Monday, February 16, 2009

Venice, Italy

After a week of skiing, R and I wanted to extend our stay in Italy for an extra day. The drive to Venice was less than 3 hours and Saturday was the start of the Carnival - so it seemed like a great idea.



I have to be honest with you, I didn't know much about the tradition of Venice Carnival going into the weekend. All I knew was that it occurred at the same time as Mardi Gras in New Orleans - so I assumed they were somehow related.

I am sorry to say that traditions surrounding Carnival are exactly the opposite of Mardi Gras. Whereas people usually go to Mardi Gras to see people take off their clothes, people go to Carnival to see people put on clothes.

The streets of Venice were completely packed and some of the more festive people were dressed in the traditional Carnival garb. This includes pristine porcelain masks, headdresses, and elaborate outfits. Since R loves photography, she was in heaven. She spent several hours walking around St. Marks Square taking picture after picture. Some of the best outfits are displayed below:















While R spent several hours taking photos, I soon got bored with the process and walked around the small side streets and bridges of Venice. We had both been here before - way back in 2000. But it's not the type of city you get sick of. It is truly remarkable. You really can't compare it to any other city in the world. At least no city that I have been to. It has 118 islands formed by over 150 canals; all connected by over 400 bridges. For some reason, it reminds me of the It's a Small World Ride from Disney World. Just replace the thousands of annoying midgets with a bunch of slightly taller annoying Italians and it is virtually the same.

Although we only had 24 hours in Venice, it made for a good last trip in Europe (we move back to New York in 2 weeks). Venice is one of the most unique cities in the world and nothing - absolutely nothing - like it exists in the States. But, aside form that, this type of trip exemplifies why we loved living in Europe so much. In a short 3 hour car ride, you can go to one of the most famous cities in the world and feel like you are taken back in time hundreds of years. Taking the train from New York to Belmar just doesn't compare. The only thing similar is the Italians in funny outfits.

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