Okay, so it turns out it is going to be a lot harder to share the key things I have learnt while away purely because of the volume of new information my brain has taken in and processed. I am fairly ashamed of how little history I actually knew before starting this trip. I had always thought of myself as pretty knowledgeable and well versed culturally, just strategically hidden in a fairly thick occa accent (I am not sure if that’s how you spell occa… I am pretty sure it isn’t, but if you know the correct way, let me know…). So instead, you’ll probably just get some good old fashioned reflection and highlights. So here we go…
Happy New year! This year as I mentioned in my last blog we have started the year in beautiful Venice. Last night we headed to a masquerade party at bar just outside of the Venice you see in the postcards… on I guess what would be considered the ‘mainland’. Because we joined the tour group in Rome, we didn’t have quite as long to find masks for the party and thanks to a jam packed day of touristing, we didn’t want to waste time hunting one down or pay the prices down town Rome offered, especially seeing as though everyone else paid a fraction of those prices back in Florence or Milan before we got there. Thankfully some of our new friends had upgraded their masks and so, had a second mask they were happy for us to have… so both of us, yep, even Davo, masked up for the night. New Year’s was actually a great night, even though neither of us were expecting it… it’s hard to party with 50 people you’ve never met before they pop the masks on, let alone when you can’t tell who is who and two more tour groups were added to the mix. But it turns out that the night really helped us get to know the group and become part of the tour group which was a relief. We were a little worried that we would be the newbie outsiders for the whole tour despite the fact that we were already making friends, but we didn’t to worry… Anyway… that’s how we brought in the new year.
January 1 we headed into Venice, Venice and it was just as I imagined. In the walking tour we looked at St Mark’s Square, St Mark’s Basilica, The Bridge of Sighs and had a chat about the history and culture of the town. Venice is unbelievable and although I had heard rumours that it smelt… due to the mostly stagnant water making up the canals that divide the 100+ islands… the advantage of going in the middle of winter… is that it doesn’t. It’s just pretty. The little streets and pokey houses were picturesque and every corner I turned I felt the need to take more pictures.
I think the highlight of the day was checking out the local transport, the gondola. We did ask our gondolier to sing, but he informed us he only did this after a lot of alcohol. We also went for quite an adventure back on the mainland to find a restaurant that was open for dinner on New Year’s Day and stumbled upon a town square complete with ice skating rink… For our one day in Venice… I think we spent it pretty perfectly. Oh and numbers 1, 59 and 74 all were crossed off the list… Possibly the most successful list day 1 in list history.