Monday, September 3

Married 10 Years! Celebrating in Venice!

Ryan loves it when I blog our travels. I'm woefully behind, but as a belated anniversary gift I told myself I'd chronicle this trip Ryan planned for our tenth wedding anniversary this past weekend.

Ryan likes ambiance. There's scores of romantic, beautiful places in Europe, but Venice tops many lists and that's where Ryan took me to celebrate, plus a little stowaway, Jake. We had a great time despite Ryan coming down with a high fever and horrible headache he couldn't kick for the last half of our getaway. This is actually our third time in Venice and I have to be honest, I wasn't super thrilled to be going back at first. But a getaway is a getaway, so away we went!

Back in 2009 on our first big European adventure with the kids, we stopped in Venice on a whim at the tail end of a week in Italy with the kids where we crammed in the big sights of Florence, Rome, and Pisa too. Needless to say, all those cute little bridges over scenic canals were not my favorite when tromping over them with a gangly double stroller and tired little kids (ages 5, 3, and 6 months). Our second stop in Venice was at the tail end of a whirlwind trip with my parents and that went better, but it was so quick I really didn't see much except some great blown glass in Murano and exquisite handmade lace linens on Burano with my mom. This time, however, I was determined to give Venice a fair shake even though it would be crowded with tourists. It was the last big weekend of European summer vacation plus Labor Day weekend for all us Americans. Venice is a one hour flight from Stuttgart, or a few hours by train, or just six hours by car I believe.

How do you do, Venice? With the views we enjoyed, I can honestly say I'm glad to see you again!
View from the Rialto Bridge over the Grand Canal.
10 years together! I love my Cute Boy!

If you can see the price tag, it reads 7,50 euros for ONE box of mix! That's about $10!
San Marco Plaza, love the dueling five piece orchestras!!!
I could seriously sit and listen to them with a good book all day long anytime!
Someone is getting tired of being ignored and rolled through museums.
Just after the Correr Museum of Venetian history and art.
Man I love kissing on this sweet little guy!
Thank you Ryan for catching these cute shots! 
One of my favorite faces he makes a lot when watching something interesting or being surprised.
Even cuter when his mouth makes a perfect little O.
I recently discovered he inherited it from his Grandpa Nelson! So fun!

Dad can make him downright silly and it's so fun! Ryan is such a great dad!!!
Jake is quickly starting to prefer Ryan to me sometimes but I still get some moments!

We stayed at a lovely B&B called Campiello Zen. LOVED IT, can't recommend it enough!!! They let us know that the Historical Regatta was happening on Sunday. Although Ryan came down with a very high fever and debilitating headache late Saturday night, he just couldn't miss the pageantry and race before heading back to bed. It was worth it!
We could hear the trumpets on the lead boat long before we got to see the parade of boats before the race. 
The lead boat had a tough time with the current right in front of us.
Boats that strayed too much toward us had a tough time not hitting these docked boats. 

Many boats were dressed in historical garb from Venice's hey day in the 1500s.
But some were just teams there to compete in the regatta races, like these gals decked out in pink!
Don't forget the peasant farmers from the North in their dirndls and lederhosen who brought their harvest bounty! 
Time to head back to where the races will be held.
Great that the sun came out to show how colorful it all was!

I loved the charging horses on this one!

Jake enjoyed the spectacle but was even happier to play peek-a-boo!
Italians, Germans, and Asians we came across on this trip, however, all say "cuckoo" instead!
One of the great things about the B&B we stayed at was it's view into what life is like living in Venice. A short walk from the place is a quiet neighborhood plaza with most of the amenities you need - grocery store, a few restaurants, pharmacies, bank, and so forth. Our first day there we bought stuff for a picnic lunch to enjoy in the plaza to tide us over until dinner - bread, a pecorino cheese chunk, fresh tomato, grapes, some chips, M&Ms, water, and juice. We also set Jake free to wander and chase his very first pigeons! He loved the freedom and it was such a safe, quiet place with locals milling about.

In this same plaza this weekend, the local Communist party here throws a neighborhood celebration each year. It was more like a German fest minus the handful of disjointed political booths. This fun clown had kids rolling with laughter! The signs at the booth behind the clown talk about protesting cruise ships docking in Venice's lagoon.

Ryan had to head back to our place because his head was spinning. Jake and I took our time heading back. I love watching him walk around like he owns the world. And I get such a kick out of seeing people's reactions to him!
Since Ryan still wasn't feeling well today, I set out on my own for a couple hours while he and Jake napped. I got myself to the water bus stand (minus a handful of wrong turns) and hopped on the Grand Canal slow boat #1, plugged into my iPod where I'd downloaded a Rick Steves podcast travel guide, and enjoyed listening to him tell me what to watch out for on my way toward San Marco.

I still have yet to see the inside of San Marco's Bascillica or the Doge's Palace! I couldn't brave the horrendous lines this time and forfeit time to meander, shop and eat gelato. If you ever come across a Grom gelateria (like in NYC), try their dark chocolate fondente! You'll thank me later!

All too soon, it was time to load up and head home. Jake was worn out, Ryan was trying to hold it together with only slight relief from his symptoms, and I bemoaned forgetting our good camera's charger such that all these shots are from the dinky iPhone camera. Oh well, at least it captured some great times celebrating ten great adventurous years with my best friend! I love you, Ryan!