"What strange phenomena we find in a great city, all we need do is stroll wth our eyes open. Life swarms with innocent monsters."
- Charles Baudelaire
On July 30, we landed in Europe. Venice to be exact. Not because we felt any particular calling to Venice but because it was the cheapest airport to fly into when I booked our tickets. A little budget saving tip if you're not already aware is when you are booking a flight abroad, check every major airport for prices as they can vary widely, even for the same dates. Airports in some countries charge extra taxes for landing there and others vary for no apparent reason. It really doesn't matter too much which airport you fly into because once you're in Europe, it is pretty cheap to get around, whether by plane or train. Of course, it may mean that you have a few nights in the city where you landed before you feel like getting on another plane to head for your true destination but, for me, the inconvenience is worth it if the savings is significant, which can be a thousand dollars or more. I look at is as getting to check out another city and save a ton of money. As with most all things, it comes down to personal preference and choice.
Arriving in Venice feels very exciting, initially. You come in by water taxi when you lay eyes on the city and it is pretty amazing to behold. We happened to be in a small boat so we were riding the waves of the larger taxis with water flying up and spraying on us which felt glorious in the heat. Once we were off the boat and walking to the hotel in the intense heat and humidity with our luggage, it was not fun any longer but we finally arrived at the hotel.
Venice is a beautiful city and most all of it is pedestrian only which is really nice. We stayed there only four days but it was more than enough (for a few different reasons, some of which I will write about in a different post). One of the reasons is that, for us, it was unbearably hot and humid. We have never experienced anything like it. I've heard people complain about the humidity in Florida and I now understand their complaints. Having lived in the Pacific Northwest all of our lives, we are accustomed to very mild weather of typically no more than 75-80 degrees in the summer, with little or no humidity. If we ever lived somewhere with extreme weather conditions, it would take us quite a while to acclimate. We tried to make it work by going out in the morning and evening as much as possible; however, even that was futile. One night we waited until midnight to go for our walk and it was still 80 degrees with terribly high humidity. It never cooled off, day or night, during our stay there. It's a very strange feeling to walk at midnight and have sweat running down your body everywhere! During that walk, I once thought there was a bug crawling on my shoulder and when I went to brush it off, it was sweat rolling down my arm from my shoulder...in streams. That's a first.
There was, thank goodness, a storm one day and the temperature dropped to something halfway reasonable, like 77 degrees, and the rain poured. Thunder, lightning, tons of rain. Yes!!! When the heavy rains came, we were far from home for we had walked a long way to the mobile phone store to get a European sim card. Everyone was huddled under store awnings, grabbing umbrellas and raincoats, or running for cover. We walked all the way home in the rain, with no protection. It felt SO good to cool off. I even raised my hands to the sky once and said, Grazie mille!! That was the best day in Venice and a great memory created. We laughed most of the way home, our clothes and shoes soaked all the way through, so thrilled to not be feeling miserable from the heat for a change, and thinking how silly we looked to all the people huddled under protective cover.
A few more photos of the city...