry I could have eaten a horse.
So I did.
I ate a Venetian specialty called sfilacci, a dried shredded horse meat. And I ate it on a pizza.
I figured that since I was eating pigeons and duck livers now, I might as well attempt to cover every animal kingdom classified species.
And now that Mia is getting bigger….
My mom said I could cook her if I, “knew a tasty dish.”
How was the horse meat?
Pretty darn good.
So after filling up on horse, I decided to roam around the city.
I saw handcrafted masks.
Venice is known for its avid celebration of Carneval in February.
The masks were everywhere and absolutely gorgeous.
Murano Glass (a Venetian island known for its glass production) was also in abundance throughout the city. There were ornaments, balloons, vases, oh my.
I even saw a horse.
I sat in wonder as I watched a master at work making hand-crafted mini villages with moving parts.
The baker’s bread moved back and forth and the woman’s iron moved up and down.
The scenes ranged from mini people to massive houses in which you could furnish. This specific house had the capability of running water and electricity.
I saw a chess set that was cats vs. dogs.
And I thought of Blake and Val…and how angry they would be if the cats lost.
And I legitimately saw gondolas.
You just can’t comprehend a city without roads. It goes beyond everything we have ever learned about infrastructure and transportation. It’s an eye opener into how different things can be when a place is without something that most of us take for granted.
It was quite awe-inspiring.
And the gondola men…yeah…they actually wear that cute little outfit.
And the boats are beautifully crafted and self-induced romanticism.
The water “streets” of Venice were just like a fairy-tale The city was beautiful by day, but as the sun set and the mood lightened, the town seemed to blossom into a magnificent wonderland.
And the gondolas continued to mezmorize me.
Look at the intricate detail of this seat.
For 80 Euros a pop, a gondola ride could be yours!
I considered romancing myself, but I thought buying ice cream would make me fall in love with myself a little bit more.
Each gondola was full of its own character (and the character of its cutely dressed little driver)
This one was sassy…
and I liked it.
I finally made it to San Marco square and I just decided to sit. As a violin and piano duo were playing at a local restaurant, I just closed my eyes and enjoyed my moment of peace, just by myself. I realized how important my alone time is. I love being blessed with the presence of those that I love, but being my myself is an incredible way to appreciate something, anything. I was able to notice details, stroll through a shop, and stare into space without anyone asking me why.
It was beautiful.
(And I ordered horse before anyone could talk me out of it).
And the beauty of the church at Piazza Marco was overwhelming and vibrant.
I even saw the clock strike 4:00pm. The two statues on top took turns hitting the bell until the chiming had completed.
Luckily, I eavesdropped into an English tour for a few minutes, or I never would have looked up to witness it.
And as I was walking back to my shady little B&B, I saw a Venetian “bus stop.”
Remarkable. It was truly a renewing of mind in regards to “normal” society.
Why CANT things be different?
And I fell asleep, feeling accomplished.
I didn’t change the world, invent a new medicine, or initiate a new political movement.
I just went somewhere alone.
And enjoyed it….alone.
Ciao for now, my friends.